Musicals and theatre in London

Your one stop guide to plays and musicals in the West End and the best of London shows. Theatre reviews, tickets and offers

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Blooming 'eck: Orlando Bloom on his new stage role as the murderous ‘Killer Joe’
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Blooming 'eck: Orlando Bloom on his new stage role as the murderous ‘Killer Joe’

A slight grumpy Orlando Bloom comes good in the end

18 London theatre shows not to miss in 2018
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18 London theatre shows not to miss in 2018

The best shows of 2018, now updated 

Latest theatre reviews
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Latest theatre reviews

Find out what our theatre team made of London's new openings

Open-air theatre in London
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Open-air theatre in London

The sun many or may not be out this summer, but London's iconic outdoor stages will be open come rain or shine once the season begins

Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London
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Cheap and last minute theatre tickets in London

London's best theatre discounts and how to get in to sold out shows

Latest theatre reviews

‘3Women’ review

‘3Women’ review

The fruity number/letter combo in the title might just be the most original thing about Katy Brand’s debut play, a trite comedy set on the eve of a wedding…

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
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‘Hamlet’ review
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‘Hamlet’ review

William Shakespeare’s existential revenge thriller ‘Hamlet’ has to be the most overthought play in human history…

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
1 out of 5 stars
‘As You Like It’ review
Theatre

‘As You Like It’ review

Anybody expecting the Globe to become a chintzy Shakespeare museum in the wake of the untimely end of Emma Rice’s boisterous regime, doesn’t know the Globe…

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
1 out of 5 stars
‘Red’ review

‘Red’ review

Finally bagging itself a West End transfer a hefty nine years after its hit run at the Donmar Warehouse, Michael Grandage’s production of John Logan’s ‘Red’ has lost none of its power over the decade…

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Imperium

Imperium

A few years on from the RSC’s terrific ‘Wolf Hall’, here comes another meaty two-part literary adptation from the venerable company…

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Allelujah!
Theatre

Allelujah!

When Nicholas Hytner spoke to Time Out last year, he confirmed that he'd expect any new Alan Bennett play to go to his new Bridge Theatre, rather than the National, and thus it has proved…

King Lear

King Lear

Ian McKellen began his West End career at Duke of York's Theatre in 1964. Now he's back at the same venue, and tackling one of Shakespeare's most challenging roles…

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The Lieutenant of Inishmore

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.  Aidan Turner leads the cast as Padraic.  

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The King and I

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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Theatre tickets and offers

Exclusive London theatre offers

Exclusive London theatre offers

Discounts, exclusive access and special offers to some of London's top theatre shows

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Wicked

Wicked

Upgrade your seat to this spellbinding show - tickets from just £19.50 with no booking fee

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots

Life's a drag so glitz it up with tickets to this sparkly show from just £19.50

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Matilda the Musical

Matilda the Musical

It's good to be a little bit naughty - get your tickets for just £32

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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42nd Street

42nd Street

£25 for a ticket to this dazzling show and a free two-course meal at Boulevard Brasserie

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The best theatre in London

London musicals
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London musicals

All the latest musicals, from the fringe to the West End.

West End theatre shows
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West End theatre shows

London's West End is teeming with plays and musicals, so how do you decide what to see? By using our handy guide

Children's theatre in London
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Children's theatre in London

Recommendations for the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups

London theatre critics' choice
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London theatre critics' choice

These are the shows that got our critics talking

Discover more theatre in London

Shakespeare plays in London
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Shakespeare plays in London

Here's where to watch the best of the Bard in London

Immersive theatre in London
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Immersive theatre in London

London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions 

Theatre interviews
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Theatre interviews

Peek behind-the-scenes with London's theatrical talents

London theatre breaks
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London theatre breaks

Hotel and theatre combos that make life a whole lot easier

What's on at

Old Vic
Theatre

Old Vic

The combination of double-Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and top producer David Liddiment at this 200-year-old Waterloo theatre continues to be a commercial success – though Spacey's controversial artistic leadership has frequently come under critical fire. Still, the Old Vic's a great place to catch high-profile actors – Ian McKellen, Robert Lindsay and Neve Campbell have all trod its boards. David Mamet's 'Speed-the-Plow' thrilled audiences in 2008 and was followed by a winning revival of Alan Ayckbourn's 'The Norman Conquests' – a show that saw the venue spectacularly remodeled into a theatre-in-the-round. Summer 2009 heralded the first of Sam Mendes's The Bridge Projects, an Anglo-American collaboration between Mendes, the Old Vic and Joseph V Melillo's Brooklyn Academy of Music, that enticed Ethan Hawke to the British stage for its Shakespeare/Chekhov double bill.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
National Theatre

National Theatre

The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National, whose three auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe – offer a rolling repertory programme, often with a choice of several productions in a week. The National Theatre may have once had a fiercely inaccessible reputation, but the arrival of maverick artistic director Nicholas Hytner in 2003 rocked theatreland as he set about changing the venue's staid ethos with daring productions such as 'Jerry Springer the Opera' and an ambitious adaptation of Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. The change of tack proved a success, attracting audiences of mixed race, age and class – and Hytner's budget £10 Travelex-sponsored tickets still help pull in the crowds in the summer season. The home stable for Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse', which opened here in 2007 and went on to break West End records, the National is now developing a reputation for family-friendly blockbusters, cue its current production of Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. Meanwhile the National Theatre Live initiative has extended the theatre's reach by broadcasting high-publicity productions such as Danny Boyle's role-swapping smash-hit 'Frankenstein' and the comedy 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which introduced James Corden to the stage, live to Picturehouse Cinemas. A recent run of the post-modern musical 'London Road' proved it hasn't lost its edge. You

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Young Vic
Theatre

Young Vic

The Young Vic finally returned to its refurbished home in The Cut in 2007 with acclaimed community show ‘Tobias & the Angel’. As you would expect, it’s got more verve and youthful nerve than the grown-up Old Vic down the road and attracts a slightly younger more multicultural – yet still discerning – crowd. Director David Lan’s eclectic programming of rediscovered European classics has proved popular with the critics, while a stage adaptation of DBC Pierre’s ‘Vernon God Little’ was standing ovation material. Three venue spaces – the main house and studio spaces Maria and Clare – allow for flexible scheduling and more intimate works such as Tarell Alvin McCraney’s moving ‘The Brothers Size’. The Young Vic also provides its Waterloo home with a popular split-level bar and restaurant complete with an open-air balcony terrace.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Royal Court Theatre
Theatre

Royal Court Theatre

A hard-hitting theatre in well-heeled Sloane Square, the Royal Court has always placed emphasis on new British talent – from John Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’ in 1956, to the discovery of numerous playwrights over the past decade: Sarah Kane, Joe Penhall and Conor McPherson among them. Artistic director Dominic Cooke has always injected plenty of politics into the programmes and successfully decreased the age of his audiences too. This is where you’ll find rude, lyrical new work set on the London streets by first-time playwrights like Bola Agbaje and the more established but no less cool Mark Ravenhill. Split between two floors – with the mid-capacity Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the studio-style Jerwood Theatre Upstairs – the Royal Court also houses an excellent bookshop geared towards theatregoers and a café bar with a weighty menu serving up more than your average bag of peanuts.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe

The original Globe Theatre, where many of William Shakespeare's plays were first staged and which he co-owned, burned to the ground in 1613 during a performance of 'Henry VIII'. Nearly 400 years later, it was rebuilt not far from its original site, using construction methods and materials as close to the originals as possible. Shakespeare’s Globe has been an unbridled success, underpinned in part by its educational programme (you can drop in for talks and readings) and its commitment to faithfully recreating an original ‘Shakespeare in performance’ experience from April to October. The open-air, free-standing Yard is the best bet for those after complete authenticity – the absence of seating may test your stamina but tickets are excellent value – while the Middle and Upper Galleries afford a (marginally more comfortable) atmosphere of their own. The only thing that tends to mar a performance is the theatre’s somewhat noisy, flight-path location. In the UnderGlobe beneath the theatre is a fine exhibition on the history of the reconstruction, Bankside and its original theatres, and Shakespeare's London. Guided tours of the Shakespeare's Globe theatre run throughout the year. If the Bard is not your bag, look out for various seasonal festivals that take place on the riverside area outside the Globe Theatre. For more information about visiting the Globe Theatre, head to www.timeout.com/outdoor-theatre-faqs

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Lyric Hammersmith
Theatre

Lyric Hammersmith

A beacon of culture in Hammersmith, the Lyric's distinctive look is largely down to a fusion of the building's 1970s structure, the theatre's Victorian heritage and a modern interior.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars