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The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida Theatre 2021, Saoirse Ronan
Photo by Sebastian NevolsJames McArdle and Saoirse Ronan

The best new theatre shows opening in London October 2021

Our theatre critics pick the best new theatre shows and musicals that will wow London in October

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
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The best new theatre shows, plays and musicals coming to London this month, as recommended by our critics, plus a round-up of the best previously reviewed transfers moving to the West End or elsewhere.

To play further ahead, check out our top shows to see this year.

Also check out our latest theatre reviews

And if you need somewhere to stay, see the best hotels near the West End

RECOMMENDED: Find the best West End theatre shows.

London’s top ten new theatre shows

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Seven Dials

The first ‘proper’ play to be staged at the Donmar since March 2020 is Cordelia Lynn’s new drama about a relationship between a young Jewish physicist and a left-wing poet who struggle to forge a relationship even as society collapses around them. 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Swiss Cottage

Stockard Channing – yes, the Stockard Channing, the Tony-winning US actress best known for her role in ‘The West Wing’ and, of course, ‘Grease’ – will provide the starring attraction in Roxanna Silbert’s revival of Masha Norman’s ‘’night, Mother’. 

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Hammersmith

Back in 1996, Martin McDonagh made his name instantly with his debut play, this astoundingly scabrous black comedy about a lonely young woman and her monstrous mother, living together in isolation in the mountains of Connemara. Now it’s back for a major twenty-fifth anniversary revival.

  • Theatre
  • Experimental
  • Barbican

Faintly terrifying leftfield theatre troupe make their Barbican debut with ‘PRIME_TIME’, a show about Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and why he must be stopped. Don’t go expecting any sort of earnest polemic, but rather anger, wit and anarchy.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Wapping

Subversive semi-animated troupe 1927’s latest show finally makes it to London. The company’s back-to-basics night of twisted folktales – which follows their extravaganzas ‘The Animals and Children Took to the Streets’ and ‘Golem’ – takes place in the gloriously apt surrounds of Wilton’s Music Hall, whose faded grandeur is a perfect match for 1927’s retro aesthetic.  

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Notting Hill

Well this looks heavy, if necessary: ‘Grenfell: Value Engineering – Scenes from the Inquiry’ is a verbatim dramatisation of – as the title suggests – select passages from the Grenfell Inquiry. It will aim to succinctly explain how it is that 72 people died in the terrible fire on June 14 2017. 

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Tower Bridge

Nicholas Hytner’s Bridge Theatre bags the UK premier of the latest from the great Black US playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. ‘White Noise’ follows four liberal friends – two white, two Black – whose friendship is shaken by an incident of police brutality visited upon Leo, who proposes an extreme response.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Soho

After the terrific RSC versions of ‘Wolf Hall” and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, the third part of Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy makes it to the stage in remarkable time, expedited, no doubt, by the fact that this time it’s adapted by Mantel herself in a co-write with actor Ben Miles, who reprises his superb turn as the inscrutable Thomas Cromwell, chief advisor and fixer to Nathaniel Parker’s capricious Henry VIII.

  • Theatre
  • Shakespeare
  • Islington

In what is, at time of writing, the first big celebrity-led show in London post-third lockdown, four-times Oscar-nominated Irish-American film star Saoirse Ronan takes on the role of Lady Macbeth in the mighty Yaël Farber’s new production of The Scottish Play. Tickets are rare as hen’s teeth, but a final batch will go on sale shortly into the run.

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  • Theatre
  • Shakespeare
  • Waterloo

There hasn’t really been a big London ‘Hamlet’ since 2017 and Andrew Scott. But here we finally go, Cush Jumbo follows in the footsteps of her ‘The Good Fight’ co-star Michael Sheen to star as the Bard’s doomed Danish prince at the Young Vic. Greg Hersov directs a cast that includes the mighty Adrian Dunbar (of ‘Line of Duty’ fame) as Claudius/The Ghost and Tara Fitzgerald as Gertrude.

Encore

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