The Lehman Trilogy/Mark Douet

Features

Jason Allen 30/01/23


The Best London Theatre Right Now

The Best London Theatre | Amazing Shows to Book Now

Without making a song and dance about it…

…we’ve updated our London theatre guide.

That means great new plays, musicals and immersive shows on now – with recommendations for nearby pre-show restaurants & post-show bars, plus a neat little summary of the critical consensus – and great new reasons to have an unforgettable night out in town. This month? We’ve got the welcome return of one of last year’s best shows; the debut play from one of the nation’s favourite cult TV writers; a multi-generation epic of a billion-dollar empire both made & lost; a surreal, funny, and thought-provoking sci-fi; an immersive trip into one of London’s most iconic landmarks, and so, so much more…


Jump Straight To: MUSICALS | DRAMACOMEDY | IMMERSIVE


LONDON THEATRE SHOWS TO BOOK NOW

Crybabies: Bagbeard

The Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated sketch trio embark on a bonkers sci-fi adventure after finding an alien from a faraway planet. Chaos ensues. Expect to laugh until you cry…

Details: Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St London W1D 3NE | 7th-11th of March | Book tickets

The Pillowman

Sounds a bit like a horror movie involving a man and bedding, but is actually the revival of an all-time great play, with Lily Allen and Steve Pemberton cast in starring roles. 

Details: The Duke of York’s Theatre, St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4BG | 10th June – 2nd September | Book here

A Streetcar Named Desire

Fresh off an Oscar nom, Paul Mescal is changing back into his theatre clothes again. He’ll return as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ gripping tale, which transfers to the West End from a sell-out run at The Almeida Theatre.

Details: Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JP | March 20th – April 29th | Sign up for tickets here

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara’s heavy, heartbreaking best-selling novel A Little Life – considered too bleak for TV – is being bravely brought to life at the Harold Pinter Theatre, with James Norton playing the mysterious main character. 

Details: The Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN | 25th March – 18th June | Book here

Oklahoma!

Last year, director Daniel Fish breathed new life into the 75-year old musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which tells the tale of an American frontier town in former Indian territory on the verge of acquiring statehood. While it’s the exact same script and music as it’s always been, this energetic production is unlike any staging you’ll have seen before (unless, of course, you saw it at the Young Vic). And happily, most of the cast will be returning to reprise their roles when the show opens for another fresh run, this time at Wyndham’s Theatre in Leicester Square…

Details: Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DA | 16th February – 2nd September 2023 | Book here


THE BEST MUSICALS IN LONDON

SIX | Vaudeville Theatre London

Six The Musical

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.

 

Dance Me – Music By Leonard Cohen | Sadler’s Wells

Dance Me

The rich and beautiful music of Leonard Cohen is to be brought to life by Canadian ballet dancer and artistic director Louis Robitaille, and three acclaimed international choreographers – Ihsan Rustem, Andonis Foniadakis, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Presented by 14 dancers from Ballets Jazz Montreal, and approved by Leonard Cohen during his lifetime, the performance promises to evoke “the grand cycles of existence” – an ambitious aim, but no different from the work of the great man himself.

Dinner before: Spectacular seasonal dining at Frederick’s
Drinks after: New Orleans-style drinking at Planquemine Lock
Details:
Dance Me – Music By Leonard Cohen is booking at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (closest tube station Angel) from 7th February until 14th February 2023. Tickets cost from £40, and you can book here.

 

Moulin Rouge! | Piccadilly Theatre

Moulin Rouge The Musical

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 3rd June 2023. Tickets cost £29.50 – £225, and can be booked here.

 

Matilda The Musical | Cambridge Theatre

The Best London Theatre Right Now: Matilda - The Best London Theatre Right Now

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.

 

Sylvia | Old Vic

Bona fide West End diva Beverley Knight leads the cast in Kate Prince’s celebration of Sylvia – the lesser known of the Pankhurst suffragettes. Knight plays Emmeline to Sharon Rose’s Sylvia Pankhurst, in the world premiere of a show which first debuted as a world-in-progress in 2018. Funk soul, hip hop and dance fuse in a production with original music from pianist Josh Cohen and DJ Walde (Pericles, The Little Mermaid).

Dinner before: A Tel-Aviv dream at Bala-Baya
Drinks after: A pint or 2 at The Kings Arms
London Theatre Critics say:
The Guardian 4*
Details: 
Sylvia is booking at the Old Vic Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) from 27th January until 1st April 2023. Tickets cost from £10 – £67.50, and you can book here.

 

Bat Out of Hell | Peacock Theatre

bat out of hell

The mighty Meat Loaf is no longer with us, but his anthems live on – and you’ll hear them all at Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell, presented at Sadler’s Wells West End outpost, the Peacock Theatre.  I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)? Check.  Paradise By The Dashboard Light? You know it. And the spine-tingling Bat Out of Hell itself, in all it’s wildly over-the-top glory? Naturellement. It’s loud, it’s silly, it’s joyous, and there’s something approximating an exploding motorbike. Somewhere up there, Loaf himself is rocking out in approval.

Dinner before: In the grand European café, The Delaunay
Drinks after:
Belt songs out for yourself at Lucky Voice
Details: Bat Out of Hell is booking at the Peacock Theatre (closest tube station Holborn) from 17th February until 1st April 2023. Tickets cost from £18-£48, and you can book here.

 

Les Misérables | Sondheim Theatre

The Best London Theatre Right Now: Les Miserables - The Best London Theatre Right Now

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*
DetailsLes Misérables runs at the Sondheim Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus), with tickets from £10-£165. You can book up until 5th March 2023 right here.

 

Standing At The Sky’s Edge | National Theatre

standing at the skys edge - best london theatres shows right now

A new musical coming to the Olivier stage, Standing At The Sky’s Edge is an irrepressible, irresistible love letter to Sheffield – and it’s the real deal. It’s a co-production with Sheffield Theatres, with the book by playwright Chris Bush, and

and music and lyrics by the brilliant Richard Hawley (both, incidentally, authentic Sheffielders). It’s a generation-spanning exploration of lives of people on Sheffield’s Park Hill estate, set across three timelines – a grand, sweeping narrative that tackles hopes, dreams, and gentrification.

Dinner before: All-day diner Art Yard & Kitchen
Drinks after: Grab a pint The Understudy
London Theatre Critics say: The Times 5*; WhatsOnStage 5*
Details
: Standing At The Sky’s Edge is running at the National Theatre (nearest tube station Waterloo) from 9th February until 25th March 2023. Tickets cost from £30-£89, and are available here.

 

Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre, London

Hamilton

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 4th March 2023. They cost from £47.75-£238, and can be purchased here.

 

Cabaret | The Kit Kat Club (Playhouse Theatre)

The Best London Theatre Right Now: Caberet - The Best London Theatre Right Now

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 16th December 2023. Tickets cost £25 – £325, and you can book here.

 

Back To The Future: The Musical | Adelphi Theatre

The Best London Theatre Right Now: Back To The Future Musical

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.

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 July 2023. Tickets cost £19.55 – £224.50, and can be booked here.

 

Choir of Man | Arts Theatre

The Best London Theatre Right Now: choir of man

Grab a (free!) pint and strap in for an evening of resolutely non-toxic masculinity down at the Arts Theatre – the beardy, burly blokes of the Choir of Man are here to sing their hearts out in their onstage pub, whilst touching on themes of friendship, gentrification and mental health. Plot? What plot! You’re here for the vocal performances (uniformly superb) and the musical arrangements (likewise, courtesy of Musical Supervisor Jack Blume). The production, which has toured to Edinburgh and back, is as slick as can be, and the covers – including Somebody to Love, and Sia’s Chandelier, are absolute bangers. If music be the food of love, have another pint and enjoy 90 minutes of foot-stomping fun.

Dinner before: Everything Hawaiian at El Ta’Koy
Drinks after: World 100 Bar List entry, the Side Hustle at NoMad 
Details: Tickets are on sale for Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 28th May 2023. They cost from £22.50-£67.50, and can be purchased here.


THE BEST DRAMA ON NOW


The Lehman Trilogy | Gillian Lynne Theatre

the lehman trilogy

Image: Mark Douet

It’s back. Barnstorming, record-breaking international theatrical mega-event The Lehman Trilogy returns to London after triumphant runs in LA and on Broadway. Michael Balogun, Hadley Fraser and Nigel Lindsay now lead the cast in this powerhouse of a production, written by Italian novelist and playwright Stefano Massini, adapted by the NT’s resident dramaturg Ben Power and directed by Sam Mendes (The Ferryman), with set design from über-designer Es Devlin (The Crucible).

Tracking the fortunes of the Lehman family across generations – from the three brothers’ arrival in America in 1844 through to the infamous 2008 subprime mortgage crash – the piece weighs in at an epic 3hrs 20mins, with two intervals. Truly essential viewing.

Dinner before: Intimate wine-centric dining at Parsons
Drinks after: Gentleman’s club-style drinking at Scarfes Bar
London Theatre Critics say:
 The Times 5*; The Telegraph 5*; The Guardian 5*
DetailsThe Lehman Trilogy runs at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (closest tube stations Holborn and Covent Garden) from 24th January – 20th May 2023. Tickets cost from £20 – £150, and can be booked here.

 

Phaedra | National Theatre

Phaedra

The fearsomely-talented Simon Stone is the Australian writer-director behind Yerma, which saw Billie Piper give a performance for the ages as a woman driven to desperation due to her inability to bear children (if you’ve not seen it, watch it on National Theatre live immediately). In Stone’s latest reimagining of a classic tragedy, Phaedre, after Euripides, Seneca and Racine, sees Ozark’s Janet McTeer play the titular Cretan princess, whose relationship with her step-son Hippolytus casts her life into chaos.

Dinner before: Quick & easy classic at Bread Street Kitchen Southwark
Drinks after: In Spanish-style drink spot, Bar Daskal
Details
: Phaedra is running at the National Theatre (nearest tube station Waterloo) from 1st February until 8th April 2023. Tickets cost from £20-£89, and are available here.

 

Graceland | Royal Court Theatre

graceland

Ava Wong Davies seems to be on an unstoppable rise – the theatre critic and playwright is an alumnus of the prestigious Soho Writers Lab and Royal Court Writers Group, and her last play, scum, was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award. Her latest piece, Graceland, comes to the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs – long home to some of London’s most exciting new writing – and tells a tale of true love. Directed by Anna Himali Howard (AD of Small Island at the National Theatre), and performed by Sabrina Wu (The Doctor).

Dinner before: Elegant Indian eatery, Kutir
Drinks after: Cosy, grand boozer, The Codoghan Arms
Details
: Graceland is running at the Royal Court Theatre (nearest tube station Sloan Square) from 9th February until 11th March 2023. Tickets cost from £12 -£25, and are available here.

 

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons | Harold Pinter Theatre

Sam Steiner’s acclaimed and thought-provoking romantic comedy, which debuted at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, now comes to the West End for a nine week engagement. Set in a world in which the government introduces a daily limit of 140 words per person, the play explores the limits of communication, and how what is said – and unsaid – shapes a relationship. Poldark’s Aidan Turner stars opposite Jenna Coleman (The Serpent), with direction by the mighty Josie Rourke.

Dinner before: 10/10 fusion dining at Scully 
Drinks after: Soho speakeasy behind an after-hours deli, Jack Solomons Club
DetailsLemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre (closest tube stations Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square) from 18th January – 18th March 2023. Tickets cost from £15 and can be booked here.

 

A Streetcar Named Desire | Almeida Theatre

A Streetcar named desire

You may have to rely on the kindness of strangers to acquire a ticket for Streetcar, starring Normal People’s Paul Mescal, who Mescal continues his remorseless quest to become the object of his audience’s every sordid fantasy by taking on the iconic role (and vest) of Stanley Kowalski. The Tennessee Williams’ classic is directed by the theatre’s Associate Director Rebecca Frecknall, and tickets are very much sold out, but nothing’s impossible – you’ll need to queue for returns, but it will also almost certainly be worth it.

Dinner before: Bowls of goodness at Kanada-Ya Angel
Drinks after: Feel-good bar Homeboy Islington
Details
: A Streetcar Named Desire is running at the Almeida (nearest tube stations Highbury & Islington and Angel) from 12th December until 4th February 2023. Tickets are sold out, but returns will be available in the returns queue, or online here.

 

Orlando | Garrick Theatre

Emma Corrin has been bewitching critics left right and centre in Virginia Woolf’s centuries-spanning tale of love and gender identity. Directed by Michael Grandage in an adaptation by Neil Bartlett, Woolf’s tale leaps from Elizabethan era through to Victorian London, and rattles along at a taut 90 minutes. Corrin’s performance, described by the Guardian as “a flare of coltish charisma”, underpins the whole thing, and the piece explores Orlando’s journey from male to female with a positivity and lightness of touch that feels timely and joyous.

Dinner before: Authentic Laotion cuisine at Lao Cafe
Drinks after: Victorian style drinking den, Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration
London Theatre Critics say:
 The Guardian 5*; The Stage 5*; The Observer 4*; The Independent 4*
DetailsOrlando runs at the Garrick Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) from 26th November 2022 until 25th February 2023. Tickets cost £10-110.00, and can be booked here.

Noughts & Crosses

Malorie Blackman’s hit series about race and romance in a segregated society returns to the stage – via Sabrina Mahfouz’s stirring adaption – for a two-week run at the Rose Theatre.

Dinner before: Casual sushi from Obon
Drinks after: Theatrical cocktails from Incognito 
Details: Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street Kingston | 31st January – 11th February | Book here

To Kill A Mockingbird | Gielgud Theatre

To Kill A Mocking Bird

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*
DetailsTo Kill A Mockingbird runs at the Gielgud Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) until 1st April 2023. Tickets cost £15-199.50, and can be booked here.

 

Medea | @sohoplace

Theatreland’s newest, shiniest stage is playing host to one of Ancient Greece’s most potent tales. Euripedes’ tragic fable, adapted by Robinson Jeffers, is directed by Dominic Cooke and stars the mercurial Sophie Okonedo as the titular priestess. Okonedo, a Tony winner and Academy Award nominee, promises to deliver an incandescent Medea – a woman ravaged by grief, and bent on revenge against the men who have mistreated and abandoned her.

Dinner before: Sweet & simple dishes at 10 Greek Street
Drinks after: House party drinking at The Little Scarlet Door
DetailsMedea runs at @sohoplace (closest tube stations Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square) from 10th February – 22nd April 2023. Tickets cost from £25, and can be booked here.

 

Best of Enemies | Nöel Coward Theatre

The Best London Theatre Right Now: Best of Enemies

Written by James Graham? Directed by Jeremy Herrin? Transferred to the West End after a sold-out season at the Young Vic, a Critics Circle Award for Best New Play and ★★★★★ in The Times, Observer, Time Out, Sunday Times, Financial Times, and iNews? Yep, it would be fair to describe this as a ‘hot show’. Set in America in 1986, the play explores the tensions between liberal icon Gore Vidal – played by Zachary Quinto, aka Star Trek’s Spok(!) in his London stage debut – and the right-wing political commentator William F. Buckley Jr – played by Homeland’s David Harewood. It’s a captivating tug of war between the political spectrums, so don’t get left behind, do the right thing – and book now.

Dinner before: Wallet-friendly pasta at Bancone
Drinks after: Female-led wine bar, Lady of the Grapes
London Theatre Critics say:
The Times 5*; The Guardian 4*; The Telegraph 4*
DetailsBest of Enemies runs at the Nöel Coward Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 18th February 2023. Tickets cost £15-£199.50, and can be booked here.

 

Othello | Lyric Hammersmith

othello - best london theatre shows right now

Masters of physical theatre Frantic Assembly have brought back their acclaimed Othello – following triumphant runs in 2008 and 2014. The company’s production, which toured the UK before returning to the Lyric Hammersmith, takes Shakespeare’s tragedy and places it in the 21st century, and elevates the Bard’s verse with Frantic’s distinctively muscular physicality. Michael Akinsurile (Killing Eve) takes on the role of Othello, with Chanel Waddock as Desdemona and Joe Layton as the conniving Iago.

Dinner before: Dine by the Thames at Sam’s Riverside
Drinks after: Hit up one of the best pubs in Hammersmith
London Theatre Critics say:
The Guardian 4*; The Times 4*; The Evening Standard 4*; WhatsOnStage 5*
DetailsOthello runs at the Lyric Hammersmith (closest tube station Tottenham Hammersmith) from 19th January – 11th February 2023. Tickets cost from £15-£42 and can be booked here.

 

Shirley Valentine | The Duke of York’s Theatre

shirley valentine

If you want to see Shezza in full force, get over to The Duke of York’s. On her day, the preternaturally talented Sheridan Smith can act anyone else off the stage – her co-stars are spared this fate in Shirley Valentine (it’s a solo show), meaning it’s all eyes on Smith from the off. Written by Willy Russell (he of Blood Brothers and Educating Rita), the titular Shirley is a woman of a certain age – old enough to regret her position of entrenched domesticity, but with a twinkle in her eye as she wistfully imagines the life she might have lead. It’s earthy, heartstring-pulling, crowd-pleasing stuff – and Smith, in all likelihood, will smash it.

Dinner before: Wood fire gem Ekstedt at The Yard
Drinks after: Soho townhouse speakeasy, Opium
DetailsShirley Valentine runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre (closest tube stations Leicester Square and Charing Cross) from 17th February – 3rd June 2023. Tickets cost from £7.50-£125 and can be booked HERE.


THE BEST COMEDY PLAYS ON NOW


The Unfriend | Criterion Theatre

The Unfriend

It enjoyed a riotous, sold-out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, and Steven Moffat’s new dark comedy now comes to the West End. The pedigree is impeccable – Moffat’s writing is brought to life by Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock) and Frances Barber (Julius Caesar), with direction by Shearsmith’s fellow League member (and Abbington’s Sherlock colleague) Mark Gatiss.

It’s the tale of a British couple who befriend a loud, lusty American widow whilst on holiday – a woman who then (the horror!) invites herself over to stay with them. Too late, the couple look up the woman flying across the world to join them, and learn the deadly truth about her, and the threat she almost certainly poses to their children….! A comedy of manners, infused with high-stakes darkness.

Dinner before: Anglo-Indian small plates at Kricket Soho
Drinks after: Bowie-inspired bar, The Thin White Duke
Details
: The Unfriend is running from 15th January to 16th April 2023. Tickets cost from £21.25 – £91.25 and are available here.

 

Chris Fleming | Soho Theatre

chris fleming soho theatre

If you’ve never stumbled upon Chris Fleming’s online work – treat yourself. He’s an LA-based actor and comedian, whose delightfully offbeat sketches have been viewed over 79 million times on YouTube. He’s the real deal live, too, and is coming to the Soho Theatre for a super limited run. Described by Splitsider as ‘a madman and, I think, genius,’  Fleming was a total sell-out last time he graced the Soho stage, so book now if you’re in the market for something strange, and special.

Dinner before: Fabulous British dining at Sussex
Drinks after: In the glorious kitsch Korean pub, Hongdae Pocha
DetailsChris Fleming is playing at the Soho Theatre (nearest tube Leicester Square) from 31st January – 4th Februrary 2023 . Tickets cost from £21-£28 and can be booked here.

 

The Walworth Farce | Southwark Playhouse – Elephant

Irish playwright Enda Walsh’s acclaimed piece comes to the Southwark Playhouse’s newest, largest stage. The dark, anarchic tragi-farce set in the claustrophobic environs of a tower block – in Elephant & Castle, appropriately enough – is being brought to life by a superb cast, led by Dan Skinner, better known by his alter-ego Angelos Epithemiou (Shooting Stars, the Angelos Epithemiou Show). Every day, patriarch Dinny (played by Skinner) and his two sons Blake and Sean are compelled to constantly perform a bizarre theatrical ritual together, recalling their final day in Ireland. Wild, weird, quasi-Beckett-ian, and a cracking excuse to see Southwark’s new space.

Dinner before: Top rate market grub at Mercato Metropolitano
Drinks after: Late-night wine bar Little Louie
Details
The Walworth Farce is playing at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (nearest tube Elephant & Castle) from 17th February – 18th March 2023. Tickets cost from £22.50-£28 and can be booked here.

 

John Kearns: The Vanishing Days | Soho Theatre

john kearns - best london theatre shows right now

The thing is, there’s nothing quite like John Kearns. Which is why, despite the fact that his run at the Soho Theatre is sold out, you should do whatever you can to snag a return. Clad, inexplicably, in his monk’s tonsure and fake teeth, with a high pitched delivery, absolutely nothing about Kearn’s stand-up performance ‘should’ work. And yet, more than any other stand-up working today, he seems to somehow cut through the fug and, in his absurdist, melancholy manner, get to the absolute heart of what it means to be alive. And he’s just really, really, funny.

Dinner before: Iberian seafood dishes at Maresco
Drinks after: Pick from a choice of 100 gins at The London Gin Club
Details
John Kearns: The Vanishing Days is playing at the Soho Theatre (nearest tube Leicester Square) from 13st February – 18th Februrary 2023 . Tickets are sold out, but check for returns at the Box Office on 020 7478 0100.

 

The Play That Goes Wrong | Duchess Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong

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*
DetailsThe Play That Goes Wrong is booking at the Duchess Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 29th October 2023. Tickets cost £22-67.50, and can be booked here.

 

Noises Off | Phoenix Theatre

Noises Off - the best london theatre shows playing right now

Michael Frayn’s legendary farce comes to the Phoenix Theatre (formerly the longtime home of Come From Away), replete with a superb cast. In this latest incarnation, Felicity Kendal, Jonathan Coy, Matthew Kelly and Tracy-Ann Oberman get stuck into Frayn’s famously taught exercise in door-slamming silliness and meta-theatrical stupidity.

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 Guardian 4*; The Telegraph 4*; Broadway World 4*
Details: 
Noises Off is booking at the Phoenix Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) from 19th January until 11th March  2023. Tickets cost from £35, and you can book here.


THE BEST IMMERSIVE SHOWS IN LONDON THEATRES NOW


Saint Jude | 100 Petty France

Saint Jude - Swamp Motel

Strap in for a slick, unsettling journey into the depths of Westminster and the human mind, courtesy of immersive event makers Swamp Motel. They’ve partnered with AI specialists Charisma for this interactive piece, in which you enter a mysterious government building and help a shadowy tech company with their cutting-edge medical work; interacting with the thoughts of coma patients, in a bid to revive them.

Dinner before: A taste of Paris at Chez Antoinette
Drinks after: 60s-style drinking den, The Cinnamon Club’s Basement Bar
Details: Saint Jude is playing at 100 Petty France, SW1H 9EA (closest tube stations are St. James’ Park, Victoria and Westminster) until 11th March 2023. Tickets cost from £20, and you can book here.

 

The Burnt City | One Cartridge Place

punchdrunk the burnt city

No-one does it bigger, better, or immersive-er than Punchdrunk. They’re the grandmasters of sprawling, epic, site-specific happenings that appear at times to be infused with genuine magic, and over in Woolwich you’ll bear witness to – and participate in – their latest coup de theatre. The ‘burnt city’ in question is Troy, which you will explore (whilst wearing an anonymising mask) however you see fit. It’s a mysterious, engrossing, mostly wordless experience.

Dinner before: Comfort food at Goddards
Drinks after: Pints with a view at The Cutty Sark
Details: The Burnt City is playing at One Cartridge Place, Woolwich, SE18 6ZR (closest tube station Woolwich), until April 2023. Tickets cost from £55, with a number of £25 tickets available via lottery, for under 25s and for residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and can be booked here.

 

Peaky Blinders: The Rise | Camden

Peaky Blinders The Rise
Image: Mark Senior

Peaky Blinders: The Rise is the latest show from Immersive Everywhere (the team behind London’s longest-running immersive production, The Great Gatsby) — and it’s absolutely breath-taking.

Set in the grade II* listed stables and warehouses of Camden Market, in a haze of smoke and whiskey, the underbelly of 1920s London — and very specifically the world of the hit series — has been beautifully recreated. Rebecca Brower’s stunning set, full of hidden hatches, hundreds of props and authentic furnishings, converts a relatively small space into an illicit playground, where you can rifle through Tommy Shelby’s office desk; check the odds in the Small Heath betting shop; or make a pact in Alfie Solomons’ London bakery. Oh, and the Garrison bar? That’s the real one from the show…

Dinner before: The Cheese Bar is right round the corner
Drinks after: Smuggle booze into BYOC
London Theatre Critics say:
 Evening Standard 4*
DetailsPeaky Blinders: The Rise is currently booking until 28th May 2023. Tickets range from £52 (midweek) to £82 (weekends) – you can find out more, and book, right here.

 

The Gunpowder Plot | Tower Vaults

Best london theatre shows right now: Gunpowder Plot

Step into the past, and a purpose-built venue in the Vaults in Tower Hill, as you experience – and participate in! – the historic gunpowder plot, via the medium of ‘Layered Reality’. What does that mean? Think VR headsets combined with live theatre, plus ‘real physical sensations’ (that’s right). Written by Danny Robins (he of 2:22 A Ghost Story), the piece stars Slytherin’s very own Tom Felton as Guy Fawkes, who leads a ‘digital cast’ that includes Gary Beadle and Michelle Asante. A unique – and explosive – night out.

Dinner before: Riverside dining at Coppa Club
Drinks after: Moonshine Saloon if you can’t get enough of all things immersive
Details
The Gunpowder Plot is currently playing at the Tower Vaults, 8-12 Tower Hill Vaults London EC3N 4EE until 28th May 2023. Tickets available here.


Want to see great theatre for less? Find out how to get cheap theatre tickets in London…

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