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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Alice Birch: ‘It’s like choose your very own bleak adventure, basically’
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Alice Birch: ‘It’s like choose your very own bleak adventure, basically’

The 'Lady Macbeth' screenwriter on her new experimental play, 'Anatomy of a Suicide'

Latest theatre reviews
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Latest theatre reviews

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

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.

Shakespeare plays in London
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Shakespeare plays in London

Everything you need to know about Shakespeare in London

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

Apologia

Apologia

See Stockard Channing in Jamie Lloyds new production - from £45

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42nd Street

42nd Street

£25 for a ticket to this dazzling show and a free two-course meal at Boulevard Brasserie

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 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
Users say
  • 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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Latest theatre reviews

Twelfth Night
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Twelfth Night

Here it is, then. Barely a year after she directed her first Shakespeare play for the Globe, this 'Twelfth Night' marks current theatre boss Emma Rice's last Shakespeare in the main theatre, and probably - pending on her final, indoor season - her last one at the Globe generally (and perhaps ever)…

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
An Octoroon
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An Octoroon

How do you deal with slavery as a black American playwright? Take someone else’s play, and play with it. Problematise it. Take the piss out of it…

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Horror

Horror

Jakop Ahlbom’s blend of dance, mime, acrobatics and illusion defies easy classification…

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

Woyzeck

It's been eight years since John Boyega last acted on a stage – Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre in 2009 – but it might as well be a lifetime…

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

Annie

Annie

Considering all the hype around the visionary 'Hamilton', it's weird how most new musical productions in 2017 are a look back…

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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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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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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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Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks teamed up to create 1974 comedy horror film 'Young Frankenstein', a spoof of Mary Shelley's monstrous classic…

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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
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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
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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