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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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  • Round The Horne was a popular BBC radio comedy sketch show which regularly pulled in huge weekly audiences of 15 million listeners. It ran for four series from 1965 until 1968 and consisted of a regular line-up of performers, including Carry On star Kenneth Williams. The show has now been brought back to life by Producer/Director Tim Astley, Artistic Director of the Apollo Theatre Company, recreating some of its best sketches by using material from the original radio broadcasts. For some, this...

  • It's been fifteen years almost to the week that I first saw Disney's The Lion King in what was its first year in the West End. I don't think even Disney could have predicted that sixteen years later the show would still be London's most popular musical, selling out performances eight times a week and playing to packed crowds.Judging the show against the current climate of the West End, I worried some of the magic may have faded, but Julie Taymor's staging and costume design remains some of the...

    Lyceum Theatre
  • The Donmar musical - like those at the Menier Chocolate Factory — used to be a regular fixture, both under Sam Mendes and then Michael Grandage. Now Josie Rourke at last seizes the initiative and makes her own musical theatre directing debut at the theatre she now runs, and scores a bulls-eye winner with her first foray into the genre.It helps that she's chosen a winner to begin with: to be precise, a Tony and Laurence Olivier Award winner for Best Musical for its original Broadway and West End...

  • Never saw the 1954 film: Bing Crosby was a bit passé even for my generation. But the song is inescapable, and in certain moods, dammit, can still stir the heart. The musical been done for a UK tour but astonishingly this is its first big West End outing.And a few times, especially in the first half, I could see why. Not to put too fine a point on it, its gentle aw-shucks goodwill and its ambling, I-feel-a-song-coming-on structure at times makes Top Hat o look as cutting-edge as Cabaret. But...

  • The anticipation of a new production of 'The Tempest' usually initiates in me a feeling of impending frustration. Why? Because the traditional view of this last of Shakespeare's triumphs is that it is a play about revenge. And a glance at the synopsis for this new version at the Globe Theatre, shows this idea has still not been eradicated. But even a brief skim-through of the first few pages of the text tells you that the main character in the play, Prospero, is only concerned about his...

  • Here's another chance to see this all-male version of Shakespeare's 'Twelfe Night' which previously had a run at the Globe over the past summer. It features Mark Rylance as Olivia and Stephen Fry as Malvolio, and is running alongside another of last summer's successes at the Globe, Richard III, again with Mark Rylance in the lead.Entering the auditorium, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Globe had been squashed and miraculously trundled indoors for the winter. Two small galleries made...

  • Based on a 1970 play by Christopher Bond, this retelling of the story of the 'Demon Barber of Fleet Street' first appeared in 1979 and boasts a book by Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Coming from the prolific Chichester Festival Theatre, this is one of those productions that really is stunning both in its execution and in terms of the story and music, making it one of the must-see musicals of, perhaps, the decade.The story of Sweeney Todd emanates from the England of the...

  • Four successful films are sufficient credentials to warrant a stage appearance for the swamp-dwelling ogre, Shrek. And it has duly arrived with Nigel Lindsay as Shrek and Richard Blackwood as his side-kick, Donkey. As you might expect, the colour theme of the show is ... green! For the uninitiated, Shrek's skin is green, hence the choice of colour, or at least I presume that is the rationalisation for it. At the beginning, we're given a glimpse into Shrek's past in a scene where his parents push...

    Eventim Apollo
  • The National Theatre isn't one of those organisations that plays safe or shuns risk-taking. Of course, old favourites make regular appearances, but there's also lots of new and interesting things which pop up on quite a regular basis. Some, like the brilliant 'War Horse', are ideas which, at least on paper, might not have seemed potential hits. Try thinking how you might have reacted to the suggestion of having puppet horses made of see-through cane as the major feature of the show! So what's...

  • Give actors the chance to camp it up and/ or ham it up and it's like ducks taking to water after a prolonged drought. Not that I am suggesting that our hard-working thespians are all hams at heart, but I suppose it's a welcome change to have the chance to do something with no hidden meanings, or strident emotions to conjure up night after night, and to just, well, have a bit of a laugh. And that's the kind of opportunity the cast of this show have been offered and have taken up with vigorous...