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. Tue Aug 19 - 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 Aug 19 - Sat Nov 22
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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. Tue Aug 19 - 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. Tue Aug 19 - 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 Aug 19 - Sun Aug 24
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Bring Up the Bodies

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Aldwych Theatre 49 Aldwych, WC2B 4DF
  2. Tue Aug 19 - 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. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Sep 13
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The Elephantom

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. New London Theatre Drury Lane, WC2B 5PQ
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Sep 6
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Heist

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Theatre Delicatessen 35 Marylebone High St, W1U 4QA
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Aug 30
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Julius Caesar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Shakespeare's Globe 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
  2. Wed Aug 27 - Sat Oct 11
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Let the Right One In

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Apollo Shaftesbury Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Aug 30
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Medea

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. National Theatre, Olivier South Bank, SE1 9PX
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Thu Sep 4
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My Night With Reg

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Donmar Warehouse 41 Earlham St, WC2H 9LX
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Sep 27
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Richard III

  • Rated as: 4/5
  1. Trafalgar Studios 14 Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Sep 27
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A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Young Vic The Cut, SE1 8LZ
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Fri Sep 19
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Wolf Hall

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Aldwych Theatre 49 Aldwych, WC2B 4DF
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Sat Oct 4
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ZooNation: Groove On Down the Road

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank, SE1 8XX
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Tue Aug 26
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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. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Oct 18
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Billy Elliot the Musical

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Victoria Palace Theatre 126 Victoria Street, SW1E 5EA
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Dec 19
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The Book of Mormon

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Prince of Wales Theatre Coventry St, W1D 6AS
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Dec 13
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Theatre Royal Drury Lane Catherine St, WC2B 5JF
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat May 30
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  1. Gielgud Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6AR
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Feb 14
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Jersey Boys

  • Rated as: 5/5
  1. Piccadilly Theatre 4 Denman Street, W1D 7DY
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sun Feb 15
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Les Miserables

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Queen’s Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6BA
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sat Apr 25
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Matilda the Musical

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  1. Cambridge Theatre Earlham St, WC2H 9HU
  2. Tue Aug 19 - Sun May 24
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War Horse

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  1. New London Theatre Drury Lane, WC2B 5PQ
  2. Tue Aug 19 - 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 Aug 19 - Wed Jun 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 .