Last updated: 7th April 2022
London theatre is having a revival.
After two years of lockdowns, losses, and casts forced into isolation, it seems like the city’s theatres are finally getting back to what they do best: bringing you spine-tingling, tear-jerking, heart-racing live entertainment from collectives of hugely talented people, in some of London’s most elegant buildings.
So we’re keeping this updated with all the best shows and plays running in London right now, from glitzy musicals and outrageous comedies to immersive theatre and hard-hitting drama, all rather conveniently presented with our top picks of restaurants and bars to make a night of it.
Jump Straight To: MUSICALS | DRAMA | COMEDY | IMMERSIVE | BOOK NOW
THE BEST MUSICALS IN LONDON
Back To The Future: The Musical | Adelphi Theatre
Future you visited us, and said it was imperative we tell you about this new musical. And to be fair, if you like cult movies, 80s hits and not being in your living room all year again, you’re probably going to enjoy it. READ MORE
Dinner before: Steak at 1985 prices at Flat Iron Covent Garden
Drinks after: Hand-picked wines at Lady of the Grapes
London Theatre Critics say: The Metro 5*, The Telegraph 5*, Michael J. Fox: “A truly great show.”
Details: Back To The Future: The Musical is booking at the Adelphi Theatre (closest tube station Charing Cross) until 23rd October 2022. Tickets cost £19.55 – £224.50, and can be booked HERE.
Cabaret | The Kit Kat Club (Playhouse Theatre)
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome to this phenomenal new production of cabaret, directed by the sensationally talented Rebecca Frecknall. For this revival of the classic musical & film, the Playhouse Theatre has been transformed into a giant version of the Kit Kat Club, where (the lucky few, at least) can sip cocktails and dine at intimate cabaret tables while the show unfolds. And even if you missed the acclaimed performances by Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne in the leading roles, the new cast – starring Fra Fee as the Emcee and Amy Lennox as Sally Bowles – are just as strong. Plus, you’ll see some of the most beautiful costume design that’s hit London stages in the past few years…
Dinner before: Go fancy at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
Drinks after: Wine in a candlelit cave at Gordon’s Wine Bar
London Theatre Critics say: Evening Standard 5*; The Independent 5*; The Telegraph 5*
Details: Cabaret is booking at the Playhouse Theatre (closest tube station Embankment) until 1st October 2022. Tickets cost £30 – £325, and you can book HERE.
Come From Away | Phoenix Theatre
Come From Away isn’t your typical musical. There’s no dazzling lights, or flashy set. The cast are probably less dressed up than the audience. Oh, and the whole toe-tapping, feel-good, soul-lifting story… is about 9/11. Set in the Canadian town of Gander, which hosted 7,000 diverted air passengers in the wake of the attacks, it’s a rousing paean to community spirit and compassion, interlaced with a folk-rock score that’s helped to bag the show four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.
Dinner before: London’s best value steak at Flat Iron Denmark Street
Drinks after: Pitch-perfect Italian cocktails at Bar Termini
London Theatre Critics say: The Times 5*; The Stage 5*; Evening Standard 4*
Details: Come From Away runs at the Phoenix Theatre (closest tube station Tottenham Court Road) until 15th October 2022. Tickets cost £20-125, and can be booked HERE.
Dear Evan Hansen | Noël Coward Theatre
The hugely anticipated broadway transfer of this Tony award-winning musical has finally landed on English shores. It centres around Evan, an American high schooler with social anxiety who finds himself faking an old friendship with a student who recently committed suicide. What follows is a heartbreaking story as relationships are formed, broken, and redeemed, all punctuated with a seriously strong soundtrack. Bring tissues.
Dinner before: Colourful Peruvian at Floral by Lima
Drinks after: Find the hidden bar behind the golden handshake at the St. Martins Lane Hotel
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 4*; The Times 4*; The Guardian 4*
Details: Dear Evan Hansen runs at the Noël Coward Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 22nd October 2022. Tickets cost £15-177.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre, London
Hamilton might have won 11 Tony Awards for its Broadway run, but the London cast have proved they were ready to Rise Up to the challenge.
Following the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, it’s a pioneering musical that raps its way through history, and within months of playing here, earned a record-breaking 13 Olivier nominations for its troubles…
Dinner before: Al fresco brasserie fare at Rail House Café
Drinks after: Cocktails upstairs at The Ivy Victoria
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Independent 5*; The Stage 5*; The Evening Standard 5*
Details: Tickets are on sale for Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre (closest tube station Victoria) until 1st October 2022. They cost from £47.75-£238, and can be purchased HERE.
Les Misérables | Sondheim Theatre
Do you hear the people sing? Well, you will if you head to Les Mis, an iconic musical based on Victor Hugo’s gloomy revolutionary novel that’s now in its 4th decade. It closed for the first time in 34 years while the theatre got some upgrades (and, er, other global events interfered) – but now it’s back, flying the flag once more with a critically acclaimed new production.
Dinner before: Enjoy classic brasserie fare at Dean Street Townhouse
Drinks after: A drink at The French House seems strangely appropriate
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; Evening Standard 4*
Details: Les Misérables runs at the Sondheim Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus), with tickets from £10-£165. You can book up until 2nd October 2022 right HERE.
Mary Poppins | Prince Edward Theatre
Always knowing exactly when she’s needed, Mary Poppins has flown into town. A sugar-dusted production with dazzling costumes, impressive dance sequences and a glorious soundtrack (obviously), this musical’s the pick-up we all needed.
Dinner before: French food and jazz at Café Boheme opposite
Drinks after: Slip behind the bookcase at Milroy’s
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; Evening Standard 4*
Details: Mary Poppins runs at the Prince Edward Theatre (closest tube station Tottenham Court Road) until 2nd October 2022. Tickets cost £20-125, and can be purchased HERE.
Matilda The Musical | Cambridge Theatre
A show in which a genius-level child with telekinetic powers somehow starts off as an underdog, this long-running musical take on the classic Roald Dahl tale – produced by theatre nobility the RSC – has had critics positively raving. And with good reason too – with lyrics by the inimitable Tim Minchin, ridiculously catchy tunes and a genuinely exceptional cast of kids, there’s not a single hole in this colourful patchwork of song and dance.
Dinner before: Grab a quick bite at Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen
Drinks after: Slip into The Barbary Next Door
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 5*; The Evening Standard 5*; The Independent 5*
Details: Matilda The Musical is booking at the Cambridge Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 28th May 2023, with tickets running between £20 and £125. You can book them right HERE.
Moulin Rouge! | Piccadilly Theatre
Why should you go see the new production of Moulin Rouge? Because you can can can! This dazzling show has finally transferred from Broadway to London, with an impressive 14 Tony nominations under its belt, a crack team of award-winning producers and creatives (including Baz himself), and an incredible soundtrack of 71 songs…
Dinner before: Keep it French at Brasserie Zédel
Drinks after: Subterranean cocktails at SOMA
London Theatre Critics say: The Independent 4*; The Telegraph 4*
Details: Moulin Rouge! runs at the Piccadilly Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) until 1st October 2022. Tickets cost £29.50 – £225, and can be booked HERE.
SIX | Vaudeville Theatre London
Divorced, beheaded, live in concert: it’s the story of Henry VIIIth’s six wives, performed by the queens themselves in the form of a punk girl-band. To say it’s a phenomenon would be to undersell it: it started out as an Edinburgh Fringe show, and has now scored runs in the West End, on Broadway and down in Oz. Expect neon ruffs; Greensleeves-techno mash ups and unexpectedly poignant moments interspersed with its high-energy score.
Dinner before: Cult dumplings at Din Tai Fung
Drinks after: Subterranean cocktails at Eve
London Theatre Critics say: Evening Standard 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Times 4*
Details: Six is booking at the Vaudeville Theatre (closest tube station Charing Cross) until 2nd April 2023. Tickets cost from £19.50-67.50, and can be purchased HERE.
THE BEST DRAMA | LONDON THEATRE
Cock | Ambassadors Theatre
Big names take on a short play in the first West End run of Mike Bartlett’s play exploring fluid sexuality. John (Jonathan Bailey) is in a happy, long-term relationship with his partner M (Taron Egerton) – until his world is turned upside down by his unexpected attraction to a woman, W (Jade Anouka). This ground has been trodden far more since the play’s premiere in 2009, but stellar performances, a stylish set and some brilliant physical choreography make this a revival well worth catching.
Dinner before: Dine at Theatreland icon The Ivy
Drinks after: Catch the late show at Ronnie Scott’s
London Theatre Critics say: Evening Standard 4*; The Independent 4*
Details: Cock runs at the Ambassadors Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 4th June. Tickets cost from £20-150, and can be purchased HERE.
Henry V | Donmar Warehouse
After a delayed start to the run due to Covid, Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington has finally taken to the stage as the warmongering king. His performance is, as you’d expect, pitch-perfect, bringing the detached ambivalence of a cool, corporate head to both love and war. Some reviewers have criticised the production’s maximalist qualities: overwhelming video projections, too much choral singing, an overly-choreographed battlefield. But if you want to see one of Shakespeare’s classics brought to life by a capable lead, this is one to see.
Dinner before: Subterranean steak at Hawksmoor Seven Dials
Drinks after: Sip wine by candlelight at The Barbary Next Door
Theatre critics say: The Observer 4*, The Telegraph 4*, The Independent 4*
Details: Henry V runs at the Donmar Warehouse theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 9th April. Tickets cost from £10-50, and can be booked HERE.
Life of Pi | Wyndham’s Theatre
This show based on Yann Martel’s iconic novel had its debut run in Sheffield, where the critics hailed it as “the next War Horse” – you know, the internationally touring, multi-award-winning, critically acclaimed War Horse. A few stars have been knocked off the reviews since its transfer to London – mostly because this retelling lacks some of the more philosophical, reflective nature of the book – but it remains a spellbinding piece of storytelling, with highly impressive staging.
Dinner before: Get into the sea setting at J. Sheekey
Drinks after: Head to the underground bar at Wun’s Tea Room
Theatre critics say: The Guardian 5*, The Times 5*, The Stage 5*
Details: Life of Pi is booking at Wyndham’s Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 4th September 2022. Tickets cost from £27.50-127.50, and can be booked HERE.
Our Generation | Dorfman, National Theatre
After the success of London Road, Alecky Blythe returns to the National with a new verbatim play. When she and her team of ‘collectors’ set out to interview a dozen teenagers, she was just expecting to record typical tales of growing up – then ol’ johnny covid turned up. In the end, they collected over 600 hours of recordings, and the result is this insightful play that effortlessly weaves between comedy, fear and tragedy. Prepare to be moved.
Dinner before: Anglo-American dishes at Sea Containers
Drinks after: Sip craft brews at The Understudy
Theatre critics say: The Guardian 5*, Evening Standard 5*; Sunday Times 5*
Details: Our Generation runs at the Dorfman, National Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) until 9th April 2022. Tickets cost from £10-60, and can be booked HERE.
Small Island | Olivier Theatre
Small Island was first staged to critical, 5*-loaded acclaim in summer 2019, and now it’s back at the National’s Olivier Theatre for another two months. Based on Andrea Levy’s novel of the same name, it traces the lives of three central characters in postwar Britain: Hortense, leaving her home in Jamaica to join her husband Gilbert as they settle in the UK, and their landlady, Lincolnshire-born Queenie. The two ‘small islands’ are impressively conjured in a vast production with impressive scenery, a big cast and a sweeping storyline that embraces huge global events while focussing on the hopes, injustices and disillusionment faced by the Windrush generation, and it’s truly essential theatre.
Dinner before: Top-tier Thai at Sticky Mango
Drinks after: Drink in the (stage) scenery at Vaulty Towers
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Observer 5*
Details: Small Island runs at the Olivier, National Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) until 30th April. Tickets cost £20-89, and can be booked HERE.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Duke of York’s Theatre
This Olivier-nominated stage adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel was due to transfer to the West End in 2020, but when the pandemic arrived it looked like the end of the – well, you know. But now it’s finally made its way to the Duke of York’s, and it’s all the better for the wait – some amazing movement direction, lighting design and fantastic puppetry by Sam Wyer combine to create a genuinely spine-tingling show full of supernatural thrills.
Dinner before: Tapas at the counter at Barrafina
Drinks after: Gin cocktails at Mr. Fogg’s Tavern
London Theatre Critics say: The Independent 5*; The Times 4*; The Guardian 4*
Details: The Ocean at the End of the Lane runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square or Charing Cross) until 14th May 2022. Tickets cost £20-150, and can be booked HERE.
To Kill A Mockingbird | Gielgud Theatre
The long-awaited Broadway transfer of Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation places Atticus Finch (Rafe Spall) at its heart, a spin that actually saw the Lee estate try to sue. A stellar cast are joined by striking sets and an evocative soundtrack supplied by an on-stage partnership of bellows organ and acoustic guitar. It’s a show that does the classic novel justice, with powerful courtroom scenes providing an indictment of the judicial system which is sadly still relevant.
Dinner before: Zippy Thai counter dining at Kiln
Drinks after: Give the new Nightjar a spin
London Theatre Critics say: Evening Standard 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 4*
Details: To Kill A Mockingbird runs at the Gielgud Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) until 19th November (Rafe Spall appearing until 13th August). Tickets cost £15-199.50, and can be booked HERE.
THE BEST COMEDY | LONDON THEATRE
Clybourne Park | Park Theatre
Clybourne Park won playwright Bruce Norris a ream of plaudits when he wrote it in 2010, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony AND Olivier awards for Best Play. This revival at Finsbury Park’s Park Theatre has received some mixed reviews, but its unflinchingly funny and provocative analysis of race relations, liberal delusions and the issue of home ownership is still deeply relevant, and there are some brilliant performances here by Imogen Stubbs, Katie Matsell, and former Royal Ballet dancer Eric Underwood.
Dinner before: Jaw-busters at Max’s Sandwich Shop
Drinks after: Head to the top of the Faltering Fullback
Theatre critics say: The Independent 5*, The Stage 4*, Evening Standard 4*
Details: Clybourne Park runs at the Park Theatre (closest tube station Finsbury Park) until 23rd April. Tickets cost from £18.50-32.50, and can be booked HERE.
The Play That Goes Wrong | Duchess Theatre
Honestly, they could be messing this up horribly every night, and no one would notice. In fact, they’d probably clap.
Dinner before: Bombastic Italian at Ave Mario
Drinks after: Highly-rated cocktails at the NoMad bar
London Theatre Critics say: The Independent 4*; Financial Times 4*; The Stage 4*
Details: The Play That Goes Wrong is booking at the Duchess Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until April 2023. Tickets cost £22-67.50, and can be booked HERE.
THE BEST IMMERSIVE THEATRE IN LONDON NOW
The Burnt City | Punchdrunk, Woolwich
For Punchdrunk’s latest show, they’ve taken on three historic, Grade II listed buildings, and reinvented them as a kind of futuristic, neon-drenched, sand-blasted version of two ancient cities, Troy and Mycenae, complete with apartment blocks and secret passageways. It’s set to be their most ambitious show to date (which, for them, is really saying something), set over a 100,000sq m set where you’ll encounter gods, monsters… and at least 599 mortals in the form of your fellow audience members…
Dinner before: Pizzas and craft beers at SALT
Drinks after: Stay in Troy’s hidden bar for live music & drinks…
London Theatre Critics say: Reviews coming soon – see what we thought of The Burnt City here.
Details: The Burnt City is booking at One Cartridge Place, Woolwich Works (closest tube station Woolwich Arsenal DLR) until 28th August 2022. Tickets cost £25-£150, and can be booked HERE.
Hoxton Street, a live soap opera in Hoxton Hall where you decide which way the cliffhanger goes (opens 7th April).
Scandaltown, a new Mike Bartlett play that’s ‘a Restoration comedy for the 21st century’ (opens 8th April).
The 47th, reuniting the team behind the critically acclaimed Charles III for a new play by Mike Bartlett (he had a busy lockdown, ok?) about the 2024 elections… and Trump (open now, reviews coming in soon).
Daddy, a blistering new melodrama from the hotly-tipped U.S. playwright Jeremy O. Harris (open now, reviews coming in soon).
For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, New Diorama Theatre’s sell-out show transfers to the Royal Court theatre for a limited five-week run (open now, reviews coming in soon).
Main image: The Burnt City
Want to see great theatre for less? Find out how to get cheap theatre tickets in London