Book tickets to the best-reviewed West End shows

Discover five-star West End shows to see in London right now, including Guys & Dolls and Six. Get tickets to hit musicals and plays on London Theatre.

Bea Maynard
Bea Maynard

For the first few performances of a West End show, the show is typically in previews. The preview period allows the show to be performed in front of an audience to help spread the word of a new production, as well as allow the actors and creatives to continue working on reaching the show’s finishing point.

Once the preview period finishes, West End shows typically invite reviewers for the official opening night. Shortly after, theatre critics publish their reviews, allowing the general public to find out more about the show and guide audiences into deciding what show to see.

We’ve collated our best-reviewed shows for all West End productions currently playing. Of course, all reviews are subjective, so one person’s point of view may differ from what you’re looking for in a show. However, when a show receives fairly unanimous critical praise, it’s likely to be a hit! Find the West End show for you with our best-reviewed shows in the capital.

Read our West End and Off-West End reviews on London Theatre.

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Sunset Boulevard

"Nicole Scherzinger headlines an electrifying, revolutionary revival" of Andrew Lloyd Webber's modern classic, our five-star Sunset Boulevard review reads. In the iconic role of fading film star Nora Desmond, "there’s a go-for-broke quality that somehow works. She hits the money notes with X Factor-esque triumph."

"[Director Jamie] Lloyd walks a wavering tightrope between postmodern wit (a bravura sequence follows Joe backstage and out onto the street), in concert with the snarky, satirical book, and visceral emotion that makes Lloyd Webber’s gorgeous score, with modified orchestrations, soar afresh," our critic wrote. "This is a Sunset Boulevard for a new generation."

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Wishmas

If you're looking for a wholly unique Christmastime outing, Wishmas grants your wishes. This interactive adventure in Waterloo takes audiences on a journey with Wishkeepers, who help Father Christmas make sure no one's wishes get lost.

"From the moment you cross the threshold, The Old Bauble Factory transports you into a world of jingling sleigh bells, twinkling lights, and irresistible festive aromas, setting the stage for a truly delightful experience," our five-star Wishmas review reads. "The attention to detail in creating a Christmas ambience is impeccable, immersing visitors in the holiday spirit from the outset."

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Dear England

"James Graham's football drama is an absolute winner." That's the gist of our five-star review of Dear England, which stars Joseph Fiennes as transformative football manager Gareth Southgate.

"In Rupert Goold’s tremendous production, [Dear England] has the sweep and crowd-pleasing energy of a musical; it’s both populist and deeply thoughtful, and told with such warmth and wit that football fanatics and sceptics alike will probably be willing to die for Southgate and his team by the end," our critic writes.

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The Witches

The stakes are always high when turning a Roald Dahl book into a stage show, as they're all so beloved. His novel about witches with a plot to turn all children into mice is no exception. But The Witches exceeds all expectations, as our critic wrote in a five-star review: "This gobsmackingly great adaptation is the best new musical of the year."

"The show bravely keeps Dahl’s ending, but makes it a life-affirming battle cry. Seize the moment – and seize tickets to this total triumph of a show."

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Backstairs Billy

Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans star in this little-known story about the late Queen Elizabeth I and her page, William Tallon. London Theatre's four-star Backstairs Billy review reads, "This impeccably played comedy of manners nicely balances palace gossip with broader ideas about class, power, and way that tradition can both comfort and stifle. Billy made 'time stand still' for Her Majesty. We can’t live in the past forever, but this lively visit is a right royal romp."

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A Christmas Carol

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge changing his miserly ways at Christmastime, with some supernatural urging, is a festive staple on stage. No wonder it has "the warmth and familiarity of greeting an old friend" in its return to the Old Vic, as our critic described the show in a four-star review.

"As escapism that’s also all-too-pertinent, with the prettiest staging and the loveliest music, this production really is the crème de la crème of traditional Christmas Carols."

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Hamnet

Adapted from Maggie O'Farrell's hit novel, this poignant play imagines how the death of Shakespeare's son shaped his writing. Calling Hamnet "a tricky feat of adaptation," our critic wrote in a four-star review, "O’Farrell’s novel leaps between time periods and has an intimate interiority, so Lolita Chakrabarti does impressive work to find a new framing for the tale, while honouring O’Farrell’s determination to centre Shakespeare’s wife Agnes and his children."

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For Black Boys

Ryan Calais Cameron's Olivier-nominated play For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy returns to the West End in February 2024 after an acclaimed run at the Apollo Theatre in spring 2023.

London Theatre's four-star For Black Boys review reads, "It’s an uplifting reflection of 21st-century life that celebrates modern British, Black men [...] Given the palpably thick energy throughout the theatre and the vocal responses of "mm-hmms", clicking fingers, and spontaneous applauses and calls of appreciation, the audience clearly resonated with the play. This production is like group therapy for the characters on stage, as well as the audience."

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Wicked

Discover the captivating tale of Wicked - a spellbinding musical that unveils the untold story of the Witches of Oz. Join Glinda and Elphaba on a journey of friendship and self-discovery, wrapped in magical melodies crafted by the legendary Stephen Schwartz, and brought to life by breathtaking performances. Are you ready to defy gravity? Find out more about Wicked in London.

In our five-star review of Wicked, our critic said: "It’s impossible not to be swept away in Wicked’s pure theatricality. More than 15 years after Wicked flew into the West End, the Olivier Award-winning musical is still an evening of sheer musical theatre bliss." Read the Wicked review on London Theatre.

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Crazy For You

This glitz and glamour filled production features Gershwin songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and all the magic of showbiz. Following one man as he strives to win the heart of the theatre owner's daughter by orchestrating a spectacular show, Crazy For You is a musical about a musical- what more could you love? Find out more about Crazy For You* in London.

In our five-star Crazy For You review, our critic said: “Susan Stroman's Crazy For You is pure musical theatre heaven. Even the curtain call is a triumph. Five stars just isn’t enough – I wish I could give it ten.” Read the Crazy For You review on London Theatre.

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The Lion King

Hakuna Matata! Disney's The Lion King has been amazing audiences for almost 25 years and continues to pave the way in creating theatre magic fit for the whole family. The use of 200 puppets brings the Serengeti Plains to life, aided by the well-loved score from musical geniuses Elton John and Tim Rice.

In our five-star Lion King review, our critic said: "Disney Theatricals have grown in strength and statue since the production originally opened on Broadway in 1997, but The Lion King remains the jewel in the crown for theatrical integrity and pure spectacle. This is an outstanding creative and emotional musical and will no doubt remain the King of the West End for many years to come.“ Read our The Lion King review on London Theatre.

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Guys & Dolls

The devil won't drag you under here! Nicholas Hytner directs a sparkling, explosive retelling of the Golden Age classic. Join Manhattan gamblers as their bets spiral out of control, all told to swinging hits like "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," and "Luck be a Lady."

In our five-star Guys & Dolls review, our critic said: “This much-hyped, immersive production of Guys & Dolls is set to run for six months at the Bridge Theatre — a significant gamble. Well, I’m delighted to report that he’s hit the jackpot with this jubilant revival, which somehow manages to be both the most exhilarating version of Frank Loesser’s musical I’ve seen, and also the most nuanced.” Read our Guys & Dolls review on London Theatre.

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The Book of Mormon

The satirical Mormon-themed musical follows Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, two missionaries who are unexpectedly paired up and sent to Uganda to encourage locals to join the faith. Their problems are worlds apart, but will the Elders be able to spread the word of the Latter Day Saints? Find out more about The Book of Mormon in London.

In our five-star The Book of Mormon review, our critic said: “It is cleverly written and extremely well-produced, and the excellent, energetic performances give the impression that the cast are loving every minute of it. It is enormously enjoyable, and the laughs keep coming even when the story-line seems about to run out of steam. Like the contents of the Book of Mormon itself, this show could well end-up being the stuff of legend.” Read The Book of Mormon review on London Theatre.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Welcome to Hogwarts! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger 19 years after they left Hogwarts. They’re still dealing with dark forces at work, but can they save everyone once more with the help of their children? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most-awarded play of all time, winning nine Olivier Awards. Find out more about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London.

In our five-star Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review, our critic said: “This is absolutely tremendous family entertainment that brilliantly and evocatively brings Harry Potter from the page to the stage -- but instead of adapting an existing story, does even better and continues the story, 19 years from where we left it at the end of the 7th book, to take it further forward in all sorts of spellbinding (in every sense) directions.” Read the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review on London Theatre.

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Disney's Frozen

Welcome to Arendelle! Frozen follows Elsa and Anna, two sisters who are torn apart when Elsa wreaks havoc with her icy powers and freezes her town over on her coronation day. As Anna sets off an unbelievable journey to rescue Elsa, they discover the power of sisterhood. Find out more about Disney's Frozen in London.

In our five-star Disney's Frozen review, our critic said: “The entire affair is much bigger than its initial Broadway outing, which felt more intimate. [There's the] addition of new set pieces, songs, and of course, magic. You truly feel like you're on an epic journey.” Read the Disney's Frozen review on London Theatre.

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Matilda The Musical

Adapted from Roald Dahl's world-renowned children's book, Matilda The Musical has become a huge success on the West End since it premiered in 2011. This multi-award winning show has won the hearts of children and adults alike as it tells the story of Matilda Wormwood and her extraordinary brain that holds telekinetic powers. Find out more about Matilda The Musical in London.

In our five-star Matilda The Musical review, our critic said: “A small army of children tackle the numerous roles, with multiple child actors rotating the parts at different performances. This wealth of talent and experience shines through all the performances, including those actors making their professional débuts.” Read the Matilda The Musical review on London Theatre.

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Get ready to be dazzled as you enter the glittering, bejewelled, extravaganza that is the Moulin Rouge Paris nightclub. This stage adaption of the early 2000's film wondrously combines luxury and opulence to tell the timeless love story of Satine and Christian. Find out more about Moulin Rouge in London.

In our four-star Moulin Rouge! The Musical review, our critic said: “This, mon chérie, is an all-new, all-adrenaline rush of a show that leverages the movie's magic and adds the secret ingredient: theatrical magic. Every creative team member is clearly working overtime to deliver excellence and opulence.” Read our Moulin Rouge! The Musical review on London Theatre.

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Six

The Six musical follows what happened to Henry VIII’s wives while they were married to the Tudor monarch as they try to see who had it worst. By the end of the show, they realise it’s better to raise each other’s crowns and prove that girlpower is best. Find out more about Six in London.

In our five-star Six review, our critic said: “Mixing pop concert with theatre, it's a big, joyful welcome to non-traditional audiences and in particular to younger ones, who eagerly whip out their phones to record the finale; rather than fearing social media, Six rules it. It's the jolt of energy that the West End needs.” Read the Six review on London Theatre.

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Back to the Future: The Musical

This West End revamp of the 1985 movie has sprung onto the stage and does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon! Back to the Future: The Musical follows Marty after he accidentally time-travels back to 1955. Full of all the nostalgia from the original film, including skateboards, a DeLorean, and scientific madness, this show has just been extended until 2024 because audiences just can't get enough! Find out more about Back to the Future: The Musical in London.

In our four-star Mamma Mia! review, our critic said: “Film fans should be reassured that this is a faithful adaptation, with the movie's Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and Alan Silvestri all returning for the musical. The show trades on nostalgia, while slyly deconstructing it.” Read our Back to the Future: The Musical review on London Theatre.

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Les Misérables

Don’t wait one day more to see Les Misérables in the West End. Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who attempts to change his life but is constantly overshadowed by Inspector Javert’s commitment to hunt him down. It’s all told to iconic songs like “Do You Hear the People Sing,” “Bring Him Home,” and “On My Own.” Find out more about Les Misérables in London.

In our five-star Les Misérables review, our critic said: “The show remains a thrilling triumph. The show remains an ensemble effort, as it was when it was first created by Nunn and Caird.” Read our Les Misérables review on London Theatre.

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Mamma Mia!

"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" a musical set on a Greek island and full of ABBA's greatest hits! This fun-loving, joyous musical follows Sophie on the lead up on her wedding day, as she finds out some family secrets that throws her whole world upside down. From "Dancing Queen" to "The Winner Takes it All", Mamma Mia! is packed with dozens of songs from the world-famous Swedish band that will certainly get you dancing in your seat! Find out more about Mamma Mia! in London.

In our four-star Mamma Mia! review, our critic said: “Fans of ABBA will be blown away and taken on a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a breathtaking rollercoaster ride of their favourite ABBA songs. This is held together with a sugary story that makes the evening exactly what it is, a lot of fun, fun, fun!” Read our Mamma Mia! review on London Theatre.

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Cabaret

Cabaret follows American writer Cliff and a English cabaret singer Sally Bowles as they face the downfall of Berlin's hedonistic cultural abundance due to the rise of Nazism. This celebrated musical has been transforming theatres into the Kit Kat Club for decades and promises to provide a immersive experience. Find out more about Cabaret in London.

In our four-star Cabaret review, our critic said: “The Kit Kat Club is the ultimate escape. After a difficult or even ordinary day, the fanfare, glitz, and glamour feel like a portal to another time, where you'll be greeted with complimentary schnapps, dancing chorus members, and a lascivious pre-show smorgasbord. ” Read our Cabaret review on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: Matilda The Musical. (Photo courtesy of production)

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