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London theatre critics' choice

Our theatre critics recommend the best London theatre of the moment

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Critics' choice

In the unlikely event you were worried a leap to the stage for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series would result in it becoming aggressively highbrow, self-consciously arty or grindingly bereft of magical high jinks, just chill the hell out, muggle…

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Palace Theatre , Soho Until Sunday December 10 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar

Critics' choice

One of the many contradictions that underpin the life and career of Andrew Lloyd Webber is that his musical about Jesus is about a gazillion times more fun than his musical about cats…

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Until Saturday August 27 2016

Unreachable

Critics' choice

Interview: Matt Smith on Brexit, Radiohead, and 'career suicide' Matt Smith, the star of Anthony Neilson's new play 'Unreachable', has described it as 'career suicide'…

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday August 6 2016

Into the Woods

Critics' choice

Maybe it’s these troubled times we’re living in, but my immediate thought upon watching this transferring revival of Sondheim’s classic Brothers Grimm pastiche ‘Into the Woods’ from US company Fiasco Theater was: well this is a fine Marxist critique of the selfishness of late capitalist society…

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Menier Chocolate Factory , Southwark Until Saturday September 17 2016

Faith Healer

Critics' choice

Brian Friel’s masterpiece about a man with an unreliable gift was once called a ‘non-play’. It’s not the sexiest poster quote, but you get what the critic meant...

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Donmar Warehouse , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 20 2016
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Boys Will Be Boys

Critics' choice

Smoky cabaret clubs are made for transgression: through the fug of smoke and darkness, who can tell who's playing by the rules…

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Bush Hall , Shepherd's Bush Until Saturday July 30 2016

Cuttin' It

Critics' choice

There’s something off-puttingly literal in calling a play about female genital mutilation ‘Cuttin’ It’…

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The Yard Theatre , Hackney Wick Until Saturday July 30 2016

Faith Healer

Critics' choice

Brian Friel’s masterpiece about a man with an unreliable gift was once called a ‘non-play’. It’s not the sexiest poster quote, but you get what the critic meant…

Read more
Donmar Warehouse , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 20 2016

Into the Woods

Critics' choice

Maybe it’s these troubled times we’re living in, but my immediate thought upon watching this transferring revival of Sondheim’s classic Brothers Grimm pastiche ‘Into the Woods’ from US company Fiasco Theater was: well this is a fine Marxist critique of the selfishness of late capitalist society…

Read more
Menier Chocolate Factory , Southwark Until Saturday September 17 2016

Titanic

Critics' choice

I think it’s probably fair to say that the last time I was on the verge of tears at the Charing Cross Theatre, it was because I was really sad that I was in the Charing Cross Theatre…

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Charing Cross Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday August 6 2016

The Book of Mormon

Critics' choice

Brace yourself for a shock: ‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Broadway-munching musical is not particularly shocking. Sure, there are ‘fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and gags about baby rape – but beneath it all, this is a big-hearted affair that pays note-perfect homage to the spirit of Broadway’s golden age as much as the sounds. The strapping young Latter Day Saints missionaries in ‘The Book of Mormon’ are as cartoonish as any ‘South Park’ character, with the endearing alpha-male woodenness of the ‘Team America’ puppets.

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Prince of Wales Theatre , Piccadilly Circus Until Saturday November 12 2016

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Critics' choice

A luminous roller-coaster ride of colour, spectacle and fantastical happenings, Sam Mendes’s stage version of Roald Dahl’s adored children’s book is still as entertaining as ever, two years and a couple of casts down the line. And though a lot of that comes down to the show’s garishly-hued stage tricks, it’s also due to the main attraction.

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane , Covent Garden Until Saturday January 7 2017

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Critics' choice

Three theatres, three casts, one major disaster and seven Olivier Awards on, the National Theatre’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel about Christopher Boone, the teenage ‘mathematician with some behavioural difficulties’ remains a thing of unbridled wonder.The occasion for this re-review is the end of the enforced layoff inflicted upon ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’. The show figuratively blew the roof off when it transferred from the NT to the Apollo Theatre, but unfortunately the ageing ceiling responded by literally collapsing, necessitating a change of venue and months off.

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Gielgud Theatre , Soho Until Saturday February 18 2017

The Deep Blue Sea

Critics' choice

Terence Rattigan’s rehabilitation from ‘Noël Coward’s cheesy mate’ to ‘the English Chekhov’ started on the Lyttelton stage with the NT’s devastating, Cumberbatch-starring 2010 production of ‘After the Dance’…

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National Theatre , South Bank Friday July 29 2016 - Wednesday August 17 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Critics' choice

In the unlikely event you were worried a leap to the stage for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series would result in it becoming aggressively highbrow, self-consciously arty or grindingly bereft of magical high jinks, just chill the hell out, muggle…

Read more
Palace Theatre , Soho Until Sunday December 10 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar

Critics' choice

One of the many contradictions that underpin the life and career of Andrew Lloyd Webber is that his musical about Jesus is about a gazillion times more fun than his musical about cats…

Read more
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Until Saturday August 27 2016

Guys and Dolls

Critics' choice

Frank Loesser’s ‘Guys and Dolls’ is routinely referred to as the greatest musical of all time, which is, frankly, a heckuva lot to live up to…

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Phoenix Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday October 30 2016

In the Heights

Critics' choice

A rap-meets-salsa musical set in the Latino community of Manhattan’s Washington Heights, it remains as colourful, refreshing and full of Puerto Rican zing as a frozen fruit Piragua slurped between lovers on the sidewalk.

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King's Cross Theatre , King's Cross Until Sunday October 30 2016

Jersey Boys

Critics' choice

Here's the 'Jersey Boys' concept. Take one gleaming back-catalogue – that of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, whose Bob Gaudio-penned songs have become so woven into the fabric of Western pop culture that it's easy to forget who actually wrote them. Next, instead of torturously extrapolating a zany plot out of the lyrics, simply make the story of 'Jersey Boys' the story of the Four Seasons. Get a top-notch book, written by Rick Elice and Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman.

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Piccadilly Theatre , Piccadilly Circus Until Sunday April 16 2017

Les Miserables

Critics' choice

If the second longest running show in the West End was looking a little tired, a rejuvenating orchestral facelift was just what the doctor ordered. Cameron Mackintosh's 'little girl' has shaken off that 1980s synth vibe and finally woken up to the organic noughties. This is a new, richer sound with strong operatic undertones and even the faint echoes of chamber music. Led by compelling ex-'Phantom…' Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, this dynamic cast blows a whirlwind through the Queen's Theatre, hurtling along Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's famous melodrama.

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Queen's Theatre , Soho Until Saturday March 4 2017
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