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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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Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews
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Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews

Check out the best of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The best new theatre shows to see in August
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The best new theatre shows to see in August

It’s another massive month for theatre – don’t miss any of these shows

What to see at Edinburgh Fringe: 15 of the best
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What to see at Edinburgh Fringe: 15 of the best

Our top pix for the Fringe and EIF

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

Latest theatre reviews

‘The Worst Witch’ review

‘The Worst Witch’ review

If Harry Potter can have a West End play, then Mildred Hubble can damn well have a West End play too…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Matthew Bourne’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ review
Dance

Matthew Bourne’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ review

After ‘Swan Lake’, ‘The Nutcracker’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Cinderella’, another of ballet’s big beasts has received the Matthew Bourne treatment…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘Evita’ review

‘Evita’ review

Forget everything you know about ‘Evita’: this one properly rocks. Gone are the romanticised shots of sun-soaked South America, sliced out are the filler numbers clogging the score and deleted is the simpering, blonde starlet…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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‘Go Bang Your Tambourine’ review
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‘Go Bang Your Tambourine’ review

‘Go Bang Your Tambourine’ is a frustrating curio of a play…

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
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Coming soon

Evita

Evita

In a big year for the back catalogue of Andrew Lloyd Webber, this looks set to be the most exciting entry…

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Fleabag

Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings her career-defining monologue back for one last run in summer 2019. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
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Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.

Britain’s greatest living playwright Caryl Churchill is back at her usual haunt the Royal Court with four short plays…

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen

It feels like 2019 is the year every single hit Broadway musical of the last three years descends upon London…

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& Juliet

& Juliet

Superstar Swedish songwriter Max Martin has probably done more to shape the contemporary pop landscape than any human being alive…

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Theatre tickets and offers

Up to 48% off ‘The Night of the Iguana’ at Noël Coward Theatre

Up to 48% off ‘The Night of the Iguana’ at Noël Coward Theatre

Don’t miss this fascinating Tennessee Williams revival

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Up to 64% off ‘A Doll’s House’ at Lyric Hammersmith

Up to 64% off ‘A Doll’s House’ at Lyric Hammersmith

Tanika Gupta reimagines Ibsen’s masterpiece

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Up to 36% off ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ at Harold Pinter Theatre

Up to 36% off ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ at Harold Pinter Theatre

Last chance to see the first major theatrical adaptation of this wartime romance

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More Exclusive London Theatre Offers

More Exclusive London Theatre Offers

Discounts, exclusive access and special offers to some of Lonson's top theatre shows

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More great theatre tickets

‘Death of a Salesman’ review

‘Death of a Salesman’ review

Following a sold out run at the Young Vic theatre, the smash hit, critically acclaimed production of Death of a Salesman transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre for 10 weeks only.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

If you’re a plucky producer hoping to get your new show into the Criterion Theatre, you’re flat out of luck once again. Because less than nine months after 'The 39 Steps' shuttered after almost a decade glowering over Piccadilly Circus, it’s now home to the brand new comedy by Mischief Theatre, which, if there’s any justice in the theatre world, will run for even longer. 'The Comedy About A Bank Robbery' is the latest play by the bogglingly prolific and talented team behind 'The Play That Goes Wrong' (or more accurately the 'Play That Goes Wrong' franchise) and it’s their best and funniest work yet. A genre pastiche, screwball comedy and classic farce that’s as clean and clear as its brassy branding, it spins with a manic energy from Two Ronnies-esque wordplay through surreal set-pieces to slapstick stunts prepped to bring the house down. The story of a bungled jewel heist in a sleepy Minneapolis bank branch, it features a host of hilarious but well-drawn characters who roar across the stage and tumble into disaster after disaster, each one more elegantly drawn than the last. The writers’ ability to snatch a laugh out of every line, and to intricately prime each scenario with zinging punchlines and pay-offs is stunning, as call-backs and running gags pile up into teetering edifices of absurdity. The entire cast is bang on the money, but Mischief Theatre’s own Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer are the standouts as booming bank manager Robin Freeboys and hapless loser (and eter

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong

This comedy has, of course, actually done everything right. Produced by LAMDA graduates Mischief Theatre, the show has had successful runs at the Old Red Lion in Islington, Trafalgar Studios, and in Edinburgh; now it's made it all the way to the West End. Amid all the chatter about the overbearing West End dominance of jukebox musicals and film spin-offs, it’s cheering to see a dynamic young company land slap-bang in the middle of Theatreland.The show is a farcical play-within-a-play. Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are mounting a production of a hoary old sub-‘Mousetrap’ mystery called ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’. From the first moment, in which a hapless stage manager attempts to secure a collapsing mantelpiece, we suspect that things are not going to go to plan. And that, indeed, is the case, as the production shudders painfully into chaos, taking in everything from dropped lines to disintegrating sets, intra-cast fighting, technical malfunctions of the highest order, and an unexpectedly resuscitated corpse.The show sits in a fine tradition of British slapstick, and of plays about theatrical blunders: its debt to Michael Frayn’s hilarious ‘Noises Off’, about the gradual disintegration of a touring rep production, is considerable. This is, to be fair, acknowledged by the play’s marketing, which calls it — correctly — ‘“Fawlty Towers” meets “Noises Off”’. But the trouble is that anyone who has seen, and loved, ‘Noises Off’, is likely to find the comparison unfavourable

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Les Misérables

Les Misérables

Well here’s an interesting question: is this production of ‘Les Misérables’ a continuation of the longest-running musical production of all time, following several months’ hiatus while its home the Queen’s Theatre underwent some much-needed maintainance work? Or it is effectively a new show?  It seems super-producer Cameron Mackintosh is pretty much trying to have his cake and eat it: to all intents and purposes this is a new production of the epic Victor Hugo adaptation, first directed by Laurence Connor as a touring incarnation of the show in 2009. It’s since been rolled out globally, with London the last place in the world that you could see Trevor Nunn’s original RSC production, which finally closed in July 2019, taking the iconic revolve with it. Connor’s version is informed by Nunn’s, but not Nunn’s; nobody seems entirely sure why Mackintosh felt the need to change it, not least Nunn, who has been vocally pissed off at the whole affair. But the artwork and the ’brand’ remain consistant, and it’s the same basic idea and musical arrangements; bemusing at the entire thing is, we won’t begrudge ‘Les Mis’ one more day – or indeed, another 35 years.

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Aladdin review

Aladdin review

They don’t really have pantomimes in the US, which may explain why the creatives behind this hit Broadway adaptation of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ made a pantomime, probably without realising. There’s no Widow Twankey or Wishee Washee, but Alan Menken’s musical gives you the same things as a decent British panto ‘Aladdin’: lavish set pieces (designer Bob Crowley has done some impressive things); campy, knowing, fourth wall-breaking humour; songs (obvs); a magic carpet sequence; a dull hero (Dean John-Wilson’s prominent man-cleavage is the most memorable bit of his performance); a ludicrously OTT villain (Don Gallagher’s Jafar laps up the boos at curtain call); and a scene-stealing dame (more later). It’s well done, but talk about selling coals to Newcastle: the humour hits the spot with Howard Ashman’s dry lyrics, but it lacks the inspired madness of, say, the Hackney Empire panto. Alongside the other big West End Disney musical, Julie Taymor’s ‘The Lion King’, it struggles to establish a distinct, theatrical identity. And my mind boggled at how the diverse, largely British cast has had bland American accents foisted upon them to play Middle Eastern characters. One decision producers won’t be regretting is importing star of the Broadway show Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie. The role could have been something of a poisoned, er, lamp, given Robin Williams’s iconic turn in the 1992 film. But glitter-doused Nicholas makes it his own with a kinetic mix of fabulousness and physicality. He

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

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
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Children's theatre in London

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

London theatre critics' choice
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London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

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

London musicals
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London musicals

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

Immersive theatre in London
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Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

London theatre breaks
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London theatre breaks

Hotel and theatre combos that make life a whole lot easier

What's on at

Old Vic

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
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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

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
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