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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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  • Upstart Crow

    West End and Broadway stages have long been a recycling centre for successful film titles, usually becoming musicals but occasionally plays (like The Graduate that played at this address); now TV series are also increasingly making the transition, like Only Fools and Horses (still at the Haymarket) and now Upstart Crow, Ben Elton's sitcom here renamed with a definitive article to become The Upstart Crow, but hardly making for a definitive piece of theatre.This isn't to say it isn't a perfectly...

  • Nora: A Doll's House

    Review - Nora: A Doll's House at the Young Vic Theatre

    2/5
    Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

    In 2012 the Young Vic scored a notable triumph with a production of Ibsen's A Doll's House, starring Hattie Morahan in vibrant, tenacious form as Ibsen's increasingly desperate heroine who commits a fraud to protect her sick husband and their family, only to have him cruelly reject her when he finds out what she's done - and then she famously finds her own independence to walk away from him. That production earned Morahan both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for best actress, and...

  • The Visit

    After three consecutive openings earlier in the week of shows that ran for an hour or less each, the revival of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 queasy portrait of moral revenge The Visit at the National Theatre now runs longer than all three of them put together, clocking in at over three and a half hours, including two intervals. But it's a long day's journey into night for diminishing dramatic returns, even as the townsfolk of Slurry, a beleaguered, poverty-stricken industrial town in western New...

  • Far Away

    They say that short is sweet, but it isn't necessarily so. As ever, it is Caryl Churchill - theatre's greatest disruptor - that breaks that rule, with this tense, brooding and brilliantly incisive theatrical short that packs more into 40 minutes than most playwrights achieve in two or three hours. Interestingly, the Donmar Warehouse is duly treating it as a main course, not an appetiser, with tickets at their usual scale of prices, from £10 to £40, so for some in the audience it works out at a...

  • Leopoldstadt Review

    The last new Tom Stoppard play to open directly in the West End was Indian Ink - itself based on an earlier radio play - which premiered at the Aldwych Theatre twenty-five years ago. All of his plays since then have mostly been seen first at the National, including the three-part The Coast of Utopia, Arcadia and The Invention of Love (the latter pair of which then transferred to the West End), with one other play Rock 'n' Roll originating at the Royal Court in 2005 (though its West End transfer...

  • Frances Barber in Pet Shop Boys musical Musik

    Musicals, like films, sometimes have sequels, though the history of them is littered with more failures than successes, as witness the heavily abbreviated runs of Bring Back Birdie (the sequel to Bye Bye Birdie), The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge (which closed out-of-town before reaching Broadway).But Musik is something entirely different: it's a very ripe, clever and frequently hilarious cabaret spin-off from a 2001...

  • Death of England

    Back in 2005, I interviewed Clint Dyer when his production of a musical called The Big Life was about to transfer from Stratford East to the Apollo Theatre, and he became the first black British director to direct a musical in the West End. As he told me then: "The wonderful thing about being black in this country is that as a black person you have an amazing opportunity to be the first at a lot of things."Now, as he directs and co-authors (with Roy Williams) a new play Death of England at the...

  • Albion

    Beautiful country gardens can blossom with age; they can also wither and degenerate, of course, depending on how well they are managed and cared for. The same is true of plays; so it's a particular pleasure to welcome this 2017 Almeida hit back to its original home, where its bracing portrait of a grieving mother trying to make sense of changes in her life registers even more poignantly, re-opening just days after Britain officially left the EU.Meanwhile, the garden that occupies the great...

  • Endgame

    In 2002, the late, great Elaine Stritch brought her solo show At Liberty to the Old Vic, in which she described herself "an existential problem in tights". Now, 18 years later, the same stage is hosting a double-bill of short Samuel Beckett plays that's an existential crisis in two acts, over which the playwright's usual preoccupation with the ever-present imminence of death casts a murky glow. It is also, alas, a lot less enjoyable than Stritch's fiercely compelling, poignantly self-aware...

  • Kunene and the King

    Two giants of South African theatre, one who stayed and one who left but both of whom have garnered international reputations, join forces for this warm and moving play that's partly about the theatre that both have sprung from and partly about the legacy of apartheid that formed them, too. John Kani, now 77, is the one who stayed, though he has travelled frequently, to both London and Broadway, including appearances as an actor and co-author with Athol Fugard and the late Winston Ntshona of the...

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