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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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  • 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...

  • Top marks for Dominic Cooke, who gives a veritable masterclass in how to imaginatively revive a play that has fallen out of fashion. His thoughtful revamp of Emlyn Williams’s semi-autobiographical 1938 work The Corn is Green, about the schoolteacher who changed his destiny, throbs with new life and features a powerhouse turn from Nicola Walker. She stars as Miss Moffat (based on the real-life Miss Sarah Grace Cooke), the indomitable English spinster on a mission to educate children in a rural...

  • There is your standard bio-drama, and then there is Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole. This time-travelling, shape-shifting, intermittently dazzling tribute to the 19th-century British-Jamaican nurse also crashes into the present day, closing the gap between different wars in Ukraine, between the experience of carers, of working mothers, and of Black women. British audiences were first introduced to the experimental American playwright when her Pulitzer Prize-winning Fairview ran at the...

  • A 2011 Broadway flop is getting a second shot in London, following on from a concert performance that brought original New York leading man Jeremy Jordan to London in January, opposite his current Bonnie, the excellent Frances Mayli McCann. As it happens the show’s distaff headliner, McCann, turns out to be the biggest reason for director-choreographer Nick Winston’s strenuous production of a relentless musical that seems to want to position the killers of the title as equivalents of sorts to...

  • Does Mike Bartlett ever sleep? Possibly not, judging from the dramatist’s third London opening in quick succession, even if one of them, Marianne Elliott’s illness-plagued West End revival of Cock, is a play first seen in 2009. And to his credit, Scandaltown at the Lyric Hammersmith – home to a superb pre-pandemic revival of Bartlett’s onetime Royal Court play Love, Love, Love – is as far removed from the angsty Cock as both plays are from The 47th, his ill-focused if well-acted fantasia at the...

  • Shapeshifter Bertie Carvel, mesmerising as Miss Trunchbull and Rupert Murdoch, and soon to play Tony Blair in The Crown, adds to his gallery of rogues with an eerily lifelike Donald Trump in The 47th. In fact, his grand entrance in a golf cart draws gasps from the Old Vic audience. But, good though Carvel is, Mike Bartlett’s latest is a hollow political pageant. It’s another blank-verse, future-history play, like his lauded King Charles III, although this time the Shakespearean references are...

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