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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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Three new ways you can see ‘Fleabag’ in the West End – even though it’s sold out
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Three new ways you can see ‘Fleabag’ in the West End – even though it’s sold out

Unsurprisingly, the triumphant West End homecoming run for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s ‘Fleabag’ – the one-woman show that begat the TV series – sold out pretty much instantly. Maybe you didn’t get tickets. Maybe you almost got tickets but the cheap ones had gone and you couldn’t quite bring yourself to pay north of £100 for a one-hour-show. Who knows.  Well, good news: as this is the last time Waller-Bridge will ever perform ‘Fleabag’, she’s really keen for you to see it. As such, a trio of new initiatives to do so have been announced today. First up, there will be a weekly web lottery via the TodayTix app that will give away 50 £15 tickets to each of the 30 performances. The first lottery will open on Monday August 12 and will close two days later, allocating tickets for the following week’s performances, and so on. The tickets on offer will be a mixed selection, including the front row. Second, it has been confirmed that there will be some good old-fashioned day seats. Costing £10 each, they will be available in person only from 10am on the morning of the performance. You’re advised to get down much earlier than 10am if you’re serious about it, though. Finally: don’t fret too much if you can’t make it to the Wyndham’s. It will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world at 7.30pm on September 12 as part of NT Live, which is not only less stressful than a lottery, but there’s a reasonable chance that it might include a bit of PWB bonus content beforehand. So calm down, cr

What’s the deal with… the Globe’s midnight matinées?
Theatre

What’s the deal with… the Globe’s midnight matinées?

Lonon theatre’s booziest, Bardiest, latest night out is back 

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 Unholy Marriage of Slice and Sweetly’ review
Theatre

‘The Unholy Marriage of Slice and Sweetly’ review

London immersive company ImmerCity returns with its fifth production, ‘The Unholy Marriage of Slice and Sweetly’, which follows previous events at Kensington Central Library, the London Museum of Water and Steam and Vine House…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘The Gruffalo’ review

‘The Gruffalo’ review

Tall Stories’ stage version of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s classic kids’ picturebook ‘The Gruffalo’ is now something of a classic itself…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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‘Games for Lovers’ review
Theatre

‘Games for Lovers’ review

Jenny likes Logan. Logan likes Martha. Darren also likes Martha. Martha likes a surgeon at the hospital she works at that she calls Doctor Boner. And, er… that’s about it…

Time Out says
1 out of 5 stars
‘The Night of the Iguana’ review

‘The Night of the Iguana’ review

Tennessee Williams’s wild, cracked, frequently hilarious 1961 drama ‘The Night of the Iguana’ really doesn’t get staged all that often, at least not compared to the big ones…

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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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.
Theatre

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

Exclusive London Theatre Offers

Exclusive London Theatre Offers

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

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32% off ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

32% off ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

The much-anticipated Wes6t End transfer of this joyful musical, at Playhouse Theatre

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30% off Jean Paul Gaultier: ‘Fashion Freak Show’

30% off Jean Paul Gaultier: ‘Fashion Freak Show’

Don't miss this riotous new theatre show, at Southbank Centre

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50% off ‘Games For Lovers’

50% off ‘Games For Lovers’

Tickets to this thrilling new millenial love drama at The Vaults

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Up to 49% off ‘Nigel Slater’s Toast’

Up to 49% off ‘Nigel Slater’s Toast’

Nab tickets to this mouth-watering production at The Other Palace

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More great theatre tickets

Hairspray

Hairspray

Since 2015, English National Opera has dabbled increasingly with the world of musical theatre, usually staging its own short, starry revivals of neglected musical hits at the end of its spring seasons, while throwing open its doors to guest musicals over the summers. This would appear to be going out of the window for 2020, when the Coliseum will simply host one long (12-week) revival of big-hearted, acceptance-preaching, ’60s-homaging musical ‘Hairspray’. It’s being billed as a new production, though fans of the original – which closed in 2010 – are unlikely to be disappointed, as it reunites director Jack O’Brie, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and star Michael Ball, who will reprise his Olivier-winning turn as Edna Turnblad, mother to the show's irrepressible teenage heroine Tracey.

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‘9 to 5 the Musical’ review

‘9 to 5 the Musical’ review

Backwoods Barbie, rhinestone queen and all-round country music legend Dolly Parton has her glittering fingerprints all over this musical. She’s written all the songs, bar the iconic title track, especially for the show (this definitely isn’t a jukebox affair). She’s basically in it, as thinly disguised poodle-coiffed doppelgänger Doralee. And in case this escaped you, Parton pops up in video footage to introduce this whole bonkers confection to an audience of mad-keen fans. ‘9 to 5’ is a musical theatre version of the 1980 movie of the same name, which involves Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda running round an office and outwitting their dastardly male boss. And although this show started out in LA in 2005, it feels (shudder) pretty post-Weinstein, with its uncompromising focus on male shitness and violent retribution. Doralee (Natalie McQueen) can’t so much as climb a stepladder without her sleazy boss theatrically ogling her – and climbing any kind of career ladder is out of the question. Meanwhile Judy (Amber Davies, of ‘Love Island’ fame) is struggling to get to grips with some delightfully ’80s office tech, including a malevolent photocopier that attacks her with sheets of paper. And Violet – played by Caroline Sheen, subbing in for an injured Louise Redknapp who returns to the role next month – is a natural leader who’s longing for the promotion she deserves. The plot, when it shows up, is about as ridiculous as these women’s ultra-glam interpretation of ‘office wea

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ review

‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ review

‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is a burst of joy in the heart of the West End. This new British musical, transferring from the Sheffield Crucible, is the real deal. Watch out, tired revivals: there’s a new kid in town. Inspired by a 2011 BBC documentary about a teenager who wanted to be a drag queen, the show follows 16-year-old Jamie on his journey to be himself – out of a classroom in a working-class part of Sheffield, away from the bigotry of a deadbeat dad, and into high heels. Director Jonathan Butterell’s production is a high-impact blaze of colour, combining video projections with seamless scene changes and a live band above the stage. It captures the frenetic energy of being a teenager. Every element of this show works beautifully together. The music, by The Feeling frontman Dan Gillespie Sells, is a deft mix of irresistibly catchy, pop-honed foot-tappers – try not to hum ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’, I dare you – and truthful, heart-wrenching numbers. This is Sells’s first foray into writing for musicals, but he’s always excelled at telling stories in song. He is matched by the show’s writer and lyricist Tom MacRae. Apart from notable exceptions like Punchdrunk’s ‘Doctor Who’-themed kids’ show ‘The Crash of Elysium’, he’s largely written for TV, but this works well here. His dialogue is punchy, funny and often lands with a sting. While most of the characters exist to orbit Jamie, they still have their own stories and these are crisply told. As Pritti, Jamie’

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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‘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.

‘Sweat’ review
Theatre

‘Sweat’ review

‘Sweat’ transfers to the Gielgud Theatre for a short run in June 2019. This review is of its run at the Donmar Warehouse in 2018/19. The core cast is the same. What happens when three generations of certainty and security crumble overnight? Lynn Nottage’s monumental play about class, race and the dignity of labour tells us – and the answers should shame and scare us all. ‘Sweat’ was born out of two years that US playwright Nottage spent visiting the hollowed out post-industrial American city of Reading, PA. But her warm, intimate, polemic-free account of a small group of friends whose fortunes drastically decline between 2000 and 2008 has clear and present parallels with our own country – Stephen Bush’s smart programme essay nails it to London’s diverse working class, and it doesn’t take a degree in anthropology to understand that what goes for America’s declining centres of industry, goes for ours. I was a little apprehensive that Nottage’s extensive research would lead to information overload. But not a bit of it: there are only nine characters, some of them peripheral, but they’re exceptionally well written. Empathy radiates from every word; Nottage’s own sweat has paid off in what is emphatically one of the great American plays. It unfolds in non-chronological order. It begins in 2008, with Patrick Gibson’s Jason – his face bedaubed with white-power prison tattoos – grunting monosyllabically at Sule Rimi’s take-no-shit councillor Evan. We don’t know what’s going on, b

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

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
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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
Theatre

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
Theatre

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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