Make sure you're booking for the best of the season with our critics' guide to the ten most recommended West End theatre shows on right now. The list will be updated weekly as new West End plays and musicals open and old ones close.
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. In David Greig’s adaptation that’s not the eponymous Charlie Bucket, but eccentric factory owner Mr Willy Wonka. Following in the footsteps of the cuddlier Douglas Hodge, RSC stalwart Jonathan Slinger is now the third Wonka.Read more
Like the England mens’ 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.Read more
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.Read more
‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Broadway-munching musical continues to shock in London. Although, truth be told, the strapping young Latter Day Saints missionaries are as cartoonish as any ‘South Park’ character, with the endearing alpha-male woodenness of the ‘Team America’ puppets. In other words, they are loveable, well-intentioned idiots, traversing the globe like groups of pious meerkats, convinced they can convert the heathen through sheer politeness.Read more
'My mummy says I'm a miracle,' lisps a pampered mini-me at a purgatorial kiddies' birthday party at the outset of this delicious, treacly-dark family show. The obnoxious ma and pa of its titular, gifted, pint-sized heroine are not, of course, quite so doting. But 'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents.Read more