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Musicals and theatre in London

Your one stop guide to plays and musicals in the West End and the best of London shows. Theatre reviews, tickets and offers

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James McAvoy: ‘I'm at the arse-end of my soldiering days’
Theatre

James McAvoy: ‘I'm at the arse-end of my soldiering days’

The ‘His Dark Materials’ star on turning 40, choosing Lord Asriel’s chunky knits, and rapping on stage in the West End’s radical ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’

London theatre for 2020 – shows not to miss
Theatre

London theatre for 2020 – shows not to miss

You can run, you can hide, but 2020’s gonna find you – here’s our pick of the 20 biggest and best shows coming to London

Christmas pantomimes in London
Theatre

Christmas pantomimes in London

Let's stop pretending: Christmas is now hurtling towards us like an out-of-control sleigh. Here’s the best places to catch a London pantomime for Christmas 2019

Latest theatre reviews
Theatre

Latest theatre reviews

Find out what our theatre team made of London's new openings

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London
Theatre

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London

London's best theatre discounts and how to get in to sold out shows

Latest theatre reviews

‘Fairview’ review
Theatre

‘Fairview’ review

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s dizzyingly inventive, Pulitzer Prize-winning race-relations satire ‘Fairview’ manages the rare trick of being righteously provocative while more or less demanding you don’t discuss what happens in it with anybody who hasn’t seen it…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘A Christmas Carol’ review

‘A Christmas Carol’ review

Everyone from Bill Murray to the Muppets has remixed Dickens’ Victorian thriller about a grasping old miser, redeemed by three Christmas spirits who show him cautionary visions of his past, present and future…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’ review
Theatre

‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’ review

‘Aladdin’ was recently found to be the UK's most staged panto, but however deeply attached we might be to its orientalist mash-up of cultures, ‘Dick Whittington’ is a much more satisfying story for twenty-first-century Londoners…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘The Nativity Panto – A Not-So Silent Night’ review
Theatre

‘The Nativity Panto – A Not-So Silent Night’ review

Pantomime is a mad hodgepodge of an art-form at the best of times – but if you’ve ever thought ‘what panto lacks is a little light opera’, then 'The Nativity Panto' is for you…

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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Coming soon

Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

James McAvoy will team up with super-director Jamie Lloyd for the fourth time on stage to star as the eponymous big-nosed polymath hero of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, in a new translation by Martin Crimp…

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Uncle Vanya
Theatre

Uncle Vanya

Hot on the heels of the return of his Bob Dyan musical ‘Girl from the North Country’, the great Irish playwright Conor McPherson returns with a new stage adaptation of Chekhov's classic…

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s civil rights classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ took Broadway by storm…

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A Doll’s House
Theatre

A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen’s proto-feminist masterpiece ‘A Doll’s House’ has appeared in some wild London incarnations lately…

Frozen
Theatre

Frozen

In the autumn of 2020 extremely venerable Theatre Royal Drury Lane will emerge from over a year of lavish upgrade and restoration works to play host to what is surely set to be the biggest show of the year: Michael Grandage’s musical adaptation of Disney’s ‘Frozen’…

Theatre tickets and offers

Up to 33% off ‘Lexicon’ at The Roundhouse

Up to 33% off ‘Lexicon’ at The Roundhouse

The NoFit State Circus is bringing their hit show to London

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40% off tickets to ‘The Snowman’ at Peacock Theatre

40% off tickets to ‘The Snowman’ at Peacock Theatre

Warm your soul (and shed a tear) with this magical winter classic

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Save up to 39% on tickets to ‘Macbeth’ or ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Save up to 39% on tickets to ‘Macbeth’ or ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

See Shakespeare’s classics at the Grade II-listed Wilton’s Music Hall

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28% off tickets to ‘Voldemort & the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody’

28% off tickets to ‘Voldemort & the Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody’

There’s a lot you don’t know about he who must not be named

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Up to 36% off tickets to ‘Circus 1903’ at Royal Festival Hall

Up to 36% off tickets to ‘Circus 1903’ at Royal Festival Hall

Discover the golden age of circus at one of these thrilling shows

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More great theatre tickets

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Sally Cookson's acclaimed Narnia adaptation transfers to the Bridge for Christmas

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The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

This pitch black staging of Susan Hill's thriller is irresistibly eerie

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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‘A Christmas Carol’ review

‘A Christmas Carol’ review

Jack Thorne’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ returns to the Old Vic for its third run in Christmas 2019

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‘Uncle Vanya’

‘Uncle Vanya’

Toby Jones and Richard Armitage star in Conor McPherson’s new take on the Chekhov classic

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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

James McAvoy and Jamie Lloyd reunite for the classic play about the panache-tastic soldier

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The best theatre in London

London musicals
Theatre

London musicals

All the latest musicals, from the fringe to the West End.

West End theatre shows
Theatre

West End theatre shows

London's West End is teeming with plays and musicals, so how do you decide what to see? By using our handy guide

Children's theatre in London
Theatre

Children's theatre in London

Recommendations for the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups

London theatre critics' choice
Theatre

London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

Discover more theatre in London

Shakespeare plays in London
Theatre

Shakespeare plays in London

Here's where to watch the best of the Bard in London

London musicals
Theatre

London musicals

Our comprehensive guide to all musicals in London's West End and beyond…

Immersive theatre in London
Theatre

Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

London theatre breaks
Theatre

London theatre breaks

Hotel and theatre combos that make life a whole lot easier

What's on at

Old Vic
Theatre

Old Vic

The combination of double-Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and top producer David Liddiment at this 200-year-old Waterloo theatre continues to be a commercial success – though Spacey's controversial artistic leadership has frequently come under critical fire. Still, the Old Vic's a great place to catch high-profile actors – Ian McKellen, Robert Lindsay and Neve Campbell have all trod its boards. David Mamet's 'Speed-the-Plow' thrilled audiences in 2008 and was followed by a winning revival of Alan Ayckbourn's 'The Norman Conquests' – a show that saw the venue spectacularly remodeled into a theatre-in-the-round. Summer 2009 heralded the first of Sam Mendes's The Bridge Projects, an Anglo-American collaboration between Mendes, the Old Vic and Joseph V Melillo's Brooklyn Academy of Music, that enticed Ethan Hawke to the British stage for its Shakespeare/Chekhov double bill.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
National Theatre

National Theatre

The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National, whose three auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe – offer a rolling repertory programme, often with a choice of several productions in a week. The National Theatre may have once had a fiercely inaccessible reputation, but the arrival of maverick artistic director Nicholas Hytner in 2003 rocked theatreland as he set about changing the venue's staid ethos with daring productions such as 'Jerry Springer the Opera' and an ambitious adaptation of Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. The change of tack proved a success, attracting audiences of mixed race, age and class – and Hytner's budget £10 Travelex-sponsored tickets still help pull in the crowds in the summer season. The home stable for Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse', which opened here in 2007 and went on to break West End records, the National is now developing a reputation for family-friendly blockbusters, cue its current production of Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. Meanwhile the National Theatre Live initiative has extended the theatre's reach by broadcasting high-publicity productions such as Danny Boyle's role-swapping smash-hit 'Frankenstein' and the comedy 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which introduced James Corden to the stage, live to Picturehouse Cinemas. A recent run of the post-modern musical 'London Road' proved it hasn't lost its edge. You

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Young Vic

Young Vic

The Young Vic finally returned to its refurbished home in The Cut in 2007 with acclaimed community show ‘Tobias & the Angel’. As you would expect, it’s got more verve and youthful nerve than the grown-up Old Vic down the road and attracts a slightly younger more multicultural – yet still discerning – crowd. Director David Lan’s eclectic programming of rediscovered European classics has proved popular with the critics, while a stage adaptation of DBC Pierre’s ‘Vernon God Little’ was standing ovation material. Three venue spaces – the main house and studio spaces Maria and Clare – allow for flexible scheduling and more intimate works such as Tarell Alvin McCraney’s moving ‘The Brothers Size’. The Young Vic also provides its Waterloo home with a popular split-level bar and restaurant complete with an open-air balcony terrace.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Royal Court Theatre

Royal Court Theatre

A hard-hitting theatre in well-heeled Sloane Square, the Royal Court has always placed emphasis on new British talent – from John Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’ in 1956, to the discovery of numerous playwrights over the past decade: Sarah Kane, Joe Penhall and Conor McPherson among them. Artistic director Dominic Cooke has always injected plenty of politics into the programmes and successfully decreased the age of his audiences too. This is where you’ll find rude, lyrical new work set on the London streets by first-time playwrights like Bola Agbaje and the more established but no less cool Mark Ravenhill. Split between two floors – with the mid-capacity Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the studio-style Jerwood Theatre Upstairs – the Royal Court also houses an excellent bookshop geared towards theatregoers and a café bar with a weighty menu serving up more than your average bag of peanuts.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe

The original Globe Theatre, where many of William Shakespeare's plays were first staged and which he co-owned, burned to the ground in 1613 during a performance of 'Henry VIII'. Nearly 400 years later, it was rebuilt not far from its original site, using construction methods and materials as close to the originals as possible. Shakespeare’s Globe has been an unbridled success, underpinned in part by its educational programme (you can drop in for talks and readings) and its commitment to faithfully recreating an original ‘Shakespeare in performance’ experience from April to October. The open-air, free-standing Yard is the best bet for those after complete authenticity – the absence of seating may test your stamina but tickets are excellent value – while the Middle and Upper Galleries afford a (marginally more comfortable) atmosphere of their own. The only thing that tends to mar a performance is the theatre’s somewhat noisy, flight-path location. In the UnderGlobe beneath the theatre is a fine exhibition on the history of the reconstruction, Bankside and its original theatres, and Shakespeare's London. Guided tours of the Shakespeare's Globe theatre run throughout the year. If the Bard is not your bag, look out for various seasonal festivals that take place on the riverside area outside the Globe Theatre. For more information about visiting the Globe Theatre, head to www.timeout.com/outdoor-theatre-faqs

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Lyric Hammersmith
Theatre

Lyric Hammersmith

A beacon of culture in Hammersmith, the Lyric's distinctive look is largely down to a fusion of the building's 1970s structure, the theatre's Victorian heritage and a modern interior.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars