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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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  • 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...

  • Overwritten — at first enjoyably so and toward the end to diminishing returns – The Fever Syndrome takes its title from an auto-inflammatory affliction besetting 12-year-old Lily Cooper (Nancy Allsop) who at one point is seen writhing prostrate on the floor in agony as her anxious parents look on. But it doesn’t take much to extrapolate from Lily’s mysterious condition to a more generalised plague that has descended upon the Manhattan household seen to populate the multi-storied brownstone on...

  • The first significant London revival of a Stephen Sondheim musical since the great man’s death is Georgie Rankcom’s staging of this little-seen 1964 curio, Anyone Can Whistle. A whimsical political satire written with Arthur Laurents, it is, well, pretty loony. And not just because the plot involves a mass escape from the local asylum, The Cookie Jar. The original Broadway production was a flop, but several songs became cabaret mainstays (“There Won’t Be Trumpets”, “Everybody Says Don’t”). The...

  • A time-honoured title, not least against expectation in the UK, gets a vigorous new lease on life in this West End reboot of To Kill A Mockingbird, a London transplant of the 2018 New York iteration that made headlines as the most commercially successful straight play in Broadway history. Judging by its visceral appeal to a British audience, Harper Lee’s story of racial injustice in 1930s Alabama should resonate no less galvanically here, not least as refashioned by playwright Aaron Sorkin and...

  • Not many plays have won a Tony, Olivier, and Pulitzer, but the enduring power of Bruce Norris’s 2012 Broadway entry Clybourne Park lands once more in its current revival at (aptly enough) north London’s Park Theatre, where the director Oliver Kaderbhai lands the singular savagery of the writing afresh. Its opening delayed by the pandemic, as continues to be a commonplace these days, the play packs a singular wallop that may even be greater now than when this satire was first seen. Like it or...

  • Sit in silence in a busy room, and you’ll hear a lot. The low hum of people talking around you. The flickering lights as they twitch overhead. The unexplainable, disconcerting noises that keep you on edge. Eventually, a voice drowns out all the sounds around you. You listen. You pay attention. You might learn something. But when everyone tunes into one person speaking, what happens next? At first, it’s a slightly awkward realisation for people in the room, but a few minutes in, you’ll realise...

  • The title of Mike Bartlett’s play is clearly meant to provoke. News articles add asterisks or use euphemisms. Email marketing campaigns censor the name for fear of ending up in spam folders. It’s a little naughty. What does COCK really mean? When the play premiered at the Royal Court in 2009 starring Andrew Scott and Ben Whishaw as the central couple torn apart by a new (female) lover, the title was seemingly a nod to cockfighting. When the play later premiered off Broadway in New York in 2012...

  • Stephen Sondheim’s death last November shook many of us to the core and provides a soul-stirring foundation to Maria Friedman’s exultant new show, which opened the same day as news broke that her superb Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along will soon be seen in New York, starring Daniel Radcliffe. In the meantime, Friedman honours not just Sondheim’s legacy but that of her friends Michel Legrand and Marvin Hamlisch, whose widow, Terre, took movingly to the stage at...

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