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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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‘Lungs’ review

‘Lungs’ review

Claire Foy and Matt Smith star in Duncan Macmillan’s none-more-timely eco drama

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Top ten children's theatre shows this half-term
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Top ten children's theatre shows this half-term

Prise your kids away from their mobile phones this half-term with these ace theatre shows

19 best new theatre shows of 2019
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19 best new theatre shows of 2019

Here are the best theatre shows left to come this year

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

‘For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad’ review
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‘For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad’ review

This is the long-delayed second play by Zawe Ashton – better known as an actress, and currently reprising a superlative performance in ‘Betrayal’ on Broadway…

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
‘[Blank]’ review
Theatre

‘[Blank]’ review

Alice Birch’s latest work ‘[Blank]’ is less of a play, more of a finely-shaded compendium of emotional pain…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat’ review
Theatre

‘The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat’ review

It might seem hubristic to write a sequel to Edward Lear’s immortal 1871 nonsense poem…

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

‘Solaris’ review

Polish sci-fi legend Stanisław Lem always grumbled about how the film adaptations of his masterpiece ‘Solaris’ – that’s Tarkovsky in 1972 and Soderbergh in 2002 – ultimately failed to convey the sense that the eponymous sentient planet was story’s main character…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Lungs

Lungs

Duncan Macmillan’s brilliant linguistically experimental two-hander about a couple freaking out gets its first major revival, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith in rather different roles to those fans of ‘The Crown’ will be used to.

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5 out of 5 stars
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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

For its first ever family Christmas show, the Bridge Theatre bags the London transfer of director Sally Cookson’s devised adaptation of CS Lewis’s beloved kids’ fantasy novel, which ran to great acclaim at Leeds Playhouse…

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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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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Theatre tickets and offers

Up to 45% off ‘Botticelli in the Fire’ at Hampstead Theatre

Up to 45% off ‘Botticelli in the Fire’ at Hampstead Theatre

The UK premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s hot-blooded play

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32% off ‘A Pissedmas Carol’ at Leicester Square Theatre

32% off ‘A Pissedmas Carol’ at Leicester Square Theatre

The professional pissheads of ‘Sh!t-faced Showtime’ return with a festive musical

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40% off ‘The Permanent Way’ at The Vaults

40% off ‘The Permanent Way’ at The Vaults

A revival of David Hare’s play on the privatisation of railways

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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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‘A Christmas Carol’ review

‘A Christmas Carol’ review

‘A Christmas Carol’ returns for its third run at the Old Vic in Christmas 2019. This review is for its second run, in Christmas 2018. This time Paterson Joseph will star as Scrooge. I didn’t see Rhys Ifans in Matthew Warchus’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year and I’m glad. He’s always a bit self-consciously ‘Rhys Ifans’, and you absolutely definitely must not doubt the sincerity of this Scrooge if this big, open-hearted test of theatrical nerve is going to come off. If you reckon Dickens paints in broad emotional strokes, hold on to your (top) hat: Jack Thorne’s version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes ‘EastEnders’ look like Ibsen.Stephen Tompkinson’s Scrooge starts off physically and emotionally cumbersome. He’s a kind of lumbering Anti-Santa: an un-jolly old man who goes round depriving people of stuff. It’s an interesting take on the part: as the ghosts show him the errors of his grasping, wasted life, he’s all Northern bluster and defensiveness. Around him, there’s carol-singing, there’s clog-dancing, there’s handbell-ringing (and plenty of hand-wringing). It’s like the blinking Olympic Opening Ceremony or something. There are also several stunning pieces of visual theatre: Marley’s ghost dragging a huge, Lady Di-wedding dress train of clanking chains; Scrooge alone beside a coffin on a wheeled carriage containing his future corpse.It’s sort of impossible not to read it all as a Brexit parable: Scrooge is cut off from the whirl of life around him by greed and fe

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

This was semi-announced aeons ago, but it’s now confirmed: 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.  ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ also marks the start of a brand new Jamie Lloyd Company season, its first proper one since the Trafalgar Transformed days. Nothing else has been announced yet but the season will run at the Playhouse until August 2020, which would suggest two further productions. In a major initiative, 15,000 free tickets will be given away across the entire season to secondary state schools and community organisations who otherwise would not have access to the theatre. There will also be 15,000 tickets for £15 for key workers, under 30s, and those receiving job seeker’s allowance or other government benefits. These will be for specific performances, in the case of ‘Cyrano’: Dec 2 (evening), Dec 12 (matinee), Dec 16 (evening) and Jan 6 (matinee). They will go on sale Nov 4 via a special link on the ATG Tickets website. Other tickets go on general sale September 17 at 8.30am.

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The Mousetrap
Theatre

The Mousetrap

At the end of this elegant Agatha Christie thriller, the newly uncovered homicidal maniac steps into a sinister spotlight and warns everyone never to reveal his or her identity. The production recently celebrated its 60th birthday and although Wikipedia and Stephen Fry have both blown the murderer's cover, there is a remarkable conspiracy of silence over 'The Moustrap'. The real mystery of the world's longest-running theatre show is not whodunit but, in its currently mediocre state, whydoit at all? 'The Mousetrap's ticket prices are the only element of this show that isn't stuck fast in the 1950s – although the actors' strained RP does make the odd break for the twenty-first century. Otherwise, this is a walking, talking piece of theatre history and – at £39 for a full-price stalls seat – the most expensive museum exhibit in London. Christie's neat puzzler of a plot is easier to defend. It has defied the inevitably mummifying process of more than 25,000 performances and still possesses an uncanny precision worthy of the mistress of murder's chilling geriatric creation, Miss Marple. In the 60 years since it premiered, its premise, in which six Cluedo-like middle-class stereotypes are imprisoned by snow in a country house while they try to fathom which of them is a raving murderer, has become a cliché, just as the authorities' response to adverse weather conditions (skiing coppers? In Berkshire?) have become a nostalgic memory. It's fascinating to glimpse the ghost of Peter

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
‘The Son’ review

‘The Son’ review

'The Son' transfers to Duke of York's Theatre on the West End in August 2019. This review is from its February 2019 premiere at Kiln Theatre. It has been five months since the last Florian Zeller play opened in London: quite a gap for the hyperprolific Frenchman, who has notched up an impressive six UK premieres since 2015, all translated by Christopher Hampton. I’m going to be honest and say that, ‘The Father’ excepted, Zeller’s success has always slightly mystified me: he seems ubiquitous without being beloved. I suspect it’s something to do with actors and directors gravitating to the efficiency of his writing – you get the impression that he’d rather hack his arm off than write a subplot. Plus, like M Night Shyamalan, there’s always a twist. Director Michael Longhurst and designer Lizzie Clachan do a genuinely beautiful job with ‘The Son’ (part of a very loose conceptual trilogy with ‘The Father’ and ‘The Mother’). The set is a sort of elegant sitting room with white-panelled walls that get trashed, graffitied, tidied up and trashed again in line with the shifting emotional state of Nicolas, a depressed teen whose continued refusal to attend school is driving his divorced parents Pierre and Anne to their wits’ end. Zeller’s sparse writing never really spells out Nicolas’s problem, or attempts to make him overly sympathetic: we see him through his parents’ eyes as an enigmatic, sullen figure, given to almost equally inexplicable moments of brief happiness. One-to-wat

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
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Blithe Spirit
Theatre

Blithe Spirit

‘Ab Fab’ star Jennifer Saunders plays a ludicrous clairvoyant in this new production of Noël Coward's vintage comedy, which is coming to the West End after premiering at Theatre Royal Bath. ‘Blithe Spirits’ is a tale of the supernatural hijinks that ensue when a man accidentally summons up his dead ex-wife, and finds she's determined to put paid to his new marriage. Richard Eyre directs. 

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
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

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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