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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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  • When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other

    This is the single most 'exclusive' theatre event since the Tom Hiddleston Hamlet at RADA in 2017: demand for tickets was anticipated to be so high that prospective theatregoers had to likewise enter a heavily over-subscribed lottery for the chance to actually buy them.But here's the good news for those who didn't succeed in getting them: they were the lucky ones. It's just torture, on both sides of the footlights. (But the actors, I assume, knew what they were getting themselves into having...

  • Violet

    You can wait for ages for two Off-Broadway musicals set around a road trip to arrive in London, and then both arrive at once: Violet, originally premiered in 1997 (and more recently seen in a new Broadway version in 2014), has just received its professional London premiere at the Charing Cross Theatre; and in March the 2013 musical version of the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine will come to the Arcola.But Violet also marks another auspicious West End moment: with Caroline, or Change playing just...

  • Cirque du Soleil's Totem

    Cirque du Soleil's annual post-Christmas London residency at the Royal Albert Hall has become as synonymous with this grand concert venue as the summertime BBC Proms; and while some of the nine big top and arena shows they've brought here over the years since they first appeared here in 1996 have felt excessively padded and occasionally even generic, Totem could be said to be totemic of this brand at its fantastic best.That's when a true theatricality informs the usual parade of astounding feats...

  • Coming Clean

    It's funny how plays can make you feel your age by being very specifically of their time - yet also make you realise that both everything and nothing has changed, too.Seeing Kevin Elyot's first play Coming Clean returns to the London stage at Trafalgar Studios, 37 years after its world premiere at the Bush, where I was to find myself transported back to pretty much where my own gay life in London had begun. I had seen it as a student then, down in London from university, just as I was starting...

  • Sweat

    Review - Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse

    5/5
    Kalita Humphreys Theater

    Just under the wire for 2018, the final London play opening of the year has turned out to be one of the very best. It might have even won my vote for the play of the year but for the fact that Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance long got there first.That does not, however, diminish its significant achievement: while The Inheritance has a scene that shows the utter shock and despair of a group of educated, artsy New York gay men at the election of Donald Trump, Lynn Nottage takes a far longer view...

  • Caroline, Or Change

    I've now seen Caroline, or Change, six times in all - three in its original production by George C Wolfe, in each stage of its progress from off-Broadway's Public Theatre in 2003 to Broadway's O'Neill Theatre in 2004, then London's National Theatre in 2006 (where it won the Olivier for Best New Musical); and three in Michael Longhurst's new British revival, launched at Chichester's intimate Minerva last year, then transferring to Hampstead Theatre and now the West End's Playhouse Theatre. And it...

  • The Band review

    Theatregoers are advised to have a little patience with this new Take That jukebox. With the blessing of the band, unlike 2007 effort Never Forget, Tim Firth tells the story of friendship and nostalgia. While it's hard to deny the hits of Take That as a great soundtrack, The Band is let down by a story that panders to its audience.That said, there's not even much in the way of a plot here anyway. Five girls bunk off school after winning a competition to see their favourite boy band (never...

  • Don Quixote

    The RSC is back, at least part-time, at the Barbican Centre, reversing its former boss Adrian Noble's ridiculous decision to remove the company from their purpose-built London home there back in 2001, but they now have a muddled identity in the capital. The dull old Shakespeare's seem to go to the City of London (they are currently in the midst of a three play season there), where they struggle to compete with the far livelier classical offerings at other London theatres from the National to the...

  • Romeo and Juliet

    The RSC's annual residency at their former full-time London home the Barbican has so far seen two of three productions from the main house at Stratford-upon-Avon transfer to London. Reviewing Macbeth, my colleague Will Longman called it a "tepid, sometimes dizzying production"; RSC deputy artistic director Erica Whyman's version of Romeo and Juliet now is somewhat warmer and conspicuously more lively and deliberately youthful, but it is also over-strenuous in its attempts to contemporise the...

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