London Theatre Reviews

Read the latest London theatre reviews on the newest openings across the West End and beyond. Discover more about the latest must-see West End shows, Off-West End productions, and why you need to see shows in London. Scroll through our full theatre reviews listings of London musicals, plays, and live events from our London Theatre critics.

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  • As the clock strikes 11:11 on the Kurios set, a Seeker closes their eyes. Immediately, they’re thrust into a make-believe world with never-ending possibilities. In this cabinet of curiosities, acts defy human boundaries and ask what we can achieve when we let our futures guide us. For Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios, the future is now, and after the pandemic, it’s brighter than ever. The contemporary producer celebrate their 25th anniversary in London with the European premiere of Kurios, a...

    Royal Albert Hall
  • What price inaction? That eternal question hovers poignantly over the terrific revival of Lillian Hellman’s rarely seen Watch on the Rhine, which gets 2023 London playgoing off to a truly dynamic start. This airing of Hellman’s quietly explosive 1940 play marks a sterling Donmar debut for the director Ellen McDougall, previously the artistic director of the Gate. And its capacious, uniformly expert cast conjoins veterans like Patricia Hodge, in grand form as a grandstanding American matriarch,...

    Donmar Warehouse
  • No concert was anticipated quite like ABBA Voyage. The possibility to see the iconic Swedish band on stage once more, not only together again, but appearing as their younger selves, boggled everyone’s minds. But can these ABBA-tars (a colloquial way to describe the quartet’s holograms) entertain audiences as much as seeing the real deal in the flesh? To put simply, yes. ABBA Voyage is a concert for the ages. Over five weeks, 1,000 animators immortalised Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad,...

    ABBA Arena
  • “Hakawati” means storyteller in Arabic, and stories are the reason for being of Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights, playwright Hannah Khalil’s reimagining of the way in which Scheherazade sourced her stories for 1001 Nights. A co-production between Shakespeare’s Globe, where it is playing in repertory in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and Tamasha, the director Pooja Ghai’s production catches something of the zeitgeist. In its insistence on the necessity of women to foreground their experience,...

    Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
  • “It’s December, so we need to decide which woman will be successful in theatre this year,” proclaims the unnamed woman on stage. With a knowing look to her audience on its press night, this woman knows what she wants. Fame. Success. Good reviews. Can this woman write her success story? If we’re talking about Liz Kingsman finding success with One Woman Show, then definitely. The comedy darling took over Soho Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe with her raucous dismantling of millennial storytelling....

    Ambassadors Theatre
  • Not every theatre actor would continue working into his 80s but here’s Ian McKellen, who turns 84 in May, returning yet again to the stage at a time in life when many of his colleagues might prefer simply to rest. Not for the screen’s Gandalf and Magneto a further foray into the Shakespeare repertoire (Hamlet, Lear, his Bard-heavy solo show) that has kept him busy of late. This time round, “Serena” – as the show campily and affectionately renames its internationally renowned star – is donning a...

    Duke of York's Theatre
  • There are giants in the sky! And there are performing giants galore in Jack and the Beanstalk, the latest installment in a Palladium pantomime tradition that celebrates the best of old-school British humour with enough razzle dazzle to light up the West End. Once again, director Michael Harrison sprinkles pantomime magic in the home of variety entertainment. A thinly-veiled story — in this case, Jack sells his cow for five magic beans and ends up with a beanstalk in his backyard, only for the...

    London Palladium
  • Has there ever been a more tempting time to run away to the Forest of Arden? Particularly when it’s an As You Like It as utterly beguiling as Josie Rourke’s, the first production made specially for bijou new London theatre @sohoplace, with its gorgeous musical setting of Shakespeare’s songs – played live on a baby grand piano by composer Michael Bruce – its mix of elaborate period costumes and enviable knitwear, and leaves falling like chic confetti from a ceiling where tree branches are nestled...

    Soho Place
  • How can you possibly reconceive still further A Christmas Carol, the Dickens title that seems on the verge of taking over London theatre at the moment? One unexpected answer is to hand it over to Dolly Parton, the singer-songwriter country music goddess last represented on the West End nearly 4 years ago with her stage musical, 9 to 5. But whereas that screen-to-stage transcription was a comparatively synthetic affair, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol is an unexpected delight. And...

  • A seismic figure in world history, Nelson Mandela gets the levelling-down treatment in Mandela, the blandly hagiographic new musical at the Young Vic that contains not one iota of surprise. Whereas Hamilton (from which this venture has drawn its hardworking American leading man, Michael Luwoye) has shown numerous ways to bracingly reinvigorate history onstage, Schele Williams’s production follows an entirely predictable path. The result, dogged in almost every respect except its dancing, will be...

    Young Vic (Main House)

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