London Theatre – The Best Shows Right Now
Last Updated: 16th September 2019 | Main Image: Shakespeare’s Globe
Ever since the dawn of time, human beings have gazed at the stars in awe and asked themselves “Where can I get a list of only the best London Theatre shows playing right now – divided into musical, comedy, drama, and immersive categories – in which I can also discover a heap of nearby bars and restaurants to help me make a night of it?”
And the answer is… well, here.
Jump Straight To: MUSICALS | DRAMA | COMEDY | IMMERSIVE
THE BEST NEW MUSICALS IN LONDON
Fiddler on the Roof | Playhouse Theatre
Hot on the heels of a sell-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory fringe theatre, this revival by award-winning director Trevor Nunn is in the West End for a limited run. Following a turn-of-the-century Jewish family faced with an eviction notice by the Tsar of Russia, the original Broadway show won nine Tony awards, and this revival, combining new and original choreography, has won just as much acclaim…
Dinner before: Top-notch tapas at Barrafina
Drinks after: Wine by the river at Gordon’s Wine Bar
Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Evening Standard 4*
Details: Fiddler on the Roof runs at the Playhouse Theatre (closest tube station Embankment) until 2nd November 2019. Tickets start at £20 – 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 been lavished with praise for its previous run on Broadway.
Dinner before: London’s best value steak at Flat Iron Denmark Street
Drinks after: Cocktails upstairs at 68 and Boston
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 February 2020. Tickets cost £19.50-125, and can be booked HERE.
What Girls Are Made Of | Soho Theatre
A real-life, autobiographical musical about what it’s like to make it…and then hate it. READ MORE
Dinner before: Tasting plates of fresh pasta at Lina Stores.
Drinks after: Straight-up delicious cocktails at Murder Inc.
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; Evening Standard 4*; The Times 4*
Details: What Girls Are Made Of is running at Soho Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until the 28th of September. Tickets cost £11-£24 and can be booked HERE.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie | Apollo Theatre, London
This title could have been reaaally embarrassing if the show hadn’t taken off. Luckily, London theatre critics are going mad for it, with bountiful comparisons to ‘a Billy Elliot for the millennial age’. Following the true story of 16 year old drag queen Jamie campaigning to wear a dress to prom, the show is packed with feel-good, prejudice-busting scenes fed by songs from The Feeling singer, Dan Gillespie Sells.
Dinner before: Retro Taiwanese at Xu
Drinks after: Cocktails from The Palomar team at The Blue Posts
London Theatre Critics say: The Times 5*; The Stage 5*; The Independent 5*; Financial Times 5*
Details: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie runs at the Apollo Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) until 25th January 2020. Tickets cost from £20 and can be purchased HERE.
Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre, London
Unless you’ve been living under a particularly well-soundproofed rock for the past few months, you’ll no doubt be vaguely aware that the biggest musical theatre event to drop this century has come to London.
And the cast are ready to Rise Up to the challenge.
Following the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, it’s a revolutionary musical that raps its way through history, and has already earned a record-breaking 13 Olivier nominations for its troubles…
Dinner before: Upmarket comfort food at Rail House Café
Drinks after: The Drunken Oyster above Hai Cenato
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 30th November 2019. They cost from £20 to £200, and can be purchased HERE.
Matilda The Musical | Cambridge Theatre, London
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 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: Steaming hot ramen at Kanada-Ya
Drinks after: Negronis at Bar Termini
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 5*; The Evening Standard 5*; The Independent 5*
Details: Matilda The Musical runs at the Cambridge Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 24th May 2020. Tickets cost from £20 to £122.50, and can be purchased HERE.
SHIDA | The Vaults
Jaw-dropping talent and dedication puts this a cut above many other musicals currently playing in London. Written and performed by Jeannette Bayardelle, it’s a tour de force of a one woman show that’s transferred here after a solid run over in New York. It tells the true story of her friend, whose life was littered with trauma and difficulties. Emotionally relentless and perfectly executed vocally, it’ll stay with you long after the show.
Dinner before: Head to one of Waterloo’s top restaurants
Drink after: Step through the portrait into the hidden party house above Hello Darling
London Theatre Critics say: Britishtheatre.com 4*; Londontheatre1.com 4*
Details: SHIDA runs at The Vaults (closest tube station Waterloo) until 13th October. Tickets cost £17.50 – £40, and can be booked HERE.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical | Lyric Theatre
Despite recently performing their 1,000th show, the Showstopper team still haven’t run out of ideas. Every night they create a brand new, totally off-the-cuff musical based on suggestions shouted out by the audience. And every night, it’s somehow excellent.
Dinner before: Taiwanese wonders at XU
Drinks after: Knock on the door of the Experimental Cocktail Club
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Times 5*; Evening Standard 4*
Details: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical has monthly shows at the Lyric Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square). Tickets cost from £15 and can be purchased HERE.
SIX | Arts 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. After sell-out runs in Edinburgh and London, and rapturous reviews, it’s back for a year-long run. Expect neon ruffs; Greensleeves-techno mash ups and unexpected moments of vulnerability interspersed with its high-energy score.
Dinner before: Modern European with a view at Garden Room
Drinks after: Mezcal-laced cocktails at The Lost Alpaca
London Theatre Critics say: Evening Standard 5*; The Times 4*; The Telegraph 4*
Details: Six runs at the Arts Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until January 2020. Tickets cost from £8 and can be purchased HERE.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ | Ambassadors Theatre
An all singing, all dancing adaptation of Sue Townsend’s angsty tween-age novel.
Dinner before: tacos and tostadas at La Bodega Negra
Drinks after: theatrical cocktails at Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 4*; Evening Standard 4*; The Telegraph 4*
Details: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ is running at the Ambassadors Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 28th September. Tickets cost £20-£83, and can be booked HERE.
Evita | Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Eva Perón once said, “My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten”. So like a gentleman, Andrew Lloyd Webber stepped in and wrote a musical (with Oscar-winning songs) in her honour. Celebrating the passion, charisma and patriotism of the former First Lady of Argentina, Evita gets a radical new staging here (courtesy of renowned director Jamie Lloyd) in the huge, open-air theatre sat in the middle of Regent’s Park – buy a boozy hot chocolate and watch her story unfold under the stars. READ MORE
Dinner before: Middle Eastern fare from ex-Ottolengi chefs at Honey & Co
Drinks after: Straight-forward subterranean tipples at The Lucky Pig
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 4*; Evening Standard 4*
Details: Evita is running at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (closest tube Regent’s Park) until the 21st of September. Tickets cost £25-£65 and can be booked HERE.
THE BEST DRAMA | LONDON THEATRE
Appropriate | Donmar Warehouse
Ever since the barnstorming success of An Octoroon, the theatre’s been awaiting Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ next play. And Appropriate doesn’t disappoint – a tour de force tying in family tensions with a touch of ghostly thriller, it’s a gutsy excavation into America’s legacy of slavery, through the prism of the family’s own recent past.
Dinner before: Critically acclaimed grub at The Barbary
Drinks after: Sink a glass of wine at La Compagnie des Vins
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 4*; The Telegraph 4*; Evening Standard 4*; The Times 4*
Details: Appropriate runs at the Donmar Warehouse (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 5th October. Tickets cost £10-£40, and can be booked HERE.
A Doll’s House | Lyric Hammersmith
Ibsen’s classic drama of gender politics gets a fresh reboot from Tanika Gupta, set in 1870s Calcutta. Here, the patriarchal structure is compounded by British colonialism, as English bureaucrat Tom exoticises and idolises his new wife Niru. Brilliantly directed by Rachel O’Riordan, with Anjana Vasan as the protagonist, the result is a gripping, urgent take on one of theatre’s most iconic pieces of storytelling.
Dinner before: Riverside Italian at The River Café
Drinks after: Have a glass on the Lyric’s rooftop terrace
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 4*; Evening Standard 4*; The Stage 4*
Details: A Doll’s House runs at the Lyric Hammersmith (closest tube station Hammersmith) until 5th October. Tickets cost £10-£42 and can be booked HERE.
The Son | Duke Of York Theatre
After a sold-out run at Kiln Theatre, Florian Zeller’s deeply moving finale to his three-part, family-focused trilogy transfers to the West End. Whilst the preceding plays expose us to the painful realities of both dementia and middle-aged angst, this time we experience life through the eyes of a son suffering from a crippling depression, caught between divorced parents, confused, and unable to cope.
Dinner before: Modern Iranian food from an ex-Palomar chef at Nutshell
Drinks after: Creative cocktails at Adam Handling’s Eve
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 4*; The Standard 4*
Details: The Son runs at Duke Of York Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until the 2nd of November. Tickets cost £15-£90 and can be booked HERE.
The Doctor | Almeida Theatre
If you feel like a hard-hitting reinterpretation of a 1912 Viennese play exploring the ethics of medicine, intertwined with issues of race, gender and religion – then you need to go and see The Doctor. Juliet Stevenson is astonishing in the title role, and director/writer Robert Icke has created a perfectly balanced production in which nobody is clearly right or wrong in the midst of the play’s core dilemma.
Dinner before: An Italian pre-theatre feast at Radici
Drinks after: Top-notch wines at Humble Grape Islington
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Sunday Times 5*; Financial Times 5*
Details: The Doctor runs at the Almeida Theatre (closest tube station Angel) until 28th September. Tickets are quite hard to come by, but you can try for day returns, Tuesday rush or other last minute releases HERE.
Torchsong | The Turbine Theatre
Opening this new theatre space in a railway arch by Battersea Power Station, Torchsong is a suitably powerful production. It tells the story of Arnold Beckoff, a drag queen searching for love and identity in 1970s Manhattan. The play’s won two Tony awards, and it’s here directed by Olivier award-winner Drew McOnie, making for a strong production of this both witty and touching show.
Dinner before: Seafood by the river at Wright Brothers Battersea
Drinks after: Cocktails in art deco surrounds at No. 29 Power Station West
Critics say: Whatsonstage 4*; Daily Express 4*
Details: Torchsong runs at The Turbine Theatre (closest tube station Vauxhall) until 13th October. Tickets cost £33 and can be booked HERE.
Until The Flood | Arcola Theatre
A beautifully crafted one woman show, written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith. The script is based on real interviews from people in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson. Through subtle physical shifts, Orlandersmith embodies each of these characters and their complex responses – the result is deeply thought-provoking and completely spellbinding. It was one of the big hits of the Edinburgh Fringe festival, so don’t miss the limited London transfer.
Dinner before: Seasonal grub at Jones & Sons
Drinks after: Unusual cocktails at Untitled
Theatre Critics say: The Scotsman 5*; The Guardian 4*; The Times 4*
Details: Until The Flood runs at the Arcola Theatre (closest tube station Dalston Junction) until 28th September. Tickets cost £10-27 and can be booked HERE.
Witness For The Prosecution | London County Hall
A revival of Agatha Christie’s shorter-running play (read: fewer than 60 years), Witness For The Prosecution is performed in the rarely accessible (and suitably ‘20s) courtroom of London County Hall. Expect more twists and turns than a poorly made pretzel.
Dinner before: Homely ramen at Yamagoya
Drinks after: Cocktails with a view on the OXO Terrace Bar
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 4*; The Times 4*; The Guardian 4*
Details: Witness For The Prosecution runs at London County Hall (closest tube station Waterloo) until March 2020. Tickets cost from £10 to £95, and can be purchased HERE.
THE BEST COMEDY | LONDON THEATRE
The Play That Goes Wrong | Duchess Theatre London
Honestly, they could be screwing this up horribly every night and nobody would notice. In fact, they’d probably clap.
Dinner before: French food at er, Frenchie
Drinks after: And French wine to boot at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
London Theatre Critics say: The Times 4*; The Independent 4*; The Telegraph 4*; The Stage 4*
Details: The Play That Goes Wrong runs at the Duchess Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 3rd May 2020. Tickets cost from £20 to £67.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Fleabag – NT Live | Cinemas Across London
Unless you’re one of the 1% who managed to get tickets to the last run of shows that Phoebe Waller-Bridge will be performing in as Fleabag, you may be interested to know that you can still – sort of – see it live. They’ll be broadcasting one of her shows simultaneously to independent cinemas across the city (and then repeating that broadcast until December), which means you can get all the drama of a real-time show, with all the cocktails and fancy velvet recliners of an Everyman. READ MORE
Noises Off | Garrick Theatre, London
After a raved-about run at the Lyric, Noises off – Michael Frayn’s hilarious, Olivier-winning comedy – is transferring to the West End. Directed by Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall, All My Sons), with a cast including Meera Syal (The Kumars), the show follows an unruly theatre company as they attempt to rehearse and stage ‘the disastrous flop, Nothing On’.
Dinner before: Venetian small plates at Polpo
Drinks after: penthouse cocktails at Garden Room
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 4*, Evening Standard 4*
Details: Noises Off runs at Garrick Theatre (closest tube Leicester Square) from the 24th of September to the 4th of January. Tickets cost £18-£107.50 and can be booked HERE.
IMMERSIVE | LONDON THEATRE
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Alexandra Palace
Experimental theatre-makers RIFT are taking you deep into the belly of Alexandra Palace for their next show. You’ll wander through 150 year-old crumbling basement corridors and makeshift film studios as the characters romp around you on the eve of the world’s first television broadcast… READ MORE
Dinner before: Med fare at Cilicia
Drinks after: Sip drinks overlooking the skyline at Ally Pally’s bar, Phoenix
Details: A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at Alexandra Palace (closest tube station Wood Green) until 28th September. Tickets cost £28.50 and can be purchased HERE.
The Great Gatsby | Mystery Location, London
This isn’t your average, everyday, garden variety Gatsby. It’s the great one, and he’s throwing one heck of a party… Eavesdrop on secret bedroom conversations, connive with the characters, and throw some serious jazz hands.
Dinner before: We couldn’t possibly give the location away…
Drinks after: No, really we can’t.
London Theatre Critics say: British Theatre Guide 5*; The Guardian 4*; The Stage 4*
Details: The Great Gatsby runs somewhere mysterious (closest tube station Borough…) until 1st September 2020. Tickets cost £32.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Secret Cinema Presents: Casino Royale | Secret Location
Secret agents and Secret Cinema have a lot in common. After all, both are clandestine in nature, existing in a realm of hidden messages, elaborately constructed secret hideouts, and people who enjoy a stiff drink. So for their all-new experience, they’re taking you into the world of Casino Royale. It’s happening across the summer, and there are still a few tickets left… READ MORE
Dinner & drinks: There’s pop up bars and eateries all over the set.
London Theatre Critics say: The Independent 4*
Details: Secret Cinema Presents: Casino Royale runs until 6th October in a secret location. Tickets cost £49 – £175 and can be purchased HERE.
Want to see great theatre for less? Find out how to get cheap theatre tickets in London