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The top 10 theatre openings this month

Our theatre critics pick the new theatre shows they think will wow London this month

London's theatre calendar is flooded with exciting new shows, big names and hotshot directors, and there's no way anyone can see them all. Check out our latest theatre reviews for the full rundown, or shortcut to the list below for ten critics' choice theatre shows opening in London this month that you won't regret booking for. 

London's top ten new theatre shows

© Johan Persson

Running Wild

Open air theatre season has offically started, as the Regent's Park Theatre opens for 2016 with a hugely ambitious, puppet-driven adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's Indonesian elephant adventure 'Running Wild' that features a young cast of 57 nine-to-19-year-olds Ages four-plus.

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Friday May 13 2016 - Sunday June 12 2016

The Joke

The resurgent Camden People's Theatre stages a seriously juicy in house prouction – acclaimed eccentric and alt comedian Will Adamsdale stars in a piece about an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman trapped inside a joke. 'Directing support' (?) comes from the brilliant Joe Hill-Gibbins.

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Camden People's Theatre , Euston Tuesday May 17 2016 - Saturday June 4 2016
© Hulton Archive

Lawrence After Arabia

This intriguing new drama from Howard Brenton – commissioned to mark the centenary of the Arab revolt that saw the Arabic states break away from the Ottoman Empire – follows the life of TE Lawrence – aka Lawrence of Arabia – after he went into retirement. Jack Laskey stars.

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Hampstead Theatre , Swiss Cottage Until Saturday June 4 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play For the Nation

The country's most storied amateur theatre company – London's very own Tower Theatre – team up with the RSC to play the parts of the Rude Mechanicals as this ambitious touring production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' calls in at the Barbican.

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Tuesday May 17 2016 - Saturday May 21 2016
© Johann Persson

Romeo and Juliet

Rising stars Lily James and Richard Madden reprise their romantic double-act from Kenneth Branagh's 'Cinderella' to star as literature's most famous lovers in this new production, also directed by Sir Ken (co-directing with Rob Ashford).

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Garrick Theatre , Covent Garden Thursday May 12 2016 - Saturday August 13 2016
© Steve Tanner

Monster Raving Loony

James Graham pretty much seals his place as British theatre's premier political historian with the London transfer of his anarchic play about notorious eccentric/irritant/hero Screaming Lord and his Monster Raving Loony Party.

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Soho Theatre , Soho Saturday May 14 2016 - Saturday June 18 2016


Joe Penhall's 'Blue/Orange' was the great satire of the early New Labour era, a sharp examination of race, political correctness and mental health care in Britain. It'll be interesting to see how it holds up in an era where very different challenges are facing our health services. David Haig, Daniel Kaluuya and Luke Norris star.

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Young Vic , Southwark Thursday May 12 2016 - Saturday July 2 2016
© Gianmarco Bresadola

Ophelias Zimmer

The great auteur director Katie Mitchell returns to the Royal Court with this exploration of Shakespeare's character Ophelia, shorn of the context of the play 'Hamlet'. With a text by rising star Alice Birtch, it's already played to acclaim in Berlin, and comes to London for a very short run.

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Tuesday May 17 2016 - Saturday May 21 2016

The Threepenny Opera

Having finally made the breakthrough as a screen star he so richly deserved, Rory Kinnear's stage appearances are fewer and far between these days. But this promises to be a treat, as Rufus Norris directs him – singing and all – in Simon Stephens's updated version of the Brecht masterpiece. 

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National Theatre , South Bank Wednesday May 18 2016 - Wednesday August 31 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream

It's all change at Shakespeare's Globe: Dominic Dromgoole has left the building, passing control to erstwhile Kneehigh leader Emma Rice. Famously not a Shakespeare nerd, all eyes will be on her first production – only the second of the Bard's works she's directed. Clearly all sorts of stops are being pulled out, with an installation of trees due to spill out from the theatre to the Thames, and with alt.cabaret goddess Meow Meow cast as Titania.

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Until Sunday September 11 2016

Find the best West End theatre shows

West End musicals and plays

Want to see a West End musical or play, but not sure which one? Looking for gossip on which shows and celebrities are coming to the London stage? Or just after a good deal on tickets? Whatever the case, we've got it all right here.

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By: Andrzej Lukowski


Michael M
Michael M

Rules For Living at National

I saw this play at a preview and wished I had not bothered.  Very lazy writing: Alan Ayckbourn light; I did not think you could get lighter, and precious few laughs.  Acting good


Brad Zimmerman will be your server in "My Son the Waiter — A Jewish Tragedy" at the Scherr Forum Theatre, "Psyche: A Modern Rock Opera" http://quizans.com

dodie Thomas
dodie Thomas

went to see ' Jeeves & Wooster ' at the Duke of Yorks , but felt it went on too long although it did keep us out of the rain for a few hours ! the best thing was Steven Mangan's interpretation of silly muddle headed Wooster, and he does have a great face for comedy ! oh well . . .