Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right The best new theatre shows opening in London May 2019

The best new theatre shows opening in London May 2019

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

Shakespeare's Globe, Henriad 2019
© Helen Murray

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.

For more festive shows this month, check out our round-up of best Christmas shows.

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

War of the Worlds Immersive Experience 2019
Theatre, Interactive

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of ‘The War of the Worlds’: The Immersive Experience

icon-location-pin Old Metal Exchange, Aldgate

Here’s the latest attempt to extract some live mileage out of Wayne’s hugely successful 1978 prog rock concept album adaptation of HG Wells‘s sci-fi novel. This time, the all-singing alien invasion story will be reimagined as an immersive theatre show, brought to you by dotdotdot who debuted last year with immersive extravaganza ‘Somnai’.

The Camden Roar, Human Jam, 2019
© Donkey Studio
Theatre, Fringe

The Camden Roar

icon-location-pin Camden People's Theatre, Euston

Happy twenty-fifth birthday to Camden People’s Theatre! It celebrates the milestone with a three-week festival exploring the lives of Camden locals, past and present. Headline show ‘Human Jam’ concerns the 63,000 human bodies exhumed and moved in order to make way for HS2.

User Not Found, Dante or Die
© Justin Jones
Theatre, Interactive

User Not Found

icon-location-pin The Coffee Works Project Battersea, Nine Elms

Dante or Die’s gorgeous site-specific show about grief and digital afterlives was our favouite show of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and finally gets a London run. It concern Terry, a man thrown into a spin when his former partner unexpectedly dies and he is entrusted with his digital legacy.

Time Out says
King Hedley, Lenny Henry, 2019
Theatre, Drama

King Hedley II

icon-location-pin Theatre Royal Stratford East, Stratford

Lenny Henry lends his star power to the concluding show in Nadia Fall’s first season at TRSE: he plays smooth-talking American hustler Elmore, who dreams of escape from crumbling ‘80s Pittsburgh in August Wilson’s 1999 drama. 

Our Town, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 2019
© Feast Creative
Theatre, Outdoor theatres

Our Town

icon-location-pin Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park

Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-winning 1938 classic ‘Our Town’ makes a bracing curtain opener for the new Open Air Theatre season, as Gate Theatre boss Ellen McDougall tackles the influential meta-drama, which is set in the actual theatre it’s performed in, and follows 12 years of life, love and death in the fictional New Hampshire town of Grover's Corners.

<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Hayley Atwell</span></p>
Theatre, Drama


icon-location-pin Duke of York’s Theatre, Covent Garden

Ibsen's 'Rosmersholm' isn't one of his best known plays but this new adaptation from Duncan Macmillan looks like it'll make a good case for getting to know it better. Hayley Atwell stars as forward-looking free spirit Rebecca West, alongside Tom Burke as the tortured John Rosmer and Giles Terera as Andreas Kroll.

Shakespeare's Globe, Henriad 2019
© Helen Murray
Theatre, Shakespeare

Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

Michelle Terry kicks off her second outdoor season at the Globe with the returns of her acting ensemble for an even more ambitious programme than last year. ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’ and ‘Henry V’ will be performed by the same company, in rep, for the entire season. As ever it's a diverse company, with women in the lead roles: Terry plays Hotspur, Helen Schlesinger Falstaff, and Sarah Amankwah Hal/Henry V.

<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford</span></p>
Theatre, Drama

Small Island

icon-location-pin National Theatre, South Bank

A 40-strong cast are bringing Andrea Levy's prize-winning novel 'Small Island' to the National Theatre's stage this spring in an epic Olivier production directed by NT boss Rufus Norris and adapted by Helen Edmundson.

Also opening at the National Theatre 
Ella Hickson – author of out play of 2018 ‘The Writer’ – makes her NT debut with audio-enhanced thriller ‘ANNA’. And Roger Allam stars in a revival of Githa Sowerby's classic 1912 drama ‘Rutherford and Son’.

White Pearl, Royal Court
© Niall McDiarmid
Theatre, Drama

White Pearl

icon-location-pin Royal Court Theatre, Belgravia

Australian-Thai playwright Anchuli Felicia King is a completely unknown quantity in the UK, but it’s hard not get excited when the Royal Court swings behind an up-and-coming so wholeheartedly. Her international debut, ‘White Pearl’, is a big, boisterous comedy set in a Singaporian skin whitening start-up.

Also opening at the Royal Court
Selina Thompson’s phenomonal Edinburgh Fringe smash ‘salt.’ – about her journey to trace the old ‘slave triangle’ – finally gets a full London run.

Death of a Salesman, Young Vic 2019
© Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Theatre, Drama

Death of a Salesman

icon-location-pin Young Vic, Southwark

Yes, we have had about 5,000 Arthur Miller revivals in London this year but that doesn’t stop this looking pretty amazing. The great Marianne Elliott co-directs Miller’s masterpiece ‘Death of a Salesman’, with a superb cast headed by Wendell Pierce, SHaron D Clarke and Arinzé Kene.

Recommended transfers

Theatre, Drama

The Lehman Trilogy

icon-location-pin Piccadilly Theatre, Soho

After taking Braodway by storm, the NT's epic drama about capitalism and the American Dream ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ returns for a West End run.

Time Out says

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