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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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  • If you're hoping to arrive at the Young Vic early and have a leisurely perusal of the programme pre-show at Tree, think again. As I made my way down towards the stage, all I could see was the grinning artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah throwing some shapes welcoming people to the space, as actors and audience cut up the dancefloor stage to bone-rattling bass.It's the first spectacle of this show, which takes its inspiration from Idris Elba's album mi Mandela, which he recorded after travelling...

  • Mr Gum

    If you want a good example of eclectic programming, consider this: earlier this year I was sat in the Dorfman watching Downstate, a play about a social house for a group of sex offenders. Last night, the same theatre was full of kids as they watched fat Gary Wilmot float to the sky in a hot air balloon.I may have left one show harrowed, but luckily, that was not the case with Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear.The new musical is based on Andy Stanton's children's novels which, unusually, does not take...

  • The Girl On The Train

    Adapted from the hit thriller novel by Paula Hawkins which told three women's narratives as they became embroiled in a missing person case - which was in turn adapted into a not-so-hit film starring Emily Blunt - Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel's stage version of The Girl on the Train was premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds last year, and pulls into the West End at the Duke of York's as part of a UK tour. But this might be one journey you're grateful to miss.Like the film, the play...

  • Beyond the trilogy of acknowledged dramatic masterpieces of The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the extensive repertoire of Tennessee Williams can sometimes seem ripe and overblown. But the last twelve months have seen another trilogy of his secondary plays brought to the London stage in revelatory ways, from Summer and Smoke (which transferred from the Almeida to the Duke of York's) and Orpheus Descending (at the Menier Chocolate Factory) to the latest...

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is set, according to Tim Rice's ever-concise and anachronistically playful lyrics, "way way back many centuries ago/ Not long after the Bible began."Not quite so long ago, but well over a quarter of a century ago, Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's first musical collaboration Joseph was revived at the London Palladium in a 1991 production that starred Jason Donovan, then at the height of his fame, in the title role. Now the show is back at the...

  • The journey of stories from screen to stage are now well-travelled, especially in musicals, with many (if not most) new musicals originating in popular film titles from the back catalogue - Moulin Rouge is just the latest about to open on Broadway, joining a season that saw King Kong and Beetlejuice added to the roster.On the plays front, stories adapted from page to stage are equally common: a stage version of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is currently one of the most successful new plays...

  • I'm not going to deny that Ibsen's Peer Gynt - here retitled Peter Gynt in David Hare's modern re-framing - is an epic slog. It's a collection of vignettes as a man trudges on an existential crisis through his life, trying to find its essential meaning, against the odds of crises, large and small.These include a very moving scene as he comforts his dying mother (and as someone who witnessed my own mother's death last November, this spoke to me with a profound truth and feeling), and surviving...

  • The hippy tribal rock musical Hair may have ushered in a brand-new age for musicals when it originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1967, but it was the British-born Jesus Christ Superstar, first released as a best-selling concept album three years later, that utterly transformed the landscape. The show's 1972 London stage premiere (a year after a different version had opened on Broadway) would become the longest-running West End musical in history (until it was overtaken in turn by Lloyd Webber's...

  • This tender, bracing and beautiful portrait of family life is a throwback in many ways: not just because it occurs across three time spans in the recent past - from 1997 to 2007 and 2017 - but also to the type of Royal Court play that reflects the tensions and disappointments of a lifelong socialist idealism and activism, and its multiple betrayals from Blair to Brexit.As such, it feels pretty conventional SW1 fare that we've seen at this address regularly in the past; and John Tiffany's...

  • Sue Townsend's novel Adrian Mole is one that has spanned generations, from it's first publication in the '80s to the TV shows that followed. But it's probably fair to say most people under the age of 30 aren't too acquainted with the acne-prone teenager.That was until 2015, when Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary give Moley a new breath of life with a musical adaptation in Leicester. After a run at the Menier Chocolate Factory two years ago, it's making its West End premiere at the Ambassadors just...

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