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Musicals and theatre in London

Your guide to plays and musicals in the West End and the best of London shows. Theatre reviews, tickets and offers

The top ten theatre openings in December
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The top ten theatre openings in December

The shows to see this month, from fringe treats to West End blockbusters.

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The best theatre in London

London musicals
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London musicals

It had fantastic reviews when it opened – but is it still kicking after five cast changes?

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West End theatre shows
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West End theatre shows

Here's the full scoop on the best shows in London's West End

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London theatre critics' choice
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London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

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Children's theatre in London
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Children's theatre in London

Recommendations for the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups

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Theatre tickets and offers

No Man's Land

No Man's Land

Book tickets to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Harold Pinter's darkly absurdist classic - from £90

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Lazarus

Lazarus

See this musical by David Bowie and Enda Walsh from £65

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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School of Rock - The Musical

School of Rock - The Musical

Book your tickets to see the musical adaptation of the Jack Black film - tickets from £17.32

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Children

The Children

See the latest show by Lucy Kirkwood, the woman behind 'Chimerica' - from just £13.56

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

Buy tickets for the smash hit show from the creators of 'South Park' from just £27.50

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Latest theatre reviews

She Loves Me
Theatre

She Loves Me

As Christmas shopping stops being ‘something you’ll do online’ and starts becoming a real and present horror, the Menier has revived a 1963 musical that puts a bowing, scraping and singing cast of store clerks at your service…

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Once in a Lifetime
Theatre

Once in a Lifetime

Usually the Young Vic is the absolute last theatre on the planet you'd look for a piece of fluffy escapism. But in a pleasingly against type piece of seasonal programming it's waved 'auf wiedersehen' to its usual diet of left field European-style theatre…

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Pinocchio
Theatre

Pinocchio

It was the introduction of spice-obsessed criminal mastermind-cum-master of ceremonies ‘El Tabasco’ that the audience at the King’s Head Theatre realised that this ‘Pinocchio’ would depart ever so slightly from the plot of Carlo Collodi’s late nineteenth-century fairy tale…

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Licensed to Ill
Theatre

Licensed to Ill

This unofficial Beastie Boys musical is possibly the most stupid piece of theatre that you will ever, ever see. THANK CHRIST…

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Discover more theatre in London

Shakespeare plays in London
Theatre

Shakespeare plays in London

Here's where to watch the best of the Bard in London

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Immersive theatre in London
Theatre

Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

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Theatre interviews
Theatre

Theatre interviews

Peek behind-the-scenes with London's theatrical talents

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Circus in London
Nightlife

Circus in London

Although you'll not see any lions being 'tamed' in massive stripy tents, London's modern circus scene is far more jaw-dropping than the suspicious magicians and caged animals of old. Have your breath taken away with your pick from our list of London circus shows.

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Coming soon

School of Rock - The Musical

School of Rock - The Musical

They may not be your stereotypical idea of rock gods but Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellows have come together to bring 'School of Rock' to the stage.…

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Lazarus

Lazarus

It's saying something that the death of David Bowie is still up there with the worst things that have happened in 2016…

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Hedda Gabler
Theatre

Hedda Gabler

Ivo van Hove blew away London audiences with his storming 'A View From a Bridge' in 2014, which transferred from the Young Vic from the West End. So a new production from the Hove is something to get pretty excited about…

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Obsession
Theatre

Obsession

Cementing Ivo van Hove's position as perhaps the foremost theatre director in the world today, this month-long adaptation of the classic 1943 Italian film 'Obsession' forms the centrepiece of his theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam's 2017 takeover of the Barbican…

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Hamilton
Theatre

Hamilton

Easily the biggest hit theatre show of our age – and the winner of 11 gongs at the 2016 Tonys – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ is an exuberant, multi-racial hip hop account of the life and times of American founding father Alexander Hamilton…

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What's on at

Old Vic
Theatre

Old Vic

The combination of double-Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and top producer David Liddiment at this 200-year-old Waterloo theatre continues to be a commercial success – though Spacey's controversial artistic leadership has frequently come under critical fire. Still, the Old Vic's a great place to catch high-profile actors – Ian McKellen, Robert Lindsay and Neve Campbell have all trod its boards. David Mamet's 'Speed-the-Plow' thrilled audiences in 2008 and was followed by a winning revival of Alan Ayckbourn's 'The Norman Conquests' – a show that saw the venue spectacularly remodeled into a theatre-in-the-round. Summer 2009 heralded the first of Sam Mendes's The Bridge Projects, an Anglo-American collaboration between Mendes, the Old Vic and Joseph V Melillo's Brooklyn Academy of Music, that enticed Ethan Hawke to the British stage for its Shakespeare/Chekhov double bill.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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National Theatre
Theatre

National Theatre

The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National, whose three auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe – offer a rolling repertory programme, often with a choice of several productions in a week. The National Theatre may have once had a fiercely inaccessible reputation, but the arrival of maverick artistic director Nicholas Hytner in 2003 rocked theatreland as he set about changing the venue's staid ethos with daring productions such as 'Jerry Springer the Opera' and an ambitious adaptation of Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. The change of tack proved a success, attracting audiences of mixed race, age and class – and Hytner's budget £10 Travelex-sponsored tickets still help pull in the crowds in the summer season. The home stable for Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse', which opened here in 2007 and went on to break West End records, the National is now developing a reputation for family-friendly blockbusters, cue its current production of Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. Meanwhile the National Theatre Live initiative has extended the theatre's reach by broadcasting high-publicity productions such as Danny Boyle's role-swapping smash-hit 'Frankenstein' and the comedy 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which introduced James Corden to the stage, live to Picturehouse Cinemas. A recent run of the post-modern musical 'London Road' proved it hasn't lost its edge. You

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Young Vic

Young Vic

The Young Vic finally returned to its refurbished home in The Cut in 2007 with acclaimed community show ‘Tobias & the Angel’. As you would expect, it’s got more verve and youthful nerve than the grown-up Old Vic down the road and attracts a slightly younger more multicultural – yet still discerning – crowd. Director David Lan’s eclectic programming of rediscovered European classics has proved popular with the critics, while a stage adaptation of DBC Pierre’s ‘Vernon God Little’ was standing ovation material. Three venue spaces – the main house and studio spaces Maria and Clare – allow for flexible scheduling and more intimate works such as Tarell Alvin McCraney’s moving ‘The Brothers Size’. The Young Vic also provides its Waterloo home with a popular split-level bar and restaurant complete with an open-air balcony terrace.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Royal Court Theatre
Theatre

Royal Court Theatre

A hard-hitting theatre in well-heeled Sloane Square, the Royal Court has always placed emphasis on new British talent – from John Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’ in 1956, to the discovery of numerous playwrights over the past decade: Sarah Kane, Joe Penhall and Conor McPherson among them. Artistic director Dominic Cooke has always injected plenty of politics into the programmes and successfully decreased the age of his audiences too. This is where you’ll find rude, lyrical new work set on the London streets by first-time playwrights like Bola Agbaje and the more established but no less cool Mark Ravenhill. Split between two floors – with the mid-capacity Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the studio-style Jerwood Theatre Upstairs – the Royal Court also houses an excellent bookshop geared towards theatregoers and a café bar with a weighty menu serving up more than your average bag of peanuts.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe

The original Globe Theatre, where many of William Shakespeare's plays were first staged and which he co-owned, burned to the ground in 1613 during a performance of 'Henry VIII'. Nearly 400 years later, it was rebuilt not far from its original site, using construction methods and materials as close to the originals as possible. Shakespeare’s Globe has been an unbridled success, underpinned in part by its educational programme (you can drop in for talks and readings) and its commitment to faithfully recreating an original ‘Shakespeare in performance’ experience from April to October. The open-air, free-standing Yard is the best bet for those after complete authenticity – the absence of seating may test your stamina but tickets are excellent value – while the Middle and Upper Galleries afford a (marginally more comfortable) atmosphere of their own. The only thing that tends to mar a performance is the theatre’s somewhat noisy, flight-path location. In the UnderGlobe beneath the theatre is a fine exhibition on the history of the reconstruction, Bankside and its original theatres, and Shakespeare's London. Guided tours of the Shakespeare's Globe theatre run throughout the year. If the Bard is not your bag, look out for various seasonal festivals that take place on the riverside area outside the Globe Theatre. For more information about visiting the Globe Theatre, head to www.timeout.com/outdoor-theatre-faqs

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Lyric Hammersmith
Theatre

Lyric Hammersmith

A beacon of culture in Hammersmith, the Lyric's distinctive look is largely down to a fusion of the building's 1970s structure, the theatre's Victorian heritage and a modern interior.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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