London Theatre – The Best Shows Right Now
Updated On 27th September 2018
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 MUSICALS | LONDON THEATRE
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 determined 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: Homely Spanish at Morada Brindisa Asador
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 6th April 2019. 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: Hamilton runs at the Victoria Palace Theatre (closest tube station Victoria) pretty much indefinitely. Tickets 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 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 (Bruce Bogtrotter performing vocal acrobatics while standing on a school desk is a true highlight), 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 20th October 2019. Tickets cost from £20 to £122.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Misty | Trafalgar Studios
Grime might have started in East London, but it’s finally coming to the West End. Misty is a pacy, pioneering fusion of theatre, grime and live music, transferring to Trafalgar Studios after a sell-out run at the Bush Theatre. An electric performer, writer Arinzé Kene (who’s previously featured in The Pass with Russell Tovey and trodden the boards in Girl From The North Country and The Lion King) is joined on stage by live musicians and a constantly shifting set, challenging stage conventions to explore the realities of inner city London living.
Dinner before: Seasonal delights at Rochelle Canteen ICA
Drinks after: Time-travelling cocktails at Mr. Fogg’s Society of Exploration
Critics say: Financial Times 4*; The Telegraph 4*; The Guardian 4*
Details: Misty runs at Trafalgar Studios (closest tube station Charing Cross) until 17th November. Tickets cost £15-£45 and can be purchased HERE.
THE BEST DRAMA | LONDON THEATRE
The Jungle | Playhouse Theatre, London
The Jungle has just transferred to the West End after a critically acclaimed run at the Young Vic. But strictly speaking, this is its second transfer. Because this play – written by two former volunteers, and featuring a cast made up of many former refugees – comes from the Calais Jungle itself, set in a pop up, reconstructed version of the makeshift Afghan café that sprung up amongst the chaos. It’s an unsurprising rollercoaster of emotions, taking you through the horrors and small triumphs of the different lives lived out in the camp with breathtaking candour.
Dinner before: Spiced, smoky meats at the Tandoor Chop House
Drinks after: Share a bottle at Gordon’s Wine Bar
London Theatre Critics say: The Guardian 5*; The Independent 5*; The Stage 5*
Details: The Jungle runs at the Playhouse Theatre (closest tube station Embankment) until 3rd November. Tickets cost from £18.80 – £81.30, and can be purchased HERE.
King Lear | Duke of York’s Theatre
There’s an old theatre saying that if you’re old enough to play Lear, you’re too old…
This is Sir Ian McKellen’s second time in the title role.
At the age of 79, it’s no mean feat – but this production (a transfer from an acclaimed run in Chichester last year) has put that adage well and truly to bed, thanks to a personal, intimate and probing portrayal of the declining king; made all the more poignant by McKellen’s vow that this will be his last Shakespeare. Visually stunning, it’s a fitting swansong that assaults the emotions and drags you down with him in his descent to madness…
And at least he won’t forget the lines.
Dinner before: Creative plates at Henrietta
Drinks after: Head down the Strand to Eve
London theatre critics say: The Guardian 4*, Telegraph 4*, Londontheatre 5*
Details: King Lear runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre (closest tube station Leicester Square) until 3rd November. Tickets cost from £25-195, and can be purchased HERE.
The Lehman Trilogy | National Theatre
Plays about great financial crises. They can be a little depressing. But this elegant translation of Italian playwright Stefano Massini’s three-act play tells the unexpectedly captivating story of the Lehman Brothers, from the humble Alabama cloth shop opened by three German Jewish immigrant brothers, to their grandson who ran what had by then become America’s fourth largest investment bank into the ground. Slickly presented by a cast of three multi-roling actors (Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley) and directed by Olivier award-winning Sam Mendes, this show’s headed for anything but a slump.
Dinner before: Riverside terrace dining at Sea Containers
Drinks after: Head back for a nightcap at Dandelyan
London theatre critics say: The Times 5*; The Guardian 5*; The Telegraph 4*; The Stage 4*
Details: The Lehman Trilogy runs at the National Theatre (closest tube station Waterloo) until 20th October. Tickets are generally sold out, but you can still get hold of them via Friday Rush or Day Returns. Find out more 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
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 31st March 2019. 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 7th April 2019. Tickets cost from £20 to £67.50, and can be purchased HERE.
IMMERSIVE | LONDON THEATRE
Hidden Figures | The Biscuit Factory
Returning after a sell-out run, this immersive adventure gives a voice to the unsung heroes of WWII. You’ll be given a true historical identity to adopt, unravelling their story as you weave your way through a maze of authentically decked-out bunkers, encountering characters, solving puzzles and attempting to pass military tests and challenges. Part immersive show, part escape room, part cocktail-laced history lesson, it’s unlike anything else you’ll have encountered…
Dinner before: Top-shelf tacos at Tortilleria El Pastor
Drinks after: Botanical cocktails at The Midnight Apothecary
Critics say: LondonTheatre1 5*; View From The Cheap Seats 5*; West End Wilma 4*; Theatre Box 4*
Details: Hidden figures runs until 29th December at The Biscuit Factory (closest tube station Bermondsey). Tickets cost from £22.50-£30 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 31st December 2018. Tickets cost £32.50, and can be purchased HERE.
Main image: Shakespeare’s Globe
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