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18 London theatre shows not to miss in 2018

Our pick of the best upcoming theatre shows in London in 2018

Want to know what theatre tickets to buy in 2018? Shortcut it straight to the very best shows coming to London with our selection of musicals, immersive plays and off-West-End shows that you’d be mad to miss in 2018. 

RECOMMENDED: Find more plays and musicals 

London theatre shows 2018


Girls & Boys

The Royal Court winter season is notably low key and international… with the exception of this, as film star Carey Mulligan hooks up with enigmatic super-director Lyndsey Turner to tackle the latest from 'Matilda' and 'Utopia' man Dennis Kelly.

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Royal Court Theatre , Belgravia Until Saturday March 17 2018


This intriguingly audacious project from the experimental Chris Goode Company is a stage adaptation of Derek Jarman's surreal 1978 punk film, in which Elizabeth I journeys forward to the time of Elizabeth II's silver jubilee and hooks up with a rampaging gang of murderous girls. Toyah Willcox – who was in the film – stars as the monarch.

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Lyric Hammersmith , Hammersmith Until Saturday March 10 2018


Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff star as NT boss Rufus Norris pops his Olivier Shakespeare cherry to directs the Bard's taut and bloodily intense Scottish tragedy.

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National Theatre , South Bank Monday February 26 2018 - Saturday May 12 2018

Caroline, or Change

Following massive acclaim at Chichester in 2017, Sharon D Clarke reprises her show-stealing turn in Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's cult musical as the eponymous Caroline, a formiddable black maid living with the white Gelman family in 1963, at the peak of the civil rights era. 

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Hampstead Theatre , Swiss Cottage Monday March 12 2018 - Saturday April 21 2018


Neil Gaiman's cult 2002 fantasy novella about a girl who steps into a parallel world inhabited by disturbing parallel versions of her family becomes a family opera, crafted by the talented Mark-Anthony Turnage. 

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Thursday March 29 2018 - Saturday April 7 2018


Playwright James Graham scores his fourth West End hit with this dramatisation of the 'coughing major' trial, wherein former British Army officer Charles Ingham was put in the dock for cheating to win the TV quiz show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'. 

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Noël Coward Theatre , Covent Garden Saturday March 31 2018 - Saturday June 16 2018

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Tina Turner has gone from R&B singer to 'Mad Max' movie star to living legend, in an eclectic career that's spanned over half a century. Now, her life's being turned into a musical that's written by leading playwright Katori Hall ('The Mountaintop') and directed by Phyllida Lloyd ('Mamma Mia!'). 

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Aldwych Theatre , Temple Wednesday March 21 2018 - Saturday October 20 2018


'Chess', the 1984 collaboration between Tim Rice and ABBA's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, is one of the most iconic musicals of the ‘80s. It finally scores a major London return in the the fourth of ENO's annual series of semi-staged musical revivals. Casting is tba, though the series has thus far boasted eye-catching big name stars including Emma Thompson, Glenn Close and Alfie Boe.

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London Coliseum , Covent Garden Thursday April 26 2018 - Saturday June 2 2018

LIFT 2018

The brilliant, biennial London International Festival of Theatre will return for 2018. Only a handful of shows have been announced so far – including iconic New York performer Taylor Mac's 'A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act' – but expect startling, zeitgeist-heavy theatre from around the world.

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Thursday June 28 2018 - Saturday June 30 2018

Fun Home

The Young Vic maintains its occasional but impressive record of bringing over high class American musicals with the UK premiere of hugely acclaimed US musical 'Fun Home', an adaptation of Alison Bechdel's cult graphic novel about seeing parents through children's eyes.

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Young Vic , Southwark Monday June 18 2018 - Saturday September 1 2018

The King and I

Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The King and I' is a swoony love story set in 1860s Bangkok, where the King of Siam falls for his children's strait-laced Victorian governess. This Broadway revival comes to London with an impressive crop of reviews, and with its star cast intact: Japanese movie star Ken Watanabe plays the king, with the role of Anna played by much-loved, Tony Award-winning musical theatre performer Kelli O'Hara. 

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London Palladium , Soho Thursday June 21 2018 - Saturday September 8 2018

A Monster Calls

The Old Vic's big summer show comes from Sally Cookson, who devised the National Theatre's smash productions of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Peter Pan'. Even more ambitious in scope, 'A Monster Calls' is an adaptation of Patrick Ness's magical realist novel about a boy consumed with grief and anger at his mother's terminal cancer, who is visited at night by a huge monster who tells him unsettling stories.

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Old Vic , Southwark Saturday July 7 2018 - Saturday August 25 2018


Well this is undoubtedly a big deal: after sitting out Emma Rice's entire tenure (admittedly it wasn't very long), the Globe's talismanic former artistic director Mark Rylance returns to his old theatre to star as the villainous Iago in Shakespeare's great tragedy 'Othello', alongside US actor André Holland in the title role.

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Friday July 20 2018 - Saturday October 13 2018

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Martin McDonagh's 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' is set in 1993, against the backdrop of the Irish peace process. It follows hyper-violent republican paramilitary Mad Padraic, who sets off on a furious rampage when he realises that his beloved cat has come to a sad end.  Dishy 'Poldark' star Aidan Turner leads the cast.  

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Noël Coward Theatre , Covent Garden Saturday June 23 2018 - Saturday September 8 2018


Stephen Sondheim's witty, endlessly charming musical about a bachelor in New York is getting a revival by West End heavyweight Marianne Elliott. Except for the first time ever, its central character Bobby will be a woman. Rosalie Craig will play Bobbi, opposite legendary Broadway star Patti LuPone. 

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Gielgud Theatre , Soho Wednesday September 26 2018 - Saturday December 22 2018
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Find cheap and last minute tickets

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London

Terrified at the prices of theatre tickets in London? Worried that you can't get tickets to a sold out play or musical? Or just a fan of a good discount? The top prices in the West End can be daunting, but cheap theatre tickets abound in London… if you know how to get them. Here are Time Out’s tips on where to find them, as well as the best ways to score last minute tickets to sold out shows. 

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By: Andrzej Lukowski