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McQueen

I basically know about as much about fashion as I do about quantum physics, and this maddeningly opaque biographical drama about the late Lee Alexander McQueen has done nothing to change that.

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Haymarket Theatre Royal, Soho Until Saturday November 7 2015

My Eyes Went Dark

Matthew Wilkinson’s thrilling new play is about a grieving man, suffering a deep, awful trauma. As a visceral, realistic exploration of whether a victim can and should forgive, it’s practically Greek on the tragedy scale. Nikolai Koslov is an architect from Ossetia in Russia whose two children and wife have been killed in a plane crash. He calls it a crime, but everyone around him calls it an accident.

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Finborough Theatre, West Brompton Tuesday September 1 2015 - Saturday September 19 2015

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Matthew Iliffe’s production of this 2002 musical about the roaring ‘20s offers a burst of sleek hair bobs, jazzy steps and swinging flapper dresses. The staging, dancing and costumes are enough to make you want to do a spontaneous Charleston. The plot and songs, however, won’t leave you with quite the same spring in your step.

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Landor Theatre, Stockwell Tuesday September 1 2015 - Sunday September 13 2015

Our Country's Good

The wonderfully-named playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker has tightened her grip on the annals of history with this, the second major revival in two years for her classic 1988 drama about  justice and redemption at the founding of Australia.And good for her, but if you caught Out of Joint’s production at the St James a couple of years back I’m not sure you need to come running out to see Nadia Fall’s new one for the NT.

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National Theatre, South Bank Friday September 4 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015

Our House

‘Our House’ is like being sixteen again. Hormones are rampant, emotions are rocketing, energy levels are endless – and nothing makes a lot of sense. Underpinned by a cracking soundtrack from ska band Madness, ‘Our House’ won the Olivier award for best new musical in 2003. It won’t break your heart, but it’s still a head-banging and fist-pumping delight.Steven France heads up a ridiculously energetic ensemble cast, of which director Michael Burgen should be heartily proud.

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Union Theatre, Southwark Tuesday September 1 2015 - Saturday September 12 2015

Hamlet

As Shakespeare probably wouldn’t have put it, there’s been a right load of old bollocks written about Lyndsey Turner’s production of ‘Hamlet’

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Barbican Centre, Barbican Until Saturday October 31 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea

Anthony Trollope, author of the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ and distant ancestor of Joanna, was a Victorian novelist widely acknowledged as ‘pretty good’.

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Park Theatre, Finsbury Park Tuesday September 1 2015 - Saturday September 19 2015

Black Spartacus

The Black Spartacus of the title is Toussaint L’Ouverture, also known as the Black Napoleon.

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Courtyard Theatre, Shoreditch Tuesday September 1 2015 - Sunday September 13 2015

Carmen

In her usual fashion, OperaUpClose director Robin Norton-Hale has found an alternate spin on one of the world’s most popular operas. Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, her programme note tells us, is not the tale of Don José, an upright soldier whose life is destroyed over his obsession with a femme fatale, but rather that of a free-spirited woman who suffers increasing levels of domestic violence from a jealous lover. In her re-imagining, she’s unfortunately sacrificed rather vital details of the plot.

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Soho Theatre, Soho Until Saturday September 19 2015

The Three Little Pigs

If your sprogs are freaking out over the fact we’ve still got five months left until panto season  then ‘The Three Little Pigs’ might just tide you over. This pocket-sized musical is a pantomime in all but name: a cheery, cheesy modernised adaptation of a fairy story, plus songs and a minor celebrity – in this case Blue’s Simon Webbe – gamely playing the villain.The ditties are by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe: oddly enough their last West End musical, ‘Betty Blue Eyes’, was also about a pig.

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Palace Theatre, Soho Until Sunday September 6 2015

Black Spartacus

The Black Spartacus of the title is Toussaint L’Ouverture, also known as the Black Napoleon. As you might’ve guessed, he was quite the leader. At the end of the 18th century, L’Ouverture led a slave revolt and helped transform the West Indian island of Saint Domingue into the world’s first black republic – Haiti.

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Courtyard Theatre, Shoreditch Tuesday September 1 2015 - Sunday September 13 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea

Anthony Trollope, author of the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ and distant ancestor of Joanna, was a Victorian novelist widely acknowledged as ‘pretty good’. ‘Lady Anna’ is one of his lesser-known novels and it’s widely acknowledged to be pretty bad. The stage version certainly is: this melodramatic mess is terrible.Commissioned to adapt it by the Trollope Society, writer Craig Baxter has done his best, but this feels like a vanity project.

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Park Theatre, Finsbury Park Tuesday September 1 2015 - Saturday September 19 2015

1984

Critics' choice

'1984' returns to the West End from June 2015. This review is of the show's 2014 run. 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.

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Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross Until Saturday September 5 2015

Bend It Like Beckham

Critics' choice

Like the England men's team at their very best, ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ – the West End’s latest musical adaptation of a hit Britflick – is about 50 percent nervously wondering where this is all going, and 50 percent pure euphoria. And that’ll do me.Moans first: it starts slowly, and the songs are so-so. Composer Howard Goodall is revered in musical nerd circles for his skill and subtlety, but the man doesn’t do catchy.

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Phoenix Theatre, Covent Garden Until Saturday February 20 2016

Bugsy Malone

Critics' choice

While it is a truth universally acknowledged that anybody who doesn’t like ‘Bugsy Malone’ is a dangerous weirdo who needs to be silenced (or at least splurged to buggery), you can also see why creator Alan Parker has mostly refused to reciprocate the love for his 1976 kiddie-gangster musical film by allowing professional stage productions.

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Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith Until Saturday September 5 2015
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