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London Theatre Reviews

Planning a theatre trip and not sure whether to splurge on the star power and spectacle of a West End musical, experience an intimate drama in a Fringe venue, or check out the latest in new writing at the Royal Court?

See what our reviewers thought about all the latest London theatre offerings with our full theatre reviews listings! From classic dramas to new musicals, our editorial team have written about what they loved and what they didn’t. View our London Theatre Guide reviews below.

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  • “Is this the face of Harvard Law?” the admission team asks in Legally Blonde. They’ve received a last-minute application from Elle Woods, a blonde Barbie-eseque UCLA grad who doesn’t scream “typical lawyer.” In the space of a few months, she charms her way through the Ivy League school, proving that being yourself never goes out of style. We first fell for the Legally Blonde story two decades ago, when Reese Witherspoon played the spunky, feminist law student in the original film. Sheridan Smith...

  • "There’s only one New York Yankees, you can’t have another just because it features some ex-players” says Faye Treadwell in The Drifters Girl. The pioneering African-American music manager has the unenviable job of managing The Drifters, a doo-wop band who on hand dominate the music world, but also suffer from an ever-changing lineup and “copycat” rivals who look to steal their identity. But rest assured, while The Drifters Girl storyline shines a light on the band's issues, there's nothing...

  • My Fair Lady has come home. Bartlett Sher’s celebrated New York production is now playing in the city where its action unfolds, two decades on from Trevor Nunn’s Martine McCutcheon-starring revival. But is this classic musical still an enchanting treat, or does its gender politics preclude our enjoyment of Lerner and Loewe’s incandescent score? The London run of Sher’s production feels more progressive immediately thanks to its casting. It shouldn’t be this revolutionary in 2022 to have a black...

  • Death shadows every moment of The House of Shades, the ambitious new play by Beth Steel that promises an intergenerational epic of O’Neill-like proportions only to seriously lose its way. A top-flight cast can’t make something coherent of writing that wants to conjoin the personal and the political, the realistic and the fantastical, but as often as not settles for bald-faced pronouncements along the lines of “we’re all living through change; it isn’t easy.” Or, later, “we are all moving toward...

  • This seems to be the summer of reinvented classic musicals, from the moody Oklahoma! at the Young Vic to a revamped Legally Blonde at Regent’s Park Open Air. In that vein, Nikolai Foster dishes up his “gritty” Grease, which began Leicester Curve, toured the UK and is now playing in the West End. But is this the one that audiences want? Yes and no. Foster has gone back to Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s original stage musical version, rather than the John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John 50s...

  • Content warning: This review discusses suicide and mental health. When this intimate and innovative revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic premiered in New York, many, including the cast, dubbed the show “Sexy Oklahoma.” The hashtag #thisoklahomafucks permeated social media, as director Daniel Fish’s production showcases the darker, seductive elements of the story about the divisions in a local community on the brink of the titular territory’s statehood. Well, as someone who saw that...

  • In 2017, David Eldridge premiered his heartfelt two-hander Beginning at the National Theatre: a real-time, 100-minute play following a man and woman in their thirties who are negotiating a possible hook-up – and perhaps something more. Now, he’s back with the second instalment of this trilogy, Middle, featuring a new pair who are 10 years older and facing a different sort of life and relationship crisis. Once again, Polly Findlay takes on the directorial challenge of a sustained 100-minute...

  • If you think too hard about Much Ado About Nothing, things don’t stand up to too much scrutiny — like the title suggests. Why, exactly, does everyone need to keep tricking one another into doing things? What are the villain’s motivations again? Lucy Bailey’s new production for Shakespeare’s Globe introduces some additional questions: if this is the 1940s, and the war that begins the play is thus implied to be World War 2, which side are our wacky, very Italian heroes on? Is everyone drunk, and...

  • Jez Butterworth’s 2009 tragicomedy Jerusalem, starring Mark Rylance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron, has long been heralded as among the greatest plays of the decade, if not century. So, does this feverishly anticipated revival – once again led by Rylance and Mackenzie Crook as sidekick Ginger, and directed by Ian Rickson – cement its place in theatre history? In short: hell yes. Like all great state-of-the-nation epics, it feels different, but just as potent, in this new context. It can certainly be...

  • She shot to fame playing psychopathic assassin Villanelle in Killing Eve, but Jodie Comer’s West End debut in Suzie Miller’s one-woman show Prima Facie is closer to her recent turn as a care home worker in Help. Once again she embodies an urgent real-life issue, this time an indefensibly broken legal system, and, in an astonishing tour-de-force performance, Comer commits, body and soul, to laying bare the human cost. When we first meet her character Tessa Ensler, she’s a hotshot barrister, a...

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