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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  • 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...

  • Photo credit: Linda Bassett, Samir Simon-Keegan and John Heffernan (Photo by Johan Persson)

    In between two mammoth outings (The Normal Heart at two hours 45, Hamlet at three hours 15), I caught Caryl Churchill's new play What If If Only, which is roughly the length of the interval of those epics. In fact, it was due to be even shorter - it's gone up to 20 minutes from the originally announced 14 - but the indomitable Churchill proves that small can be mighty, particularly when your work is so innately, and potently, theatrical.The opening stage direction is simply "Someone on their...

  • Photo credit: Roger Bart and Olly Dobson (Photo by Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

    ​​Great Scott! Roger Bart, whose positive Covid test kept him from opening night earlier this month, is once again bringing his 1.21 gigawatts of zany energy to Doc Brown. I went back to Back to the Future to see Bart in action (after catching his understudy Mark Oxtoby), and, in both versions of the time-space-actor continuum, enjoyed a show that is, indisputably, a fantastic night out.This West End musical incarnation of the 1985 movie is over a decade in the making, following lengthy...

    Adelphi Theatre
  • Photo credit: Ben Daniels and Dino Fetscher in The Normal Heart (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

    It is astonishing to think that Larry Kramer's largely autobiographical play debuted in 1985, right in the midst of the AIDS crisis. No wonder it feels like a missive from the battlefield, blood and shrapnel clinging to every word. Staged during a different kind of plague (in fact, this revival was delayed by the pandemic), it takes on new meaning, too, but this is first and foremost a terrible cry from history.The play's standout character is the late Kramer's avatar: infuriating activist Ned...

    Olivier Theatre
  • Photo credit: Luke Thallon and Patsy Ferran (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Who knew there was a Nazi summer camp on New York's Long Island in the 1930s? While renting a house there during the pandemic, American playwright Bess Wohl began reading about Camp Siegfried in the town of Yaphank, where kids marched down Hitler Street and flower beds were planted like swastikas. In fact, it was one of several such camps in the U.S., fascism and hatred gathering force in plain sight.What a compelling premise for drama, and Wohl takes the astute decision to make this an intimate...

  • Photo credit: Is God Is (Photo by Tristram Kenton)

    God is a woman in Is God Is, the electrifying Aleshea Harris play that makes every bit as strong an impression on the Royal Court mainstage as it did off-Broadway at Soho Rep in 2018. (The explosive 90-minute work has also been optioned as a film.) Arriving as part of an exciting sequence of American female writers debuting works in London (Suzan-Lori Parks's White Noise and Bess Wohl's Camp Siegfried are both to come, while Paula Vogel's Indecent only just opened), Is God Is weds the sort of...

    Royal Court

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