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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: The Comedy of Errors (Photo courtesy of Royal Shakespeare Company)

    The Comedy of Errors is kind of like a Shakespearean comedy highlight reel. The play has everything you want from the Bard: Twins? Check. Mistaken identities? Check. A separated family? Check. So, spoiler alert, you're bound to get a night full of pratfalls, romance, and teary reunions? It's ideal for both Bard novice and experts alike. I took a friend to the Royal Shakespeare Company production, playing at the Barbican, who had never seen a Shakespeare play onstage beyond studying his works in...

  • Photo credit: Ralph Fiennes (Photo by Matt Humphrey)

    TS Eliot's dense, sprawling, four-poem cycle exploring time, faith, mortality, history, love, and everything in between doesn't exactly scream commercial theatre. And yet, thanks to a simply phenomenal performance by Ralph Fiennes, this passion project - which he toured earlier in the year - becomes an unlikely new West End gem. In an Eliot-worthy paradox, it's both challenging and serene, a whirlwind of ideas yet giving us the profundity of space, of silence.Written between 1935 and 1941, the...

  • Photo credit: Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) Tom Larkin (Tiger Head) Nicholas Khan (Pi's Father) (Photo by Johan Persson)

    A teenage boy adrift at sea for 227 days with only a Royal Bengal tiger for company? Yann Martel's Booker Prize-winning philosophical novel Life of Pi is the ultimate adaptation challenge - which is what makes this triumphant Sheffield Crucible production, now playing in the West End, such a pleasure. It's a clear team effort: serious theatrical craft and creative brilliance that results in images of hallucinatory beauty.Hiran Abeysekera plays Pi Patel, who loses his family when the ship...

  • Photo credit: Bernie Dieter (Photo by Craig Sugden)

    Leicester Square is hell on earth. It's a crowded, noisy tourist trap, where crowds congregate to marvel at London's bright lights. Come the festive season though, and Leicester Square is transformed into a winter wonderland with its annual Christmas market. Sitting on the market's outskirts is the Leicester Square Spiegeltent, a specially erected performance space that's home to La Clique. The sizzling cabaret is a pick-n-mix of tantalising treats, and a show where — just like thinking about...

  • Photo credit: Lesley Lemon, Jaye Griffiths, Racheal Ofori, Marcello Cruz,Ian Porter (Photo by Helen Murray)

    The Royal Court is no stranger to controversial plays, but this one - and now? That's one way of describing the faint air of disbelief surrounding Rare Earth Mettle, the Al Smith play that arrives trailing clouds of ill will generated by the name of its leading male character. That personage, an Elon Musk-like entrepreneur and mogul who names his inventions things like "Edison Evelyn", was originally called Herschel Fink as the play was making its way toward the Royal Court mainstage.Outcry...

  • Photo credit: Manor (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

    Moira Buffini's state-of-the-nation play is pegged to that irresistible trope: the dark and stormy night, with a group of strangers forced to seek shelter in a spooky manor house. Naturally it's a powder keg of personalities, and, with Chekhov's gun well established, a storm of violence is inevitable.However, Manor is a curious beast. It certainly nods to the eerie thriller: with the power out, the only light is flickering candles, and there's a ghostly presence upstairs - a possible remnant of...

  • Photo credit: The Wife of Willesden (Photo by Marc Brenner)

    When Brent won its bid to be the London Borough of Culture 2020, novelist Zadie Smith was asked to write something for her beloved district. After a period of panic, she alighted on a fun premise: a modern-day riff on The Wife of Bath from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It was originally intended as a short monologue, but, one misinterpreted press release later, instead became her first play - Kilburn represented in playful rhyming couplets.Some of that authorial whirlwind makes it into the...

  • Photo credit: A Christmas Carol (Photo courtesy of Old Vic)

    How do you improve upon perfection? Here's one suggestion: hire Stephen Mangan. I've now seen Matthew Warchus's gloriously moving, riotously entertaining production of A Christmas Carol four times, including once virtually during the pandemic. So you can well imagine that I thought I knew everything that the production, and Jack Thorne's adaptation, had to offer. As if. Watching Mangan, a Tony-nominated alum of Warchus's remarkable revival of The Norman Conquests, is to witness an actor in such...

  • Photo credit: Straight White Men cast (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    The smaller of the two stages at Southwark Playhouse is turning into the buzziest place in town. Fast on the heels of the terrific Marek Horn play Yellowfin - a British play set in the U.S. - comes the local premiere of this 2018 Broadway entry from Young Jean Lee, who at the time made history as the first female Asian-American playwright to be produced on Broadway. I missed Straight White Men in New York, but I couldn't be happier belatedly to make its acquaintance, the odd structural...

  • Photo credit: Little Women cast (Photo by Pamela Raith)

    It's hard not to fall for Little Women, Louisa May Alcott's seminal novel about four sisters coming of age in New England in the 1800's. The story has everything you want from a nostalgic tale: sisterhood, adventure, romance, sorrow, and the right amount of whimsy. Which is why it's so disappointing that the musical adaptation, from composer Jason Howland, lyricist Mindi Dickstein, and book writer Allan Knee, falls so flat. What leaps off the pages in the book becomes didactic and bland in the...

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