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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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  • Groan Ups

    Kids are well and truly back to school, and it's also true of the West End. Joining Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (set in the fictional Hogwarts, beginning as Harry's son Albus enrols) and Everybody's Talking About Jamie (about a year 11 student at a Sheffield comprehensive school) now is Groan Ups, a new play co-written by and starring Mischief Theatre co-founders Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields. Groan Ups follows five students from year two (aged six) and emerging teenagers...

  • The Man in the White Suit

    Not so much firing on every cylinder as misfiring on them, this stage version of the 1951 Ealing comedy film The Man in the White Suit is like the intrepid inventor Sidney Stratton's early experiments in the show: there's always a missing ingredient and they don't quite work, leading to regular explosions. "I know exactly where I went wrong", he keeps saying.But the explosions are never matched by corresponding eruptions of laughter. I'm not sure writer-director Sean Foley knows quite where...

  • Master Harold and the Boys

    Athol Fugard's 1982 play 'Master Harold'... and the Boys is, in his own words, "probably the most intensely personal thing I have ever written". And a nakedly autobiographical play, based on his own childhood relationship to two black waiters who worked at his mother's tea room (a South African term for park cafe) in his native Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, deserves an autobiographical response from me. I, too, was born and brought up in apartheid-era South Africa - and my childhood self...

  • Noises Off

    It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. In which case, Noises Off should be prescribed on the NHS. Like The Play That Goes Wrong that it clearly inspired, it is a play about the putting of a disastrous production, from its tortuous technical dress rehearsal to a messy performance midway through its run (observed from backstage) to one of its final calamitous performances. So the big joke is the mechanisms of the theatre and the machinations of its actors as they try to get through...

  • Peter Nichols died just last month, aged 92, but here's living and welcome proof that a great playwright's work is bound to outlive him. In a career that also spanned premieres at the National and the RSC, his first major hit was A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, originally premiered at Glasgow's Citizens' Theatre in 1967, before transferring to the West End and then Broadway. Returning now for its second West End revival since then, it remains a shatteringly personal play and a deeply involving...

  • Ian McKellen on Stage

    An unadulterated love letter to the theatre, to the actor's life and the prose and poetry that fuel both, Ian McKellen's latest one-man show is a thing of sheer joy and utter wonder: an act of selfless generosity and warmth in every regard.There is, of course, an ever-present danger in any one-person show that it could become an act of self-regard, and it is unquestionably true that McKellen, too, has a lot to be proud of, so he could be forgiven for indulging those qualities. But though false...

  • The Watsons

    Jane Austen only wrote six finished novels before dying at the age of just 41. But an entire industry has developed around her endlessly popular fiction, including multiple film and television versions and plenty of literary (and some not-so-literary) spin-offs inspired by her characters and stories (including one called Pride and Promiscuity, which helpfully provides us with "the lost sex scenes of Jane Austen").She died before completing what would have been her seventh novel Sanditon; it was...

  • Blood Wedding

    In an exchange in a programme note for this vivid, startling new production of Blood Wedding, Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah and guest director Yaël Farber recall their first discussion of a possible collaboration at the theatre, they exchanged lists of plays they wanted to do. This Lorca classic, written in 1932 and first performed in 1933, was at the top of both of their lists. In an act of directorial generosity, Kwei-Armah yields the wish to do it to Farber; and she has repaid...

  • No, Two Ladies has nothing to do with the wonderful Kander and Ebb song of the same name from Cabaret, with its great repeated refrain: "Bee-dle-dee bee-dle-dee dee". But that line just about sums up my own non-plussed reaction to Nancy Harris's convoluted, frequently far-fetched and straining-at-the-seams new play that shares that song title. But truth in politics, these days, is now turning out to be a lot stranger than fiction, so this play is already fighting a losing credibility battle as...

  • Mamma Mia The Party

    Not so much a show as an interactive 3D experience, complete with a full three-course meal, freely-flowing alcohol (only some of which is included in the initial price), all-singing and dancing (and a tiny bit of storyline), Mamma Mia! the Party could be subtitled, 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - again.' The original stage incarnation of Mamma Mia!, which earlier this year celebrated its 20th anniversary in the West End and of course also went global, has not only launched a whole genre of...

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