The Nudge’s London Theatre Guide
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 absolute best theatre shows playing in London 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?”
Well the answer is… right here…
Last updated: 23rd November 2017
Jump to: MUSICALS | DRAMA | COMEDY | CABARET | IMMERSIVE
Follies | National Theatre
If you have a penchant for musicals where the characters also have ghost versions of themselves, you’ll love Follies – a classic Sondheim number that was last fully produced in London 30 years ago. Set amidst a bittersweet reunion of ageing showgirls in their old theatre set for demolition, it’s filled with poignant, powerful ballads, wry humour, and a star turn by Imelda Staunton.
Dinner before: Over the river at Spring
Drinks after: Cocktails with a view at Dandelyan
Details: Follies runs at the National Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) until 3rd January. Tickets have now sold out, but you can queue in person for returns and day tickets from 8.30am. Find out more HERE.
Girl From The North Country | Noel Coward Theatre
Bob Dylan was lying. All he really wanted to do was to create a subtly heart-wrenching, low-key musical painting a picture of desolate, Depression-era Midwest America.
…So it’s a good thing that his team approached critically lauded playwright and director Conor McPherson to create this touching musical tableau, where an interweaving cast casually pick up an instrument to express their innermost needs and frustrations through an eclectic selection from Dylan’s back catalogue.
Dinner before: Fresh seafood from freshly-opened The Oystermen
Drinks after: Tequila cocktails at Café Pacifico
Details: Girl From the North Country runs at the Noel Coward Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) from 29th December until 24th March 2018. Tickets cost from £53.50 to £98.50, and can be purchased HERE
Five Guys Named Moe | Marble Arch Theatre
Trust us, these five guys are going to give you a much better evening than a burger joint. They’re also ghosts, but that’s besides the point. Appearing to the hero, Nomax, in a drunken stupor, the five Moes take him on a magical restorative journey through the medium of jazz-funk from R&B trailblazer, Louis Jordan – made all the more exuberant by the close-range sextet, multiple stage areas and unique setting of a pop-up jazz bar.
Dinner before: Vegetarian delights at The Gate
Drinks after: Lashings of rum at Burlock
Details: Five Guys Named Moe runs at the Marble Arch Theatre (closest tube station Marble Arch) until 24th March. Tickets cost from £10 to £94.50 and can be purchased HERE
An American in Paris | Dominion Theatre
Having played in both America and Paris, the revival of MGM’s classic musical has hit the wildcard choice of London, bringing with it a riot of colour, ostrich plumes and Parisian joie de vivre. Soundtracked by a ream of Gershwin-penned tunes, expect big, irresistibly catchy dance numbers, a stunningly artistic set, and kicks higher than you could get even remotely near enough to shake a stick at.
Dinner before: Masterchef cuisine at Mere
Drinks after: Fairylit sipping at Bloomsbury Club Bar
Details: An American in Paris runs at the Dominion Theatre (closest tube station Tottenham Court Road) until 6th January. Tickets cost from £19.50 to £125, and can be purchased HERE
Matilda | 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 has had critics positively raving, and is carried by a genuinely exceptional cast of kids. Get ready to hastily spotify the soundtrack all the way home.
Dinner before: Misnomered dim sum at Ugly Dumpling
Drinks after: A well-nomered swift at Swift
Details: Matilda runs at the Cambridge Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 27th May 2018. Tickets cost from £20 to £122.50, and can be purchased HERE
42nd Street | Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Sometimes it turns on the waterworks, but this firework of a chorus-line musical will leave nothing but a smile on your face. Sure, some of the lyrics might be a little dubious these days (“What’s cute about a little cutie is her beauty, not brains”), but the sight of forty pairs of feet drumming the floor in perfect unison can hardly fail to entertain.
Dinner before: Italian-tinged tapas at Opera Tavern
Drinks after: A bottle (or a case) at The 10 Cases
Details: 42nd Street runs at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 27th May 2018. Tickets cost from £15 to £125, and can be purchased HERE
Hair | The Vaults
This Hair’s been so well-received, it’s got an extension.
Now playing till mid-January, the flower-powered musical has been given an impressively designed reboot at the subterranean Vaults, fittingly kitted out with a wigwam style bar serving up 60s beverages amidst bohemian throws and tie-dye cushions. And in suitably sixties style, they’re even hosting a performance where clothes are entirely optional.
Dinner before: Far too much food at Florentine
Drinks after: The pleasingly bizarre Vaulty Towers
Details: Hair runs at the Vaults (closest tube station Waterloo) until 13th January 2018. Tickets cost from £25 to £50, and can be purchased HERE
Romantics Anonymous | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Unlike other anonymous help groups, Romantics Anonymous only needs one stage – on which you’ll see the painfully awkward (and therefore hilarious) romance play out between two cripplingly shy chocolatiers, complete with accordions, flying, and agony aunts in bobble hats. As Emma Rice’s final directorial hurrah at the Globe, it’s not one to miss.
Dinner before: Top shelf tacos at El Pastor
Drinks after: Secret sippables at Call Me Mr. Lucky
Details: Romantics Anonymous runs at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (closest tube station Cannon Street) until 6th January 2018. Tickets cost from £10 to £62, and can be purchased HERE
Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre
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 to drop this century is finally coming to British shores.
And you are not throwing away your shot to see it.
Following the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, it’s a revolutionary musical that raps its way through history (props for finding a rhyme for ‘monarchy’) – and has already earned a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations for its troubles.
Dinner before: Upmarket comfort food at Rail House Café
Drinks after: The Drunken Oyster above Hai Cenato
Details: Hamilton runs at the Victoria Palace Theatre (closest tube station Victoria) from 6th December until 30th June 2018 (but it will definitely be extended). Tickets cost from £20 to £200, and are sold out for this initial part of the run – but you can still get tickets in various ways, click HERE to find out how.
The Ferryman | Gielgud Theatre
There was a lot of back and forth about this production, but they decided to put in on in the end. And you can be glad they did, because the ebullient new play from the lauded Jez Butterworth has won the hearty approval of critics with its dynamic staging, spine-tingling writing and excellent cast – one of whom gives a commendable performance, despite being an actual baby.
Dinner before: Bib Gourmand-awarded mezze at The Barbary
Drinks after: Intimate nightcaps at Balls & Company
Details: The Ferryman runs at the Gielgud Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) until 19th May 2018. Tickets cost from £39.50 to £89.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Network | National Theatre
The original film cleaned up at the Oscars in the 70s, (including both the first posthumous award, and a Best Supporting Actress award for a mere 5 minutes and 2 seconds of screentime), and this epic stage edition is set to be just as groundbreaking. Oh, and they’ve got Bryan Cranston in the lead, which probably helps.
Dinner before: Riverside views at Sea Containers
Drinks after: Al fresco craft brews at The Understudy
Details: Network runs at the National Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) until 24th March 2018. Tickets are now sold out, but you can find out ways to get hold of any day tickets or returns HERE.
Ink | Duke of York’s Theatre
The morality of journalism.
Strangely enough, it’s not always black and white. Or so James Graham shows us when charting the rise of the Sun in his fast-selling new play, Ink. Documenting Murdoch’s early career without lecturing on the ethics, you’re left to your own conclusions – and can enjoy a very impressive set while you form them.
Dinner before: Showstopping tapas at Sibarita
Drinks after: Time-travelling concoctions at Mr. Fogg’s Tavern
Details: Ink runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 6th January 2018. Tickets cost from £10 to £115, and can be purchased HERE
Labour of Love | Noel Coward Theatre
…and of course if you liked that, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Graham’s other play storming the West End, exploring the last 20 years of the Labour party’s fluctuating fortunes. Martin Freeman and Tamsin Grieg play amusingly begrudging colleagues in a cramped constituency office, sticking through thick and thin over the course of two decades.
Dinner before: Classic seafood at J. Sheekey
Drinks after: Classic cocktails at the Experimental Cocktail Club
Details: Labour of Love runs at the Noel Coward Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 2nd December 2017. Tickets cost from £10 to £100, and can be purchased HERE
Oslo | Harold Pinter Theatre
Oslo started off on Broadway, bagged this year’s Best Play at the Tonys, and transferred to the West End after a sold out run at the National Theatre.
And while you might be thinking Norway! you’ll soon see why: it’s a pacy political number based on the 90s peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine – which, somewhat unexpectedly, took place predominantly in clandestine, not strictly-above-board meetings in the house of a Norwegian couple.
Dinner before: Venetian small plates at Veneta
Drinks after: Japanese concoctions at Machiya
Details: Oslo runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 30th December 2017. Tickets cost from £18 to £125, and can be purchased HERE
The Rome Season | Barbican
Rome may not have been built in a day… but you can certainly watch it collapse in one. And it’ll make an interesting watch at the Barbican, when the RSC bring their season of Shakespeare’s ancient historical plays to the stage, including Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Titus Andronicus – a cheery number where a man bakes his children in a pie.
Dinner before: A little something at Little Quiet
Drinks after: Whisky served from an actual tree at Black Rock
Details: The RSC’s Rome Season runs at the Barbican (closest tube station Barbican) until 20th January 2018. Tickets cost from £10 to £75, and can be purchased HERE
Witness For The Prosecution | London County Hall
Courtroom dramas don’t always make great plays.
But then, who are we to judge?
And a revival of Agatha Christie’s shorter-running play (read: fewer than 60 years), Witness For The Prosecution, is certainly one to buck the trend. Given an atmospheric twist by director Lucy Bailey; it’s 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
Details: Witness For The Prosecution runs at London County Hall (closest tube station Waterloo) until 11th March 2018. Tickets cost from £10 to £95, and can be purchased HERE.
The Play That Goes Wrong | Duchess Theatre
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
Details: The Play That Goes Wrong runs at the Duchess Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) until 30th September 2018. Tickets cost from £20 to £67.50, and can be purchased HERE.
A Woman of No Importance | Vaudeville Theatre
Unlike Ernests, women could apparently be described as unimportant in Oscar Wilde’s day – as his forward-thinking play on double-standards explores. A critically-acclaimed performance by Eve Best converts the wronged lead to a stronger figure revelling in her independence, giving one of his less popular plays a new lease of life.
Dinner before: Seasonal delights at Rochelle Canteen at ICA
Drinks after: Subterranean vino at Gordon’s Wine Bar
Details: A Woman of No Importance runs at the Vaudeville Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square/Charing Cross) until 30th December. Tickets cost from £19.50 to £75, and can be purchased HERE.
La Soirée | Aldywch Theatre
La Soirée have fired the human cannonball. They’ve let the trapeze artist go. And they’ve gone for the juggler.
Because their version of a circus is an Olivier award-winning, all-adult, all-risqué, burlesque, cabaret, and sideshow cocktail. And it’s back in London for the winter.
Dinner before: Sumptuous Italian at Café Murano
Drinks after: Un petit nightcap at Champagne + Fromage
Details: La Soirée runs at the Aldwych Theatre (closest tube station Covent Garden) from 24th November until 3rd February 2018. Tickets cost from £19.50 to £79.50, and can be purchased HERE
The Great Gatsby | Mystery Location
This isn’t your average, everyday, garden variety Gatsby. It’s the great one, and he’s throwing one heck of a party – and you’re invited. 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.
Details: The Great Gatsby runs somewhere mysterious (closest tube station Borough…) until 30th December 2018. Tickets cost £38.40, and can be purchased HERE
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