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The best new theatre shows opening in London March 2020

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

Emilia Clarke, The Seagull, 2019
Photograph: Charlie Gray

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

'Hamlet' at National Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy of National Theatre
Theatre, Shakespeare


National Theatre, South Bank

Director and playwright Jude Christian has turned her hand to everything from experimental theatre starring live piglets to Lyric Hammersmith's annual panto. 'Hamlet' – which she adapts and  Tinuke Craig directs – will doubtless see her at the lighter end of the spectrum; it's a Shakespeare adaptation aimed at primary aged kids, with plenty of spooky adventures. 

'The Dumb Waiter' at Hampstead Theatre
Photo: Martin Rosenbaum
Theatre, Drama

The Dumb Waiter

Hampstead Theatre, Swiss Cottage

One of Hampstead Theatre's heftier claims to fame is that it hosted the premiere of Harold Pinter's 'The Dumb Waiter', back in 1960. So a revival is an obvious choice to open the venue's 'Classics' season. Alice Hamilton will direct this unsettling story of two hitmen, hiding out in the basement of a derelict building as an electric dumbwaiter serves up periodic surprises. Philip Jackson and Harry Lloyd will play the two wannabe assassins.

On Blueberry Hill, 2020
Photograph: Patrick-Redmond
Theatre, Drama

On Blueberry Hill

Trafalgar Studios, Whitehall

Irish novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry's 'On Blueberry Hill' is a story of friendship set in a Dublin prison, produced by longstanding new writing company Fishamble. It comes to London after hit runs in Dublin and New York. 

Shoe Lady - Royal Court - Jan 2020
Photograph: Niall McDiarmid
Theatre, Drama

Shoe Lady

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square

Following her sly dystopia ‘The Sewing Group’, EV Crowe returns to the Royal Court with ‘Shoe Lady’, which would appear to be about a woman whose life starts to unravel somewhat after she loses a shoe. Katherine Parkinson stars.

Indecent, Menier Chocolate Factory, 2020
Photograph: Johan Persson
Theatre, Drama


Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark

A more intimate UK remounting of this fascinating drama from US playwright Paula Vogel about the ill-fated first Broadway run of the play ‘God of Vengeance’ by Polish-Jewish playwright Sholem Asch, which resulted in the entire cast being convicted on charges of obscenity. 

The Seven Streams of the River Oto, 2020, Robert Lepage
Theatre, Experimental

The Seven Streams of the River Ota

National Theatre, South Bank

To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Robert Lepage has brought back this seven-hour-long epic, last seen at the National Theatre in 1996. The weighty drama follows a group of Hiroshima survivors and their descendents, and sims to show how the bomb changed the course of history.

Helen Maybanks
Theatre, Drama

Love, Love, Love

Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith

OK Boomer: here’s a sure sign that we’re all getting old, Rachel O’Riordan's maiden season at the Lyric Hammersmith includes the first major revival of Mike Bartlett’s ‘Love, Love, Love’. It will be interesting to see how Bartlett’s caustic skewering about the selfishness of the ’60s generation lands in a post-Brexit world. O’Riordan herself directs.

Theatre, Off-West End

City of Angels

Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road

You might technically call this a West End transfer for Josie Rourke’s Donmar Warehouse production of Cy Coleman’s pastiche film noir musical, although it has taken almost six years. Most of the original cast are reunited – including Rosalie Craig, Hadley Fraser and Rebecca Trehearn – alongside a few high profile newcomers, notably Vanessa Williams and Nicola Roberts.

Emilia Clarke, The Seagull, 2019
Photograph: Charlie Gray
Theatre, Drama

The Seagull

Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross

A busy 2020 for the Jamie Lloyd Company kicks off with the West End debut of Emilia Clarke, who’ll be trading in dragon riding and romantic encounters with ghosts for the role of vain young actress Nina in Chekhov’s first great play ‘The Seagull’, starring opposite Daniel monks as Konstantin.  

Photograph: FotografiaBasica
Theatre, Drama

The Effect

Boulevard Theatre, Soho

The first-ever London revival of Lucy Prebble’s genius third play ‘The Effect’ – which questions whether love is just a chemical reaction and if that actually matters – couldn’t look more tempting, with arch surrealist Anthony Neilson directing, and the brilliant Kate O’Flynn taking on the role of Connie, the subject on a medical trial who finds unexpected romance there (or does she?).

Recommended transfers

Theatre, Experimental

It's True, It's True, It's True

Barbican Centre, Barbican
4 out of 5 stars

Breach Theatre’s powerful show about the 1612 trial of Italian painter Agostino Tassi, in a case brought against him by Artemisia Gentileschi, a female painter who he had raped, is an Edinburgh Fringe success that’s gone far indeed, transferring to the Barbican and with a TV screening on the cards.

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