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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  • The night belongs to the bohemians, as Baz Luhrmann's iconic 2001 film can-cans its way to vibrant life onstage in Alex Timbers's eyegasmic production. There's a new detail — an elephant, a windmill — everywhere you look in the bedazzled Piccadilly Theatre, dripping in red lights, lace, and velvet with Derek McLane's immersive set. Welcome to the Moulin Rouge. This is not your Parisian night club from the early 2000's in the film or from the turn-of-the-century (other century) France where the...

    Piccadilly Theatre
  • Photo credit: David Suchet (Photo by Ash Koek)

    Sweet but wildly overlong, of interest but also indulgent, David Suchet - Poirot and More: A Retrospective has pitched up for several weeks in the West End, its socially distanced nature ideally suited to these skittish, nervous-making times. And whom better to spend an evening with than Hercule Poirot himself, the actor-knight Sir David Suchet here glimpsed in conversation with Geoffrey Wansell in an evening of reminiscence and instruction that doesn't stray far from a clearly reined-in script....

    Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Photo credit: Pía Laborde-Noguez, Eduardo Arcelus, Jimena Larraguivel, Joseph Balderrama (Photo by Tristram Kenton)

    Has lighting struck twice? Not entirely, though that's not necessarily meant as a demerit. In 1991, the Royal Court's studio-sized Theatre Upstairs premiered a play by the Argentina-born writer Ariel Dorfman called Death and the Maiden that went on to an extended life on the West End and a Broadway perch and film version beyond. And this season finds the same venue proffering a Chilean playwright, Pablo Manzi, with a new play in translation that has notable affinities with Dorfman's work from 30...

    Royal Court
  • The Christmas Carol industry remains a thriving one, and Dickens’s self-described “ghost story of Christmas” has certainly experienced many and varied appropriations since the novella was published in 1843. Even so, it’s hard not to feel that writer-director Alexander Knott only muddies the water with Cratchit, a worthy expansion of a script, December, that Knott premiered online during lockdown late in 2020; that version was filmed at the Old Red Lion Theatre, Knott’s artistic home, with Ryan...

    Park Theatre
  • Photo credit: Trevor Fox and Tamsin Greig in Peggy For You (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

    Christmas came a little bit earlier in the form of the Santa-sent - no, make that heaven-sent - Tamsin Greig, who gives nothing less than one of the best performances of 2021 as the onetime uber-agent Peggy Ramsay, in Alan Plater's 2000 play. Completing a season of revivals of plays first seen at the Hampstead Theatre, Richard Wilson's production of Peggy For You improves on the original, which I saw back in the day with Maureen Lipman in the title role. Not only does Greig instantly give off...

    Hampstead Theatre
  • Photo credit: Habeas Corpus cast (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Plays don't come trickier or harder to pin down tonally than Habeas Corpus, Alan Bennett's 1973 farce of sorts whose abiding topic turns out to be death. Full of jokes about outsized breasts, terminal illness, and suicidal patients who can't get seen by their doctor, this dark comedy would seem an especially odd fit for these morally scrupulous times, not least with Bennett experiencing criticism for some of his more bizarre (at times genuinely off-putting) imaginings. In fact, as Sam Mendes...

    Menier Chocolate Factory
  • Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley in Cabaret (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    We have no troubles here. In here, life is beautiful.The Kit Kat Club is the ultimate escape. After a difficult or even ordinary day, the fanfare, glitz, and glamour feel like a portal to another time, where you'll be greeted with complimentary schnapps, dancing chorus members, and a lascivious pre-show smorgasbord. From the gilded lobby, disco-lit basement, and everywhere in between, the space creates an all-encompassing atmosphere, right down to the aptly named cabaret tables, a design element...

  • Gary Lilburn and Tanya Moodie in Trouble in Mind (Photo by Johan Persson)

    Set in 1950s America, Trouble in Mind follows rehearsals for the fictional play, Chaos in Belleville; a Broadway-bound show about a lynching in a southern town. Despite being a "race" play, the show is written, financed and directed by a roster of white theatremakers.The play-within-a-play format has been used multiple times on stage with hits such as Noises Off, Curtains, and The Play that Goes Wrong to name a few. While these other comedies seek to entertain, Trouble in Mind succeeds in using...

  • Photo credit: Pantoland cast (Photo by Paul Coltas)

    A self-aware show is always a good time, especially in panto season. So when Julian Clary introduces a scene in Pantoland at the Palladium by saying it's from Dick Whittington in 2017, everyone laughs it off, knowing full well this show isn't trying to be high art. A panto is simply for entertaining an audience and bringing families and friends together to laugh. Honestly who can blame Pantoland for being a night of much-needed light-hearted fun in these times? The best way to spread festive...

    London Palladium
  • Photo credit: David Harewood and Charles Edwards in Best of Enemies (Photo by Wasi Daniju)

    Could any political play top the current seething drama in Westminster? Perhaps not, but James Graham's latest is another fascinating slice of history that feels all too pertinent. In fact, our voting in a TV-friendly character as Prime Minister, only to rue the disastrous consequences, can partly be traced back to this key juncture when politics fully embraced entertainment and personality trumped all else.Graham takes us back to 1960s America and a nation teetering on the brink of change....

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