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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  • Inua Ellams in An Evening With an Immigrant

    Poet and playwright Inua Ellams cuts an initially unassuming figure — simply dressed in Converse and a t-shirt, perched on a high stool, clutching a notebook and speaking into a microphone, An Evening With An Immigrant is a self-consciously low-key production — really, more of a poetry reading than a piece of theatre. There's nothing flashy about it — just a writer and his words. It's testament to Ellams's extraordinary talent that this autobiographical show is as engrossing as it is. Tracking...

  • Michael Sheen in rehearsal of Faith Healer (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Social distancing? That would have been the last thing on your mind during the recent livestream from London's venerable Old Vic of Faith Healer, the ever-shifting and seismically intimate drama that was seen across four days as part of that playhouse's In Camera series of plays performed against an empty auditorium. (Their previous offering, the remarkable Three Kings with Andrew Scott, was seen just two weeks previously.)Premiered on Broadway in 1979 where it did a fast fade, Brian Friel's...

  • Ryan Anderson as Pippin, center, and the cast of Pippin (Photo by Bonnie Britain Photography)

    I'll say this about Pippin, the 1972 Broadway musical currently receiving its third London revival within nine years, it gets stranger with every viewing. I'm too young (albeit not by much) to have seen Bob Fosse's original production, though I vividly recall the commercial that gave us a minute of the show for free and made history as the first musical to do so. If you wanted to see the other 119 minutes, you had to head to the Imperial Theatre.And lo and behold the music from that fabled...

    Garden Theatre
  • Kristin Scott Thomas in The Hand of God (Photo by Zac Nicholson)

    Alan Bennett's monologue series Talking Heads is ingeniously booby-trapped. It may look, at first glance, a little safe: all teapots, cosy, unflattering knitwear, and well-kept, conventional suburbia. But pull back the net curtains, and these characters are surviving domesticity in extremis, their personal crises sometimes assuming the proportions of classical tragedy. That could hardly be more true of the pitch-black, bloody tale The Outside Dog (1998), the first in this double bill of playlets...

  • Lesley Manville in The Bed Among the Lentils at The Bridge Theatre (Photo by Zac Nicholson)

    Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues, which chronicle the quiet turmoil of lives behind ordinary suburban front doors, have been on an extraordinary journey. They made landmark TV when they first appeared in 1988, with a second series a decade later and various stage versions over the years.Then this June, mid-lockdown, they arrived back on our screens, along with two new playlets, offering a curious kind of bittersweet comfort. Now eight of those 2020 productions transfer to the stage as...

  • Andrew Scott in rehearsal for Three Kings (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Full disclosure: I don't like one-person shows. As someone who, in pre-pandemic days, saw upwards of 150 shows a year on both sides of the ocean, I would take great lengths to avoid the dreaded solo fare. When social distancing restrictions started to proliferate the form on stages everywhere, I cringed, not knowing what to expect. There are exceptions to this personal rule, of course. Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag. Mike Birbiglia in The New One. Billy Crudup in Harry Clarke. Anything with...

  • Aoife Kennan and Charles Angiama in C-o-n-t-a-c-t (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    No, this isn't Contact, the "dance play" that won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical and was later seen on the West End. Instead, C-o-n-t-a-c-t — the letters are aptly distanced to suit the times — marks the English-language premiere of an alfresco theatre piece that premiered in Paris during lockdown and is now playing simultaneously at three separate London locations: Greenwich, Clapham, and the City financial district. I caught it at that last-named locale — an area whose footfall has been...

  • Ralph Fiennes in Beat the Devil at the Bridge Theatre

    "Dream and reality become indistinguishable." This, David Hare's engrossing new monologue informs us, was part of the bludgeoning battery of effects wrought on his body and mind, as both the playwright and a locked-down Britain battled Covid-19. It's a symptom even those of us spared direct experience of the virus will recognise: 2020 has been a surreal nightmare of terrifying invisible threat, corrupt, incompetent government, isolation, confusion, and racist violence - all of which have...

  • Sleepless, A Musical Romance

    You have to admire the energy and chutzpah behind this new musical, based on the much-loved 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle. The project has been kicking around for over a decade, and had an outing, in a different incarnation, at California's Pasadena Playhouse in 2013. A total rewrite by a new creative team followed, and the transformed version was set to premiere in London in March - until pandemic struck, and theatres went dark. Now, with a plethora of Covid protocols in place, it arrives -...

    Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
  • On Blueberry Hill

    Sebastian Barry, a feted novelist (who is currently the Laureate for Irish Fiction) and playwright, makes his long overdue West End debut with this London transfer for Irish new writing company Fishamble's production of On Blueberry Hill, a play that they commissioned and originally premiered as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2017. His previous plays have included The Stewart of Christendom, seen in London at the Royal Court, and Our Lady of Sligo at the National; but while fellow Irish...

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