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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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  • 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...

  • Faustus: That Damned Woman

    London is already awash with major re-workings of classic texts, whether nudged into contemporary verse and attitude (Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse), modern dress and language (Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter) or undergoing wholesale cultural re-orientation (Three Sisters at the National, relocated to Nigeria). Now, most radically or playfully of all, depending on how receptive you are to it, the Faustian myth is re-dramatised here in a re-gendered version, which signals its intentions in...

  • The Welkin

    Some plays are easier to admire than to actually enjoy. The hard work with The Welkin starts even with its title - a middle-English word referring to the sky or heavens. As 1759 Suffolk looks to the welkin for the arrival of Halley's Comet, a more earthbound drama is unfolding, as a young woman is sentenced to hang for the murder of an 11-year-old girl. Her claim to be pregnant could save her from the gallows (and sent to the colonies instead), but it needs to be confirmed. So a jury of 12...

  • Uncle Vanya starring Toby Jones and Richard Armitage review

    Michael Billington recently wrote a feature for The Guardian in which he commented that he's seen nearly two dozen productions of Uncle Vanya in over 60 years as a theatregoer (48 of them as a critic); and even if I can't (yet) claim quite those numbers on any of those scores, like Billington I consider it to be my personal favourite of all of Chekhov's plays - indeed, I'd go even further and say it's my favourite play, period, from a writer who I consider my favourite of all the classic...

  • Sunset Limited

    We inevitably each bring a lot of baggage to this thing called life, just as we do to this thing called going to the theatre. And some plays speak to us (or about us) more personally than is perhaps comfortable, which makes them resonate all the more powerfully. Such is the case with The Sunset Limited, a play about a middle-aged college professor who is saved from the brink of throwing himself in front of a subway train by a stranger. This fellow commuter then brings him back to his Manhattan...

  • Les Miserables

    Another fantastic chapter in West End history has been gloriously (re)written, with not one but two spectacular reinventions - first of a theatre itself, in which the Queen's on Shaftesbury Avenue has been reincarnated as the Sondheim Theatre and completely refurbished by its owner Cameron Mackintosh to restore it from a threadbare functionality to which it had previously been brought back 61 years ago from wartime bomb damage to a glowing and welcoming new warmth. Meanwhile, its current tenant...

  • Cirque du Soleil - Luzia

    One of the headline promises of Donald Trump's campaign for the Presidency was to build an "impenetrable, powerful and beautiful" 1,300-mile wall with Mexico to curb illegal immigration and the traffic of drugs across the border; but even as he heads into an impeachment trial in the Senate and the building of that wall has barely begun, Canadian circus super-troupers Cirque du Soleil provide the perfect antidote to all that grim scare-mongering about existential threats from Mexico with this...

  • RAGS

    Fiddler on the Roof - last seen in London last year when the Menier Chocolate Factory revival transferred to the West End's Playhouse Theatre - is indisputably one of the greatest of all Broadway musicals. It's a sweeping, soaring tale of the circumstances that led to the diaspora of Eastern European Jews out of Russia, some of whom in the show are said to be emigrating to America. It had a book by Joseph Stein; 22 years after its 1964 Broadway opening, Stein returned to the theme in another...

  • Magic Goes Wrong

    The set for the original fringe production of The Play That Goes Wrong that opened at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2012 cost just £300. In true fringe fashion, the cast had built it themselves. And as Mischief Theatre co-founder Jonathan Sayer told an interviewer in 2016, "When we were wrapping our home-made set in tarpaulin and carrying it up The Old Red Lion's windy staircase, the idea that people from Hollywood would be involved in a couple of years' time wouldn't have been believable." The...

  • Curtains

    Broadway has sent us a lot of great shows this year, including direct transfers for Come from Away, Waitress and Dear Evan Hansen, in replica productions recreated by their original creative teams. We've also seen superb, all-new new British stagings of more offbeat Broadway titles like Falsettos, Amour and Amélie, not to forgot (though I'd rather do so) an almost entirely unnecessary revival of The Man of La Mancha.Now as a late entry, just under the wire for the Christmas season only, a...

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