London Theatre – The Best Shows Right Now
Last Updated: 15th October 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.
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.
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 BEST DRAMA | LONDON THEATRE
Death of a Salesman | Piccadilly Theatre
Probably the biggest hit of the year – with 5* reviews across the board – Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell’s production of this classic Arthur Miller play transfers from the Young Vic to the West End. With a stellar cast including The Wire’s Wendell Pierce, Olivier award-winner Sharon D. Clarke and Misty writer/performer Arinzé Kene, the iconic play – depicting the fraught pressures and disintegration of the American dream for salesman Willy Loman – is given a fresh force of life by a black-led cast.
Dinner before: All-American grub at Dirty Bones
Drinks after: Head down to Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel
London Theatre Critics say: The Telegraph 5*; The Times 5*; Financial Times 5*; Evening Standard 5*
Details: Death of a Salesman runs at the Piccadilly Theatre (closest tube station Piccadilly Circus) from 24th October – 4th January 2020. Tickets cost £15-£96.75, and can be purchased 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.
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) until 4th January. Tickets cost £18-£107.50 and can be booked HERE.
IMMERSIVE | LONDON THEATRE
The Great Gatsby | ImmersiveLDN
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 at ImmersiveLDN (closest tube station Bond Street) until 31st May 2020. Tickets cost from £29.95, and can be purchased HERE.
Want to see great theatre for less? Find out how to get cheap theatre tickets in London