Top theatre to see in London in April
From football dramas in Vardy v. Rooney, three National Theatre openings, and Bertolt Brecht and Noel Coward plays, here’s the top theatre picks in London in April 2023.
Spring is in the air. And the biggest night in West End theatre is on the horizon. Hannah Waddingham hosts the Olivier Awards on 2 April, with shows including A Streetcar Named Desire, Oklahoma!, and To Kill a Mockingbird up for awards. Find out more about the Olivier Awards. But the Olivier Awards is only one evening's worth of a month of theatre to look forward to.
There’s plenty of new London shows opening through April 2023. Look forward to the UK premiere of The Secret Life of Bees, relive 1990s politics at Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera, or enjoy a peaceful evening at Musicals by Candlelight. Here are our top picks for what to see in London this April.
West End shows in April 2023
Although most of the theatre action takes place away from the West End in April, there’s lots to look forward to. Some of March's biggest shows: Ain’t Too Proud, A Little Life, and For Black Boys have their official opening nights in early April. Plus, the National Theatre hosts the world premiere of The Motive and the Cue, detailing what happened between Richard Burton and John Gielgud during the 1964 Hamlet Broadway revival. Here’s our top picks for West End theatre in April 2023.
Forget all the hearsay. Discover what really happened between footballers’ wives Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney in a dramatic retelling of the century’s prolific court case. When Rooney accused Vardy of selling false stories to The Sun, a small scandal quickly picked up nationwide notoriety. And then, in a week-long court case, the pair took to the stand, revealing more than anyone could have predicted. Wagatha Christie now takes over the West End. Don’t wait to the final whistle to book your tickets.
Ambassadors Theatre, from 6 April.
Book Vardy v. Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial tickets on London Theatre.
Visit rural Ireland via the West End in a long-awaited revival of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa. Set in 1930s County Donegal, five sisters struggle to find their place in a turbulent world. But when the festival of Lughnasa begins, the quintet learn what it means to love and survive, even when the going gets tough. Derry Girls Siobhán McSweeney, and Father Ted’s Ardal O’Hanlon star in the Irish play.
Olivier Theatre, from 6 April.
Book Dancing at Lughnasa tickets on London Theatre.
Dixon and Daughters
The National Theatre and Clean Break co-produce Dixon and Daughters in the Dorfman this spring. The play follows Mary, a newly-released prisoner who wants to forget about her time behind bars. Over two days, a family must confront their past and listen to the truth. The truth hurts, but it will set them all free.
Dorfman Theatre, from 15 April.
The Motive and the Cue
The Lehman Trilogy director Sam Mendes returns to the National Theatre to helm The Motive and the Cue. Jack Thorne’s new play tackles the cult of celebrity by focusing on the 1964 Broadway revival of Hamlet. John Gielgud is set to direct Richard Burton, but rehearsals cause the actor/director relationship to unravel with unexpected consequences. Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss play Burton and Gielgud respectively, with Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor.
Lyttelton Theatre, from 20 April.
Off West End shows in April 2023
Enjoy plenty of new shows all month long at Off West End theatres. The Hampstead Theatre hosts a second engagement of its Olivier-nominated show Blackout Songs. Over at the Donmar Warehouse, Stephen Mangan leads Noel Coward’s Private Lives, meanwhile there’s 21st-century adaptations of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, and Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. Here’s our top picks for Off West End theatre in April 2023.
When two people meet at an AA meeting, they’re drawn to one another. All is well for the pair, until they say cheers to each other — with alcohol. Follow the pair on their journey to becoming sober, after one final drink. Joe White’s Blackout Songs returns to the north London theatre, with original cast members Alex Austin and Rebecca Humphries in tow. “It’s a treat, and a treasure of a play: humane and devastating, funny and sad,” said director Guy Jones.
Hampstead Theatre, from 8 April.
Book Blackout Songs tickets on London Theatre.
If you’ve undergone surgery or treatment, you may have to thank Henrietta Lacks. She contributed her cells to lifesaving research. But, Henrietta was a black woman. Her cells were taken without her, or her family’s knowledge. Celebrate Lacks’s medical legacy in a heartfelt drama to Black women in modern times.
Brixton House, from 12 April.
Book Family Tree tickets on London Theatre.
Welcome to Syresham, a small Northamptonshire village. They’ve won numerous village of the year awards. They even host ‘Syresham’s Got Talent,’ a headline event attracting everyone in the local community. As darkness hits the village fair, longstanding family feuds emerge from the woodwork. Can bossy busybodies take charge to protect their way of living? Theatre company Ramps On The Moon work on Village Idiot: the company promote putting deaf and disabled performers in their work.
Theatre Royal Stratford East, from 13 April.
Book Village Idiot tickets on London Theatre.
Unwind with classical renditions of heartfelt musical theatre songs in tranquil surroundings in April 2023. Listen to string quartet compositions of popular musical hits: Chicago, Dirty Dancing, Grease, The Lion King, and West Side Story to name a few shows. Listening to candlelight music will most likely be an emotional experience, so pack your tissues.
The Actors’ Church, from 13 April.
Book Musicals by Candlelight tickets on London Theatre.
What happened to Tony Blair? In Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s satirical political comedy, find out how band frontman turned Labour politician became the Prime Minister who sent the United Kingdom to the Iraq war. Expect discussions of power, romance, and political intrigue in this controversial musical. Could things only get better?
Leicester Square Theatre, from 15 April.
Book Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] tickets on London Theatre.
Meet David. He’s gay. He’s disabled. He’s horny. But, he’s also relying on round-the-clock care to get by. Can David enjoy a lifetime of casual sex and hook-ups while needing others to be there for him? After writing queer pantomimes for Above The Stag Theatre, Jon Bradfield’s new acclaimed play heads to the Park Theatre.
Park Theatre, from 19 April.
Book ANIMAL tickets on London Theatre.
How did Sidney Poitier find himself in Hollywood? Becoming a star isn’t as easy as pacing down the walk of fame. When Poitier’s offered a lucrative contract to take his career to the next level, everything seems perfect. But to achieve fame, he must sacrifice his life. Ryan Calais Cameron’s latest play explores the power of Black voices in the Golden Age.
Kiln Theatre, from 20 April.
Book Retrograde tickets on London Theatre.
Joe DiPetro’s 21st century adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde returns for April 2023. The expletive-named play follows ten men as they discover what it means to be love, to be free, and what it takes to change your life. Enjoy a fascinating, funny and provocative story of sex, love and connection.
Waterloo East Theatre, from 20 April.
Book F**king Men tickets on London Theatre.
Good manners cost nothing. But what is the cost of being good? For Shen Te, she’s given a life-changing sum of money when three gods decide to reward her. But money doesn’t always bring happiness. In a capitalist world, Shen Te falls to scheming and deceitful behaviour to get more. The Seagull’s Nina Segal adapts Brecht’s 20th-century text for a modern audience.
Lyric Hammersmith, from 21 April.
Book The Good Person of Szechwan tickets on London Theatre.
Discover Italian athlete Gino Bartali's secret life during World War Two. Using his cycling career as a cover, he hid identity cards and document to help displaced victims escape fascist regimes. His story has a powerful message for audiences today about bravery, loyalty, and doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.
Charing Cross Theatre, from 22 April.
Book Glory Ride tickets on London Theatre.
Malta: the land of Catholicism, sun, sea, Eurovision, and a blanket ban on abortion. How, in a country with progressive laws, can its stance on abortion be so regimented? Based on three years of interviews, actors and activists Marta Vella and Davinia Hamilton explain Malta’s restrictions on women's freedom.
Southwark Playhouse Borough, from 25 April.
Book Blanket Ban tickets on London Theatre.
Spend a warmer evening at the "wooden O" in April 2023. Enter the lush green forest for Shakespeare's riotous comedy. When a shapeshifting servant begins to cast spells on everyone, all hell breaks loose — Mother Nature can’t work her magic here. Elle While directs, and the Globe's artistic director Michelle Terry plays Puck.
Shakespeare’s Globe, from 27 April.
Book A Midsummer Night’s Dream tickets on London Theatre.
We all know a man like August Henderson. Since arriving in West Bromwich, he's changed his life around: he has three kids, a devoted wife-to-be, and holds part-ownership of a fruit and veg shop. When he's faced with deportation, August fights for his right to remain. Lenny Henry stars in August in England, a play that gives insight into the lives impacted by the injustice of the Windrush scandal.
Bush Theatre, from 28 April.
Book August in England tickets on London Theatre.
Stephen Mangan stars in Noël Coward’s dark comedy this spring. Private Lives follows Elyot and Amanda, a divorced couple who, while on separate honeymoons to new partners, realise they’re next to one another. Michael Longhurst directs a fierce revival that begs the question: can you love someone too much?
Donmar Warehouse, from 7 April.
The Secret Life of Bees
Lynn Nottage, Duncan Sheik, and Susan Birkenhead adapt Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling novel for the stage. When Rosaleen and Lily flee 1960s South Carolina, they end up at a remote honey bee farm. But can their past catch up to them? Rachel John, Tarinn Callender, Danielle Fiamanya, and Noah Thomas star.
Almeida Theatre, from 8 April.
Following performances at Vault Festival, Tatenda Shamiso’s play transfers to the Royal Court. Shamiso’s piece follows his life as a Black transgender immigrant in the UK, and the intersection between bureaucracy and gender transitions.
Royal Court, from 18 April.
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