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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  • Regent’s Park’s second musical of the summer is the Covid-delayed 101 Dalmatians, a brand-new stage version of Dodie Smith’s beloved children’s book. It’s a particularly apt choice since Smith’s fictional family live in Regent’s Park, and indeed the opening number lovingly celebrates the verdant north London spot. Elsewhere, however, this new adaptation – by Zinnie Harris, with a book from Johnny McKnight and score by actor Douglas Hodge – diverges significantly from the source material, and...

    Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
  • It might seem odd for a play called Closer to receive a production keen on distancing the material from the audience. But that’s the perverse effect of this 25th-anniversary remounting of Patrick Marber’s era-defining play, which I saw in its original London and Broadway bows and in revival in 2015 at the Donmar. Directed by Clare Lizzimore, whose close affiliation with the writer Mike Bartlett (Cock, Bull) suggests an affinity for comparably scabrous drama, Marber’s play is here given a...

    Lyric Hammersmith
  • Central London in this scorching weather is a miserable business, so why not escape to the Italian Riviera? In fact, Simon Godwin’s delectable production of Much Ado About Nothing looks, sounds and probably even tastes so good (the latter thanks to a judiciously deployed gelato cart) that you just want to dive in headfirst and never leave. This beautifully detailed updating transports Shakespeare’s play to a seaside hotel in Sicily, the Messina, in a fantasy 1930s. It’s managed by Leonato and...

    Lyttelton Theatre
  • Is this the next One Man, Two Guvnors? The comparison is inescapable: it’s another updating of a classic work – this time a Boy’s Own version of Sheridan’s 1775 The Rivals – by Richard Bean, collaborating with his One Man, Two Guvnors star Oliver Chris. The Covid-delayed Jack Absolute Flies Again now finally lands successfully in the Olivier, and if it’s not quite a match for Bean’s earlier triumph, it’s still a vivid comic gem. The action has been transposed to an English stately home in 1940,...

    Olivier Theatre
  • One of the undoubted highlights of 2021 was Broadway director Kathleen Marshall’s sensational revival of Anything Goes. With its gleefully silly ocean liner-set story, thrilling tap dances, irresistible Cole Porter score, and with American star Sutton Foster reprising her Tony-winning performance as Reno Sweeney, it was the perfect “Welcome back” to large-scale live theatre. So, is this returning production, which features significant cast changes like Kerry Ellis taking over from Foster, still...

    Barbican Centre
  • Peter Morgan, our well-established chronicler of modern history – from TV dramas The Crown and The Deal to plays like Frost/Nixon and The Audience – now turns his shrewd gaze on Vladimir Putin. Or rather onto the man who claims that he “made” Putin, billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky, and who, in the exhilarating Patriots, then battles the President for the soul of Russia. Morgan’s version of events has something of the tragic arc of Frankenstein: the brilliant but arrogant man who rejects...

    Noël Coward Theatre
  • You could say this was a play about a storm in a teacup – and that would be apt, since it’s set in and around the sort of English rural vicarage where tea is reliably the lubricant of parish business. In this case, though, the vicar himself prefers his refreshments considerably stronger. Stephen Beresford’s new drama, a co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre, is about a churchman’s crisis of conscience occasioned by the bereaved mother’s demand for balloons at her daughter’s funeral....

    Bridge Theatre
  • Can it really be 25 years since Kathryn Hunter first played King Lear, the diminutive but mightily gifted performer blazing a gender-flipped trail for the likes of Glenda Jackson, who would follow in the same role on both sides of the Atlantic two decades later? Astonishingly so, and here Hunter is again undertaking this most momentous of tasks, this time at Shakespeare’s Globe. As it happens, I caught Hunter’s return to the part in the same weekend that saw the passing, age 97, of the great...

    Globe Theatre
  • Let’s start off with a confession: I am a glasses-wearing, book-loving woman of a certain age who adored Belle when Beauty and the Beast hit cinemas in 1991. Today, little girls wear Elsa gowns, I wore that iconic yellow dress. (Though if we’re being honest, the blue pinafore is much more my style.) So, it’s a little surprising that last night at the London Palladium was my first time seeing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast onstage. And I felt just like that 5-year-old girl, tearing up because I...

    London Palladium

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