Former home to Kevin Spacey and the National Theatre, the Old Vic offers big, serious plays, big, serious stars and a few musicals and surprises.
One of London's most storied theatres, the Old Vic – which opened its doors in 1818 – was the first home of the National Theatre, under the stewardship of Laurence Olivier and the theatre's hugely influential manager Lilian Baylis. More recently it was run by Hollywood star Kevin Spacey. His 11-year-stint in charge turned around the previously ailing building's fortunes, although it also brought the theatre into the centre of the allegations of abuse surrounding Spacey. The current artistic director of the Old Vic is the heavyweight commercial director Matthew Warchus, who's presided over an impressive array of recent hits.
More eclectic and musical theatre-orientated in his programming than Spacey, Warchus nonetheless continues to make big name revivals of classic plays the bread and butter of his programming – more or less a given in the Old Vic's enormous space – alongside the odd enticing new commission.
The Old Vic's 1,000-seater auditorium has two horseshoe-shaped balconies. Good stalls tickets top out at West End prices, but the theatre is run with a subsidised 'ethos' and the cheap seats are very affordable, with good concessionary discounts usually available (these tend to vary from show to show depending on the expected audience).
The Old Vic is just down the road from its edgier kid sister the Young Vic, and its prime location on The Cut makes its cafe/bar Penny a popular drinking spot for theatrey types. Open all day and until 2am Thursday to Saturday, it has moved from the theatre's basement to an airier upstairs spot, and aims to offer plenty to tempt non-theatre goers in, not least some of the street's latest opening hours. Pop in for seasonal food, high-end bar snacks, and biodynamic wines.
|Venue name:||Old Vic|
103 The Cut
|Opening hours:||Bar open 6pm-midnight Mon and Tue; 1pm-midnight Wed; 6pm-2am Thu and Fri; 1pm-2am Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Waterloo; Rail: Waterloo|
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‘All My Sons’ review
There are a lot of very famous people in Jeremy Herrin’s revival of Arthur Miller’s early classic ‘All My Sons’. So many that the fact it marks the professional stage debut of Jenna Coleman (of ‘Doctor Who’ etcetera) doesn’t even feel like a particularly...Drama Until Saturday June 8 2019
Andrew Scott’s stage career consists of largely leftfield choices… and also massive Noël Coward revivals at the Old Vic. Almost a decade after featuring in the grand old theatre’s production of ‘Design for Living’, a now rather more famous Scott anchors...Comedy Monday June 17 2019 - Saturday August 10 2019
A Very Expensive Poison
Although Lucy Prebble has kept herself pretty busy over the last seven years – what with her HBO show ‘Succession’ and a neat sideline as a panel show host and TV talking head – there is little denying the fundamental fact that she hasn’t actually made...Drama Monday August 19 2019 - Saturday October 5 2019
‘A Christmas Carol’ review
I didn’t see Rhys Ifans in Matthew Warchus’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year and I’m glad. He’s always a bit self-consciously ‘Rhys Ifans’, and you absolutely definitely must not doubt the sincerity of this Scrooge if this big, open-hearted...Drama Saturday November 23 2019 - Saturday January 18 2020
No, not a stage version of the Avengers blockbuster, but the first major London revival in a fair while for Samuel Beckett’s existentialist classic about four characters trapped in a strange, cyclical world of endless beginnings and endings. Daniel Radcliffe...Experimental Monday January 27 2020 - Saturday March 28 2020
The Old Vic’s first musical in a little while is this hook up with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre for a stage adaptation of the classic 1983 Scottish comedy about a Texan oil executive who gets far more than he bargained for when he tries to buy up...Musicals Thursday June 18 2020 - Saturday August 22 2020
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
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I saw Ralph Fiennes in The Master Builder at the Old Vic earlier this year - brilliant play at a brilliant theatre. Great seats, sound and service.
The old vic has been running consistently good theatre for the last 10 years. I will miss Kevin Spacey as artistic director greatly, but am looking forward to seeing more of what Matthew Warchus has to offer - so far so good I say!
Wonderful theatre, which with Kevin Spacey at the helm has continued to bring consistently high quality plays. Almost impossible to get a bad seat, even day seats offer a fantastic view. Highly recommend catching a show here, whether you call London home for many years or just a few days.
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