The cast of Again
The cast of Again
© Zute Lightfoot

5. Again

Trafalgar Studios, until 3 March

The Trafalgar Studios has regularly housed intense and taut drama, putting notable stars in an intimate, charged theatre space in central London. The same is set to be repeated with Stephanie Jacob's family drama Again, which follows a family of four who reunites after a long time apart. The show is directed by Theatre Uncut director Hannah Price, and features Rosie Day, who we recently interviewed as a rising star.

Read our rising star interview with Day

Isabel Pollen and Jim Sturgeon
Isabel Pollen and Jim Sturgeon
© Simon Turtle

4. Brief Encounter

Birmingham Rep, until 17 February, then UK tour

Kneehigh first did something rather special with its production of Brief Encounter in 2008 when the company converted a Haymarket cinema into a custom-built 440-seater auditorium. Ten years later the show is now making a return, beginning a UK tour at Birmingham Rep before running at the same cinema in London. Perfectly timed for romantic heartthrobs next week, the piece adapts the 1945 classic film with a typical Kneehigh twist.

Find out more about the Brief Encounter runs in Birmingham, Salford and London

'"Dublin Carol''
'"Dublin Carol''
© Mark Douet

3. Dublin Carol

Sherman Theatre, until 17 February

Christmas may be long gone, but at the Sherman Theatre it's very much still in full swing. Matthew Xia (who will also be directing the new revival of Frankenstein at the Royal Exchange next month) oversees this new revival of the 2003 classic from Conor McPherson (currently the toast of the West End with his Girl From the North Country), which sees an alcoholic undertaker confronted with the ghosts of his past. The show runs at Sherman Theatre, recently announced as Regional Theatre of the Year at the 2018 Stage Awards.

Barrie Rutter with Lenny Henry in 2009
Barrie Rutter with Lenny Henry in 2009
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

2. The Captive Queen

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, until 4 March

Barrie Rutter, outgoing artistic director of Northern Broadsides, has taken John Dryden's 1675 play Aureng-zebe and transported it to a north England world during the last days of great woollen mills. With a 'flavour' of the original Mughal Indian setting as well as an original score from Niraj Chag, this looks set to be a unique addition to Emma Rice's final season as artistic director at the Globe.

Find out more about Barrie Rutter stepping down as artistic director of Northern Broadsides

Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Long Day's Journey Into Night
Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Long Day's Journey Into Night
© Hugo Glendinning

1. Long Day's Journey Into Night

Wyndham's Theatre, until 7 April

Two screen legends, Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville (who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread this year), take on the leading roles in Eugene O'Neill's seminal 1956 play Long Day's Journey Into Night, which bagged a Pulitzer Prize when it first premiered. This new production, which had a sell-out run at Bristol Old Vic in 2016, will also be hopping over to Broadway after it completes its West End run, so there's never a better time to be a part of an international hit.

Have a first look at the West End production

Last chance to see: The Divide (Old Vic), The Believers Are But Brothers (Bush Theatre), Oranges and Elephants (Hoxton Town Hall)