Musicals and theatre in London

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

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Camden's festival of sex theatre
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Camden's festival of sex theatre

We talk sexual fantasies with Louise Orwin, headliner of CPT's Hotbed Festival 

The top ten theatre openings in May
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The top ten theatre openings in May

The new London shows you – yes YOU – need to see this month.

Latest theatre reviews
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Latest theatre reviews

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

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London
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Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London

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

The best theatre in London

London musicals
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London musicals

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

West End theatre shows
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West End theatre shows

Here's the full scoop on the best shows in London's West End

London theatre critics' choice
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London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

Children's theatre in London
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Children's theatre in London

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

Theatre tickets and offers

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

Tickets from just £20 with no booking fee? See you there!

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Wicked

Wicked

Upgrade your seat to this spellbinding show - tickets from just £19.50 with no booking fee

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls

See Oliver Award-winner Amber Riley in this glitzy musical - from just £20 with no booking fee

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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An American in Paris

An American in Paris

See this technicolour, toe-tapping show for as little as £18.50 with no booking fee

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Hamlet

Hamlet

Get your tickets to see Andrew Scott in this five-star production for as little as £15

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Latest theatre reviews

Romeo and Juliet
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Romeo and Juliet

You would have to have been exiled to Verona to be unaware of the Globe’s recent troubles, wherein its artistic director Emma Rice – who only started last year – has been forced out by the theatre’s board, who objected to her penchant for using electric lights and amplified sound in the replica Elizabethan theatre…

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Alice's Adventures Underground

Alice's Adventures Underground

‘We’re all mad here’, says a grinning purple Cheshire cat. He’s not wrong. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and it is absolutely bonkers…

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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City of Glass

City of Glass

If you haven’t heard of Paul Auster’s 1987 cult novel ‘City of Glass’ (and until I saw this show, I hadn’t) it’s a tough one to summarise in any kind of pithy fashion…

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Obsession

Obsession

Last time he was on the London stage, Jude Law took the lead in a notably unadventurous West End production of 'Henry V'…

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Discover more theatre in London

Shakespeare plays in London
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Shakespeare plays in London

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

Immersive theatre in London
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Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

Theatre interviews
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Theatre interviews

Peek behind-the-scenes with London's theatrical talents

Circus in London
Nightlife

Circus in London

Although you'll not see any lions being 'tamed' in massive stripy tents, London's modern circus scene is far more jaw-dropping than the suspicious magicians and caged animals of old. Have your breath taken away with your pick from our list of London circus shows.

Coming soon

Angels in America
Theatre

Angels in America

The centrepiece of the National Theatre's 2017 programming is this jaw-dropping looking revival of Tony Kushner's two play epic about the Aids epidemic 'Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes'. 

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
The Ferryman

The Ferryman

For a lot of people, 'The Ferryman' will effectively serve as Jez Butterworth's follow-up to his era-defining 'Jerusalem'…

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Woyzeck

Woyzeck

Some Disney film or other has made John Boyega an A-list name in the years since he last performed on the London stage in 2009. But those who know him solely as the larksome Finn from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' might be surprised at the heaviness of his vehicle for his theatrical comeback…

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Cat On a Hot Tin Roof

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof

The West End never got to see hotshot Aussie director Benedict Andrews's Gillian Anderson-starring Young Vic production of Tennessee Williams's 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. But this year south London's hippest theatre goes straight for the kill by producing Andrews's revival of Williams's 'Cat On a Hot Tin Roof'…

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Hamilton
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Hamilton

Easily the biggest hit theatre show of our age – and the winner of 11 gongs at the 2016 Tonys – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ is an exuberant, multi-racial hip hop account of the life and times of American founding father Alexander Hamilton…

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.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Royal Court Theatre
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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
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

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Lyric Hammersmith
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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