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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  • Motherhood is a rife subject for drama and high stakes. Just take a look at some of today's popular television series like Motherland or Working Moms. It's often dramatised on the stage, with a production of the Pulitzer winner 'Night Mother, currently running up north at Hampstead Theatre. So Morgan Lloyd Malcom's Mum at Soho Theatre is in good company. Malcolm doesn't hold anything back in this raw script about a new mother navigating life with an infant who doesn't sleep, a prying...

  • Photo credit: Demetri Goritsas (Roy Scheider), Ian Shaw (Robert Shaw) and Liam Murray Scott (Richard Dreyfuss) in The Shark is Broken (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

    This 2019 Edinburgh Festival smash has belatedly arrived on the West End, trailing wreathes of glory and with onward American destinations presumably in its sights. So I hope it's not overly churlish of me to admire the venture in principle while pointing out that Ian Shaw and Joseph Nixon's three-hander, with Shaw himself leading the cast, is hardly the first north-of-the-border sensation to look somewhat exposed in the altogether different glare of the West End. Put another way, The Shark is...

    Ambassadors Theatre
  • Photo credit: Arinzé Kene (Photo by Craig Sugden)

    How to demystify the icon that is Bob Marley, to separate the man from the mantles placed upon him: reggae superstar, Black hero, poetic advocate of peace and love, ganja-smoking Rasta inspiration, or cool dude splashed across T-shirts and posters in student halls? It's a struggle that this intermittently powerful new show both tackles head on and embodies in its own flawed form.Lee Hall's book is at its weakest when it follows the jukebox bio-musical model, racing breathlessly through Marley's...

    Lyric Theatre
  • Photo credit: Tom Mothersdale and Abigail Weinstock (Photo by Helen Murray)

    Emotions come fast, sometimes funny and more often downright furious in Cordelia Lynn's Love and Other Acts of Violence, which is two-thirds of a major play before going off the rails in a final sequence - an Epilogue which is arresting to look at but thematically hamfisted, even superfluous. The first so-called "proper" play to open at the Donmar Warehouse in 18 months (their much-acclaimed Blindness was a sound installation), this nervy and unnerving one-act is terrifically acted by its cast...

  • Photo credit: Saoirse Ronan and James McArdle (Photo by Marc Brenner)Photo credit: Saoirse Ronan and James McArdle (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    Before the Wyrd sisters utter a word, we know something sinister is afoot. A dark stage features a wheelchair, an oxygen tank, a water spigot, and a wheelbarrow of black boots with a ghostlight illuminating the scene. As the still-life awakens, we're greeted with a tableau of a war-torn country, complete with soldiers and the title Scot picking up his rifle. Something wicked this way comes indeed. Director Yaël Farber's pulsating and achingly current take on Shakespeare's tragedy makes the...

  • Photo credit: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

    Hearing the line "in England, they don't care if you live or die" in The Beauty Queen of Leenane sent my mind whirring. As societies emerge from their chrysalis into Covid's world, receiving less government help has now become a reality for millions of families. Many across the country are now faced with looking after elderly relatives, as well as their own families, while still looking for work and a way to return to a sense of "normalcy."And even though The Beauty Queen of Leenane is set in...

  • Photo credit: Sophie Stanton and Tony Jayawardena in East is East (Photo by Pamela Raith Photography)

    How time flies: I remember being at once entranced and moved by East Is East, when Ayub Khan Din's debut play first appeared in 1996 in a 60-seat central London studio space before moving on to two larger London venues and then Leslee Udwin's highly engaging 1999 film. Since then, the same material has never quite landed in the same way, at least for me: a 2014 revival, starring Khan Din himself as the paternal scold at the play's bruising centre, misfired, and so, to a lesser degree, does Iqbal...

  • Photo credit: Ben Miles in The Mirror and the Light (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    In Hilary Mantel's 2020 novel The Mirror and The Light, the conclusion of her epic trilogy fictionalising the rise and fall of Tudor courtier Thomas Cromwell, the final stages of the story draw together what has up to that point been a sprawling and sometimes disjointed-feeling narrative into a whole that coheres only in hindsight — ours, and Cromwell's. Now that it's all done, we can see the missed opportunities, overlooked hints, the signs the wind was changing. The 2021 stage adaptation of...

    Gielgud Theatre
  • Photo credit: Metamorphoses (Photo by Helen Murray)

    The quartet of actors appear dressed in white for most of the 90 minutes of Metamorphoses, which reopens the Globe's indoor Sam Wanamaker space for the first time since March 2020 and very entertainingly, too. But playgoers would be better advised to take their cue from a red stage floor hinting at the carnage and bloodshed that soon come interspersed amid the deceptive good cheer. Yes, there's an unexpected audience singalong to, of all songs, "American Pie," but the show is more aptly defined...

  • Photo credit: Cush Jumbo (Photo by Helen Murray)

    Like many shows, this Hamlet was long delayed by the pandemic. But Cush Jumbo, now a US TV star thanks to The Good Wife and The Good Fight, gives such a commanding lead performance - crystal clear in intention and riveting delivery - that it absolutely feels worth the wait. Which makes it all the more frustrating that the production surrounding her is so vague and meandering, occasionally enlivened by some good supporting turns, but lacking an overall vision. It plods along while Jumbo itches to...

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