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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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Introducing Anchuli Felicia King
Theatre

Introducing Anchuli Felicia King

The young playwright has made waves with her outrageous debut play, ‘White Pearl’

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

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

Latest theatre reviews
Theatre

Latest theatre reviews

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

19 best new theatre shows of 2019
Theatre

19 best new theatre shows of 2019

It's 2019 and here are the theatre shows you shoudl be seeing in 2019

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London
Theatre

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

‘salt.’ review
Theatre

‘salt.’ review

Selina Thompson’s ‘salt.’ was the highlight of my 2017 Edinburgh Fringe, and I pretty much stand by what I said about it the first time around…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘Yvette’ review
Theatre

‘Yvette’ review

There’s a cavernous emotional void at the centre of ‘Yvette’: it’s one that the 13-year-old protagonist of Urielle Klein-Mekongo’s solo show is trying to fill with the love and care she doesn’t get from the people around her…

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
‘Operation Mincemeat’ review
Theatre

‘Operation Mincemeat’ review

Fringe theatre favourites Kill the Beast have joined forces with ‘glam-punk composer’ Felix Hagan to form a new musical theatre company – SpitLip – and to stage a two-and-a-half-hour-long musical…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
‘White Pearl’ review

‘White Pearl’ review

Anchuli Felicia King interview: ‘I wanted to poke holes in the idea of "Asianness"’ In ‘White Pearl’, the pan-Asian, Singapore-based cosmetics start-up Clearday™ is in the midst of a PR crisis…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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More theatre reviews

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.
Theatre

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard.

Britain’s greatest living playwright Caryl Churchill is back at her usual haunt the Royal Court with three 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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Up to 48% off ‘White Pearl’

Up to 48% off ‘White Pearl’

A new satire by hotly-tipped writer Anchuli Felicia King, at Royal Court Theatre

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£20 tickets to ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

£20 tickets to ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

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

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Up to 36% off ‘Witness for the Prosecution’

Up to 36% off ‘Witness for the Prosecution’

Agatha Christie's captivating novel performance in a real courtroom, at London County Hall

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Opening week tickets for ‘The War of the Worlds’

Opening week tickets for ‘The War of the Worlds’

Be the first to experience this immerseive experience based on Jeff Wayne's soundtrack 

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More great theatre tickets

Les Miserables review

Les Miserables review

In July 2019, ‘Les Mis’ will close at the Queen’s Theatre in its current incarnation and the theatre will be shut for a four-month refurb.  From August 10 to November 30, ‘Les Mis’ will run at the Gielgud Theatre as ‘Les Miserables – The All Star Staged Concert’, a concert version starring Michael Ball (Javert), Alfie Boe (Jean Valjean), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Fantine) and Matt Lucas (Thénardier). From December 2019, ‘Les Mis’ will reopen at the Queen’s Theatre, but in a different version too the one that was running at the Queen’s Theatre before. Got it? Great!  If the second longest running show in the West End was looking a little tired, a rejuvenating orchestral facelift was just what the doctor ordered. Cameron Mackintosh's 'little girl' has shaken off that 1980s synth vibe and finally woken up to the organic noughties. This is a new, richer sound with strong operatic undertones and even the faint echoes of chamber music. Led by compelling ex-'Phantom…' Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, this dynamic cast blows a whirlwind through the Queen's Theatre, hurtling along Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's famous melodrama. Aided by a swirling revolve and John Napier's stunning constructivist set, we follow Jean Valjean's journey across France as he attempts to escape his criminal past and make amends. Hadley Fraser as Javert, Valjean's fated pursuer, matches Karimloo's booming vocals and moody stares step for step (at one point rather sweetly causing a premature o

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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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. Following hot on the heels of ‘Waitress’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Come from Away’, here’s tearjerking Tony-winner ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with a book by Steven Levenson, the musical concerns the eponymous troubled teen, who writes himself a series of letters to help him cope with a profoundly difficult time in his life, following the tragic death of a school friend.

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‘Man of La Mancha’ review

‘Man of La Mancha’ review

Kelsey Grammer decks himself out in a suit of armour and a pair of water-vole-sized false eyebrows for this valiant but ramshackle attempt to resurrect a half-forgotten 1965 Broadway musical. He stars in ‘Man of La Mancha’ as both legendary Spanish author Cervantes and his most famous creation, Don Quixote, the bumbling wannabe knight who lives in his own chivalric fantasy land. Alas and alack, Grammer doesn’t quite skewer the comedy. He moves stiffly (perhaps afraid that one of those eyebrows will scurry off) through this show’s panoply of comic misunderstandings and makes broadly accurate but oddly blank-faced work of the musical’s only enduring hit song ‘The Impossible Dream’, which is a highlight in Mitch Leigh’s atmospheric but not always memorable score of Spanish pastiches. It’s a song that sums up the show’s more serious theme, the idea of longing for goodness and nobility in a corrupt world. Book writer Dale Wasserman heightens these ideas by giving Cervantes’s story a kind of Brechtian framing device, where the author is trapped in a purgatorial jail awaiting trial by the Spanish Inquisition. Director Lonny Price has half-heartedly updated these scenes to the present day, with the huddled masses of fellow prisoners vaguely suggestive of refugees. But James Noone’s old-school set design doesn’t make a convincing arena for contemporary parallels: it’s all naffly crumbling plaster with a flight of metal steps that set the whole confection a-wobble every time they’re l

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!

Judy Craymer's bold idea of turning the insanely catchy songs of ABBA into a musical has paid off splendidly, in every sense – box office figures for 'Mamma Mia!' are as eye-watering as its outfits. This is largely because Catherine Johnson had the sense to weave the 1970s into her script, and director Phyllida Lloyd to cast accordingly. Heroine Donna Sheridan lived the free love dream (if only because her boyfriend ran out on her), wound up pregnant and survived to see her daughter, Sophie, reject all her principles in favour of a white wedding and the kind of certainty that comes from knowing which of your mother's three consecutive lovers ought to be walking you down the aisle. If you wanted to, you could see this as a conversation about feminism. But you'll look pretty silly debating patriarchal oppression while on your feet clapping to 'Dancing Queen'. Some of the songs are oddly static, but when the choreography does get going – for instance, when Donna's friend Tanya stylishly quashes a libidinous local puppy in 'Does Your Mother Know?' – it's terrific, and makes great use of props: I wonder if the producers can assure us that no electric drills or hairdryers were harmed in the making of this musical? The current cast appear to have been chosen more for their singing voices than their serious acting ability. But who needs dramatic conviction when you have purest pop to do the convincing for you? Given the songs, a story just about solid enough to stay upright on its

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The Lion King

The Lion King

The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for years – long enough for this show to become the most successful musical of all time – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. Gazelles spring, birds swoop and an elephant and her child lumber through the stalls. It's a cacophonous cavalcade that genuinely stops you breathing. You'd think Noah's Ark had emptied onto the stage. For a global blockbuster, 'The Lion King's absolute theatricality is astonishing. Techniques from all over the world – African masks, Japanese Kabuki costumes, Malaysian shadow puppetry – are smashed together in an explosion of spectacle. It's perfect for a musical, allowing both distinct flavours and an eclectic carnival spirit. Admittedly, things deflate when it sacrifices this defiant originality for subservient approximation of the film. Timon and Pumba (Damian Baldet and Keith Bookman), though impressively like their screen counterparts, step into the savannah from a different dimension. The hyena-infested elephant's graveyard swaps menace for goofiness and the famous stampede scene, so delicately handled and moving in the film, is merely ticked off with a sigh of relief. The familiarity of the film is a root cause of the show's commercial success. But, ironically, 'The Lion King' can't afford such compromis

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

London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

Discover more theatre in London

Shakespeare plays in London
Theatre

Shakespeare plays in London

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

Immersive theatre in London
Theatre

Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

Theatre interviews
Theatre

Theatre interviews

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

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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