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London theatre reviews

Read through our latest London theatre reviews and find out what our theatre team made of the city's new openings

The Convert

Think drama set in the 1890s and you might well think of sitting room squabbles over cucumber sandwiches…

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Gate Theatre , Notting Hill Until Saturday February 11 2017

In the Depths of Dead Love

'Theatre of Catastrophe' is what Howard Barker named his own unique brand of plays - full of elliptical language, dislikeable characters and unfathomable meanings. The name has never been so apt…

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Print Room , Kensington Until Saturday February 11 2017

Winter Solstice

I can’t help but think this German comedy – by Roland Schimmelpfennig, presented by ATC and the Orange Tree – has been a bit spoilered by the accompanying press and publicity materials, which has all strongly built it up as a topical play about the resurgence of the far right…

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Orange Tree Theatre , Richmond Until Saturday February 11 2017

Promises, Promises

Re-creating Burt Bacharach Hal David and Neil Simon’s swinging sixties New Yoik musical in Southwark Playhouse was never going to be easy, and Bronagh Lagan’s new production of 'Promises, Promises' – a tale of sexual and work-place politics in mid-century Manhattan – feels not only out of place, but out of touch…

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Southwark Playhouse , Elephant and Castle Until Saturday February 18 2017

The Lower Depths

This is a grinding production – in every sense. Opening the Arcola's Revolution season (it’ll be followed by Anton Chekhov’s 'The Cherry Orchard'), ‘The Lower Depths’ aims high, but misses its targets…

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Arcola Theatre , Kingsland Until Saturday February 11 2017

BU21

Recommended

BU21 is the name of an imagined passenger jet, shot down over Fulham by terrorists in the summer of 2017. Stuart Slade’s smart, cynical breakthrough play – a transfer from the tiny Theatre 503 – follows six Londoners who survive this catastrophic attack…

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Trafalgar Studios , Whitehall Until Saturday February 18 2017

Abigail

Ordinary bloke on the cusp of a midlife crisis meets beautiful younger woman with daddy issues. The tropes that writer Fiona Doyle is playing with in ‘Abigail’ are achingly familiar…

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The Bunker , Southwark Until Saturday February 4 2017

Wish List

Recommended

Zero hours contracts – check. Government sanctions – check. Living with disability – check. Heartless, amoral, technocratic corporation that bears more than a little resemblance to a popular internet retailer – check.  Young writer Katherine Soper’s first play ‘Wish List’ touches so many Serious Social Issues that by rights the whole thing should feel like hard work…

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday February 11 2017

Abigail

Ordinary bloke on the cusp of a midlife crisis meets beautiful younger woman with daddy issues. The tropes that writer Fiona Doyle is playing with in ‘Abigail’ are achingly familiar…

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The Bunker , Southwark Until Saturday February 4 2017

Birthday Suit

It’s a new year, but there’s something essentially old-fashioned about this play. Premiering at the Old Red Lion pub theatre, there’s a lick of new paint to its talk of the global marketplace, recession and the challenges of being twenty-something today…

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Old Red Lion , Angel Until Saturday February 4 2017

BU21

Recommended

BU21 is the number of an imagined passenger jet, shot down over Fulham by terrorists in the summer of 2017. Stuart Slade’s smart, cynical breakthrough play (a transfer from the tiny Theatre 503) follows six Londoners who survive this catastrophic attack…

Read more
Trafalgar Studios , Whitehall Until Saturday February 18 2017

Giselle

English National Ballet has already done a ‘Giselle’ this season – the radically reimagined ballet created by the choreographer Akram Khan…

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London Coliseum , Covent Garden Until Sunday January 22 2017

The Kite Runner

By the end of this stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel, half the audience was crying, ovating and no doubt crying while ovating…

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Wyndham's Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday March 11 2017

Wish List

Recommended

Zero hours contracts – check. Government sanctions – check. Living with disability – check. Heartless, amoral, technocratic corporation that bears more than a little resemblance to a popular internet retailer – check…

Read more
Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday February 11 2017

BU21

Recommended

BU21 is the number of an imagined passenger jet, shot down over Fulham by terrorists in the summer of 2017. Stuart Slade’s smart, cynical breakthrough play (a transfer from the tiny Theatre 503) follows six Londoners who survive this catastrophic attack…

Read more
Trafalgar Studios , Whitehall Until Saturday February 18 2017

Wish List

Recommended

Zero hours contracts – check. Government sanctions – check. Living with disability – check. Heartless, amoral, technocratic corporation that bears more than a little resemblance to a popular internet retailer – check.  Young writer Katherine Soper’s first play ‘Wish List’ touches so many Serious Social Issues that by rights the whole thing should feel like hard work. And yet ‘Wish List’ is a wonderful, human play…

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday February 11 2017

Mary Stuart

Recommended

A family emergency on press day stopped me seeing both versions of Robert Icke’s stunning take on ‘Mary Stuart’…

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Almeida Theatre , Barnsbury Until Saturday January 28 2017

Hedda Gabler

Recommended

Starring an incandescent Ruth Wilson, Ivo van Hove’s modern production of Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’ rejects the usual, comforting, proto-feminist reading wherein its heroine does the terrible things she does because she is a victim…

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National Theatre, Lyttelton , South Bank Until Tuesday March 21 2017

This House

Recommended

James Graham’s surprise hit about the fraught Westminster wranglings of the 1970s – first seen in London at the National Theatre in 2012 – has made its long-awaited West End transfer against a starkly changed political climate…

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Garrick Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday February 25 2017

Lazarus

A wealthy recluse, dying but somehow not dead, sits atop his New York tower, hallucinating his past and the music of David Bowie. If it was difficult to see where Thomas Newton, the stranded alien protagonist of the 1976 film 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' ended, and Bowie – who played him – began, then that goes double for its musical sequel, ‘Lazarus’.Co-written by Enda Walsh and the late Bowie, 'Lazarus', catches up with Newton (Michael C Hall) in the present day, as he morosely drinks gin in his featureless apartment. There is little actual plot, but a sense of events finally coming to a head, as Newton’s hope and despair become manifested as ingenue the Girl (Sophia Anne Caruso) and the psychotic Valentine (Michael Esper). Meanwhile his new PA, Elly (Amy Lennox), finds her personality is being overwritten by that of Thomas's lost love, Mary-Lou.Ivo van Hove's claustrophobic production is more like a mood than a story, a homage to Nicholas Roeg's hallucinatory film, but also, presumably, a window into the decade of secluded ill health that followed Bowie's withdrawal from public life in 2005.Does this make it a good musical? I dunno: it's weirdly caught between aggressive artiness and a certain triteness. If you haven’t seen – and liked – the film, you’ll quite possibly be totally at sea here. If you do love its brooding vibes, you may cringe at a couple of moments where its icy aloofness is punctured by overly-sincere, ‘X Factor’-style performances of a couple of numbers. 

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King's Cross Theatre , King's Cross Until Sunday January 22 2017

An Inspector Calls

Recommended

Did Stephen Daldry know something we didn’t? This revival of the director’s landmark 1992 National Theatre production of JB Priestley’s 1945 play ‘An Inspector Calls’ opened a day after the result of the US election…

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Playhouse Theatre , Charing Cross Until Saturday March 25 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Recommended

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

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Comments

1 comments
felicity b
felicity b

Cinderella in Chiswick House Gardens is great!  Went tonight, it was a breath of fresh air without cheesy jokes, but with ballerina mice dancing, an acrobatic lizard, singing and dancing - Inearly forgot, the magician throughout.  Topped off with a sprinkling of snow at the end. 

Company as called Humdalila Productions I think.  Only on in December. 

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