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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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  • Photo credit: Dirty Dancing cast (Photo by Mark Senior)

    ​​Nobody puts Dirty Dancing in a corner — at least not for long. The stage musical version of the iconic 1987 movie about a ballroom-fuelled summer romance first hit the West End in 2006, returned in 2013, and is now back again, stopping at the Dominion during its national tour. Judging by the hysterical delight of its opening night audience, it'll be a very happy homecoming.To its credit, this Dirty Dancing — also scripted by the film's creator Eleanor Bergstein — thoroughly understands its...

  • Photo credit: George Fouracres as Hamlet, Polly Frame as Gertrude, Irfan Shamji as Claudius (Photo by Johan Persson)

    A mad production of a play about madness, Sean Holmes's new Hamlet marks the first time for this most oft-performed tragedy at the Globe's indoor playhouse. Say what you will about a sweary, unbridled staging that is likely to divide opinion, Holmes's take on a text sometimes undertaken as an act of duty certainly isn't dull.Indeed, I laughed out loud when the wonderful Ed Gaughan - the play's resident guitarist making an 11th-hour appearance as the Gravedigger - asks the audience whether we're...

  • Photo credit: Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James in A Number (Photo courtesy of Old Vic)

    It's 20 years since Caryl Churchill's spry, elliptical cloning play premiered at the Royal Court with Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig, and it remains a fascinating chamber piece for a talented pair of actors - as we see here with the great Lennie James and Paapa Essiedu in this anniversary revival.James plays Salter, who, following the death of his young son, had him cloned in order to have a second chance at parenting him. But the doctor actually created multiple unauthorised versions - the...

  • Photo credit: The Glow (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Alistair McDowall's supernatural thriller, The Glow, centres on a woman who holds a mysterious glow. It's both ambitious and complex, while also confusing in parts, probably requiring more than one viewing to make sense of the matters that it grapples with.The drama begins in 1863. A spiritual medium Mrs. Lyall (a wickedly cruel Rakie Ayola) collects a neglected woman from an asylum (Ria Zmitrowicz), using her to connect with other spiritual realms. Zmitrowicz is perfectly cast as the troubled...

  • Photo credit: Ava: The Secret Conversations (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    Elizabeth McGovern wrote and stars in this two-hander, which was timed to open 32 years to the day since the movie legend Ava Gardner died of pneumonia in London at the too-young age of 67. But far from functioning as an act of impassioned tribute or revelatory homage, Ava: The Secret Conversations rides this Hollywood star's coattails to no particular effect beyond suggesting that it won't provide the sort of career employment for McGovern that Robert Morse found with Tru or Christopher Plummer...

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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