London theatre critics' choice

Our theatre critics recommend the best London theatre of the moment

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New and limited run five star shows

The Crucible

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Three-and-a-half-hours engulf your soul like a black mass in this titanic, ritualistic production of Arthur Miller’s tragedy about the Salem witch trials from hot property South African director Yaël Farber. And yes, that is one heck of a running time, partly due to a clutch of wordless movement sequences Farber has inserted into the in-the-round production, most notably the audacious opening in which the entire, black-clad cast shuffle about the stage in a fug of incense like

  1. Old Vic 103 The Cut, Waterloo Rd, SE1 8NB
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Sep 13
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Forbidden Broadway

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Ripping through audiences for over 30 years, this take-no-prisoners Broadway revue is dangerously funny. Lining up nearly the entirety of the West End’s current offerings in its sights, it delivers hit after hit after hit, until multiple organ failure feels just a punchline away.Originally created by Gerard Alessandrini as a bunch of scribbled travesties, ‘Forbidden Broadway’ has grown into a full-on sensation, expanding with new songs and routines to match the changing

  1. Menier Chocolate Factory 53 Southwark St, SE1 1RU
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sat Aug 30
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The Pajama Game

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Fat cat managers cooking the books, robotic middlemen preaching to workers about the creed of efficiency – though this glorious, exuberant musical is set in President Eisenhower’s America it strikes plenty of sparks in the twenty-first-century. Adler and Ross’s ‘The Pajama Game’ may sound like the perfect embodiment of ’50s sensibilities, but while it was an ideal film vehicle for Doris Day, the whipcrack wit and pace of Richard Eyre’s production scotches any idea

  1. Shaftesbury Theatre 210 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8DP
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Sep 13
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1984

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Headlong’s adaptation of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is such a sense-overloadingly visceral experience that it was only the second time around, as it transfers to the West End, that I realised quite how political it was. Writer-directors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan have reconfigured Orwell’s plot, making it less about Stalinism, more about state-sponsored torture. Which makes great, queasy theatre, as Sam Crane’s frail Winston stumbles through 101

  1. Playhouse Theatre Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5DE
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Aug 23
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New and limited run shows

Antony and Cleopatra

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Sam Wanamaker Playhouse 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Mon Sep 1
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Bring Up the Bodies

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Aldwych Theatre 49 Aldwych, WC2B 4DF
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sat Oct 4
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The Crucible

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Old Vic 103 The Cut, Waterloo Rd, SE1 8NB
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Sep 13
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The Elephantom

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. New London Theatre Drury Lane, WC2B 5PQ
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Sep 6
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Forbidden Broadway

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Menier Chocolate Factory 53 Southwark St, SE1 1RU
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sat Aug 30
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Handbagged

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Vaudeville Theatre 404 The Strand, WC2R 0NH
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Aug 2
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Julius Caesar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Shakespeare's Globe 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Oct 11
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Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Duke of York’s Theatre 104 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4BG
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Jan 17
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Let the Right One In

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Apollo Shaftesbury Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Aug 30
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Limbo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. London Wonderground Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Aug 17
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Richard III

  • Rated as: 4/5
  1. Trafalgar Studios 14 Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Sep 27
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NT Live: Skylight

  • Critics choice

Skylight

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Wyndham's Theatre Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Aug 23
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Watch this Space

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. National Theatre Square South Bank, SE1 9PX
  2. Fri Aug 29 - Sun Aug 31
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Wolf Hall

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Aldwych Theatre 49 Aldwych, WC2B 4DF
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Oct 4
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Long-running shows

The 39 Steps

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Criterion Theatre 218-223 Piccadilly, SW1Y 4XA
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Mar 28
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Billy Elliot the Musical

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Victoria Palace Theatre 126 Victoria Street, SW1E 5EA
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Dec 19
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  1. Gielgud Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6AR
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Feb 14
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Jersey Boys

  • Rated as: 5/5
  1. Piccadilly Theatre 4 Denman Street, W1D 7DY
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Feb 15
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Matilda the Musical

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Cambridge Theatre Earlham St, WC2H 9HU
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun May 24
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War Horse

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. New London Theatre Drury Lane, WC2B 5PQ
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sat Feb 14
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The Woman in Black

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Fortune Theatre Russell Street, WC2B 5HH
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sat Jan 10
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Users say

6 comments
Ninhom Passmore
Ninhom Passmore

Billy Elliet the Musical is brilliant awesome production. I was totally captivated. Will watch again, if chance is permitted.

Peter Lindley
Peter Lindley

W.E.B Bois: A Man for All Times until 1st September at the Victoria and Albert Museum, book online or call 0207 942 2211. Sometimes people can only hear your colour." A line from the powerful and intensely moving story of W.E.B. Du Bois, 1868 to 1963, American Civil Rights Leader and Activist who devoted his life to the strggle for equality by Afro-American people told in Brian Richardson's one man show. It runs until 1st September - get a ticket if you can before they sell out. It's difficult to overstate the importance and impact of this play. It's what theatre is all about. It's moving, informative, tender, funny, and at times truly terrifying. In a masterful demonstration of acting Brian Richardson is Dr W.E.B. Du Bois. His portrayal of the final days of the 93 year old Dr. Bois in the last scene of the play is stunning. I was so immersed in his performance I had to stop myself from offering him a helping hand as he shook and struggled to reach his seat. I don't mind admitting that I cried for him and for the terrible injustices imposed on his fellow Americans by white folk. However, I left the theatre elated that I had seen something very special indeed determined to learn more about Dr Du Bois and the American Civil Rights movement. Dr Du Bois died on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream..." speech, exiled in Ghana on 27 August 1963 only a year before the reforms he fought for became enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

phil
phil

I thought Ghost Stories was awesoem, but since its not on anymore, its rather academic.

Dara
Dara

Ghost Stories was the worst 'thing' I have ever witnessed. Yours sincerely, An ambulance driver

lynne
lynne

arriving may 2012

marlene Dodes-Callahan
marlene Dodes-Callahan

Who reviewed Ghost Sories.? On your recommendation, of four stars, I expected something more professional, engaging, thoughtful than this What a waste of time and money .