Set pieces: Amy Borsuk writes on a chess drama which offers a striking but dense perspective on the Cold War.
A howl of despair: Maddy Costa writes on Leah Shelton’s latex-clad, lipsync take on the myth of Pandora’s box.
‘It resembles an affably deranged birthday party’: Mert Dilek writes on Kneehigh’s riotous adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi.
‘Gasps and coos’: John Murphy writes on the careful craft and gentleness of a Grimm’s Tale for young children.
‘A glimpse of what the world could look like if everything were simpler and the people were kinder’: Emily Davis wells up at Hackney Empire’s Windrush-inspired pantomime.
Successful parenting: James Varney writes on the obsessive drive of Rose, the vaudeville troupe manager-mother of Gypsy.
Found in translation: Crystal Bennes on the bizarre pleasures of Pu Songling’s classical Chinese fables, adapted for the stage by Grid Iron.
Dizzying depths: Brendan Macdonald writes on Eve Leigh’s plunge into life online.
Bloody festive: Lilith Wozniak reviews a pop-culture mash-up Christmas show with flying vampires, strap-ons and Bon Jovi sing-a-longs.
Touch, crawl, jump: improvisation with toddlers, dreams and desire, Welsh language and skipping rope at Cardiff’s biennial festival of contemporary dance.
Flights of fancy: Frey Kwa Hawking writes on a whimsical staging of the 2001 Parisian romcom.
Real plastic trees: James Varney writes on Chanje Kunda’s conversational, autobiographical show about trying to move past trauma.
Overshadowed: Nicola Wren’s monologue explores what it’s like to pursue stardom when you’ve got a famous sibling.
Andrew Edwards writes on the “exhilaration and fear-induced defecation” of Jian Yi’s ambitious, visually rich multimedia fusion of Butoh and live art.
‘A stumble off the path, into a crack in the ground’: Emily Davis writes on a new adaptation of Knut Hamsun’s book and the politics of the decision to programme it.