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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  • T'Shan Williams and Carly Mercedes Dyer in The Color Purple (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    The Color Purple has been one of my lifelines in the last year. The inspiring message of discovering your own power to make it through hard times feels relatable and helpful during these seemingly endless days of lockdown. The experience of seeing the show, which features a rousing, gospel-infused score from Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, in the theatre can feel akin to going to church. When I saw the original Broadway production on tour and the stripped down John Doyle-directed...

  • Janie Dee in 'All On Her Own' (Photo by Danny Kaan)

    Solo plays are everywhere these days and why not? Made to order for the constraints and restrictions of our time, the resurgence of the monologue has given rise to entertainments as varied as last year's reboot of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, seen first on TV and then onstage at the Bridge Theatre, all the way to Clint Dyer and Roy Williams's Death of England: Delroy, in which a single performer, Michael Balogun, brought the National's largest stage to teeming, vibrant life. So it's not too...

  • Emily Redpath and Sam Tutty in 'Romeo and Juliet' (Photo by Ryan Metcalfe)

    This gets an A for effort, I suppose. It can't be easy during the pandemic working on Shakespeare given the size and scope of his plays, both of which run counter to the demands of social distancing and other dictates of our infectious times. All credit, therefore, to Metcalfe Gordon Productions for even daring to mount a new Romeo and Juliet available for streaming in this climate: a project put together in two weeks that by necessity required the cast to film their parts individually so as to...

  • Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings in Dick Whittington at the National Theatre (Photo by The Other Richard)

    The National Theatre regularly trawls the world repertoire but has only infrequently dipped a raucous toe into arguably this country's best-loved theatrical institution, the Christmas pantomime, or panto. I dimly recall a Cinderella at this address in 1983, when I had only just moved to the UK, and Christmas 2020 saw only the first panto since then - a busy, bustling, openhearted version of Dick Whittington that closed before opening night (so what else is new in these Covid-ridden days) but...

    Phoenix Theatre
  • A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic (photo by Manuel Harlan)

    A lot has changed between 1843 and 2020, but when it comes to A Christmas Carol, not much feels different, especially this year. Although the Charles Dickens classic has been on stages across the world for holidays seasons for years, this year not excepted, something rings a little closer to home with the classic tale, particularly in Jack Thorne's adaptation, produced here as part of the Old Vic's virtual In Camera series. Ebenezer Scrooge is a bit like Covid-19 to start, in that his...

  • Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen in 'The Comeback.' (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    The Comeback? More like The Shutdown, if Tuesday night's performance this week was any gauge, given that London theatreland went dark yet again as of the next morning. That decision was in accordance with tier 3 restrictions prohibiting people from gathering in playhouses, even though the "sold out" sign in front of the Noel Coward Theatre was met, upon entry into the auditorium, with plenty of deliberately empty seats in accordance with COVID-era protocol pertaining to social distancing and the...

    Noël Coward Theatre
  • Flight (Photo by Mihaila Bodlovic)

    This really is a small wonder. Created by Scottish company Vox Motus and first seen three years ago, it's the story of two orphaned brothers, Aryan and Kabir, who flee their home in Afghanistan to make a new life in London. It's based on the novel Hinterland, by Caroline Brothers - but this, co-presented here by the Bridge and the Barbican, is no ordinary literary adaptation. Instead, its perilous odyssey unfolds in exquisitely detailed model boxes, arranged as a revolving diorama. Each audience...

    Bridge Theatre
  • Mischief Movie Night (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    There's nothing like seeing old friends at holiday time, even if they're onstage. Or especially if they're onstage in this of all blighted years, which I'm sure many would agree can't come to an end soon enough. Imagine my delight, therefore, late one recent afternoon to enter the newly socially distanced Vaudeville Theatre and find the ever-wonderful Mischief Theatre troupe back not with Magic Goes Wrong, the Penn and Teller collaboration with which they were last represented at this address....

  • Courtney Bowman, center, in SIX: The Musical (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    The queens are back, and they're beautiful. Since their creation by Cambridge University students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss in 2017, when they first sashayed before audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, these ritzily reincarnated wives of Henry VIII have stomped their way into the theatre history books. The show - more rock revue than musical - transferred to the West End and became an international hit. Its Broadway opening was delayed by the Covid crisis, but doubtless its conquering of...

    Vaudeville Theatre
  • Sam Oladeinde, Brian Conley, Jacqueline Jossa, and Lucie Jones in A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre.

    With no shortage of visitations by the spooky seasonal favourite this year, why the Dickens would you pick this one? If it's political punch you're after, there's Jack Thorne's Old Vic adaptation (online, thanks to Covid). And for stripped-back storytelling and virtuoso acting, the Bridge's three-hander is the obvious choice. But if you've been missing large-scale spectacle, and you crave the heart-soaring joy of song and dance, then this might be just the ticket.It's a lavish concert version of...

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