Top theatre to see in London in September
Find out the best shows to see in London in September 2023.
Summer is ending, and it’ll soon be colder and darker… but who cares? That just makes it the perfect time to head to the theatre! And of course, autumn means an exciting influx of big show openings, in the West End and in London’s subsidised and fringe scenes. In fact, there are so many September shows that you could easily spend every night at the theatre.
So, what are the real must-see events? How about Nicole Scherzinger starring in a major revival of Sunset Boulevard? There’s also the all-star Sondheim gala Old Friends, plus Bertie Carvel and Patsy Ferran leading Pygmalion, while Nigel Havers and Patricia Hodge spar in Private Lives.
The story of Swinging Sixties fashion icon Twiggy becomes a new British musical. And great Scott! Who could possibly miss the incredible Andrew Scott playing all the characters in Chekhov’s play, in the new production Vanya?
Here are our top picks for London theatre in September 2023. Book tickets to shows in September 2023 on London Theatre.
Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Patti LuPone, Glenn Close… now Nicole Scherzinger. How will the former member of The Pussycat Dolls fare with one of the most iconic roles in musical theatre? She’s already worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Cats – but this is an exciting new challenge. Is she ready for her close-up?
This highly anticipated revival of Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Christopher Hampton’s murderous Hollywood fable is directed by Jamie Lloyd (who just staged A Doll’s House with Jessica Chastain on Broadway). Scherzinger plays faded silent film star Norma Desmond, with Rachel Tucker alternating at certain performances.
Savoy Theatre, from 21 September.
Book Sunset Boulevard tickets on London Theatre.
Vanya, Duke of York's Theatre
It’s already an impressive feat to tackle a Chekhov play, but Andrew Scott is taking it one step further: He’s playing all the parts in Uncle Vanya in a new one-man adaptation of the classic work by renowned playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time).
That means playing every person in the tangled web of family, romance, conflict, and resentment that makes up this famous Russian comedy-drama. We’ve already seen Scott do everything from a villain in Sherlock to the Hot Priest in Fleabag, plus a memorable Hamlet on stage.
Duke of York’s Theatre, from 15 September.
Book Vanya tickets on London Theatre.
Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends, Gielgud Theatre
Cameron Mackintosh’s 2022 tribute to the late, great composer was such a sensation that he’s brought it back for a full London run. Headlining this outstanding revue is the Broadway legend (and Sondheim muse) Bernadette Peters, making her long-awaited official West End debut with the show.
But it’s not just Peters. Mackintosh has assembled a who’s who of musical theatre for this starry revue, including Lea Salonga, Haydn Gwynne, Jason Pennycooke, Christine Allado, Damian Humbley, Bradley Jaden, Gavin Lee, Bonnie Langford, Janie Dee, Jac Yarrow, and Joanna Riding. What a Company!
Gielgud Theatre, from 16 September.
Book Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends tickets on London Theatre.
Private Lives, Ambassadors Theatre
This production celebrates the 50th anniversary of Noel Coward’s beloved marital comedy. Nigel Havers and Patricia Hodge play bickering exes Elyot and Amanda, who happen to meet up at a hotel in the South of France – where each is spending their honeymoon with a new spouse.
This sumptuous West End revival of Private Lives, capping off a U.K. tour, is Coward at his peerless best, satirising love and marriage, desire and loathing, and the pleasures of rebelling against convention. Still just as shrewd, and as riotously funny, it’s a romcom with a sting in the tail.
Ambassadors Theatre, from 31 August.
Book Private Lives tickets on London Theatre.
untitled fck mss s** gon play, Young Vic
One of the fiercest debates in theatre this year has been how (and whether) to revive a classic show like Miss Saigon in the current climate. Can we really make enough changes to address its problematic elements?
Tackling those issues head-on is Kimber Lee’s explosive untitled fck mss s** gon play. The Bruntwood Prize-winning work, which began in Manchester and is now at the Young Vic, looks at Asian stereotypes in musicals and asks who has the right to tell your story – and what you can do about it.
Young Vic, from 18 September.
Book untitled fck mss s** gon play tickets on London Theatre.
The Little Big Things, Soho Place
This new British musical is based on a deeply moving and inspirational true story. Henry Fraser was a fit, healthy athlete whose life changed in an instant following a terrible diving accident. He shared his recovery and what he learned along the way in a bestselling book, and now that tale comes to stage, with music by Nick Butcher.
Jonny Amies and Ed Larkin star as Henry in the show, and the excellent musical theatre cast also features Alasdair Harvey, Linzi Hateley, Amy Trigg, and Cleve September. Luke Sheppard (& Juliet, My Son’s A Queer) directs what promises to be a powerful new show.
Soho Place, from 2 September.
Book The Little Big Things tickets on London Theatre.
Pygmalion, Old Vic
George Bernard Shaw’s brilliant play remains a favourite among theatregoers – and this revival has particularly exciting casting. Playing Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins are Patsy Ferran, who starred opposite Paul Mescal in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Bertie Carvel, who has played everyone from Donald Trump in The 47th to Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.
Richard Jones directs Shaw’s enduring study of language, gender, class and Englishness – which was, of course, the basis for musical My Fair Lady. So, never mind if the rain in Spain is falling directly on the plain! Take a bet on this great classic.
Old Vic, from 6 September.
Book Pygmalion tickets on London Theatre.
God of Carnage, Lyric Hammersmith
Beware the wrath of parents. Yasmina Reza’s searing Olivier and Tony Award-winning comedy sees two sets of apparent grown-ups trying to broker peace after one child hits another – but civilised conversation soon descends into glorious (well, for us) argument and anarchy.
The razor-sharp God of Carnage has seen many great actors take on its warring quartet, including, in the 2011 film, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly and Christoph Waltz. The cast of the Lyric Hammersmith revival include Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who) and Ariyon Bakare (His Dark Materials).
Lyric Hammersmith, from 1 September.
Book God of Carnage tickets on London Theatre.
Close-Up: The Twiggy Musical, Menier Chocolate Factory
Take a colourful trip back to the Swinging Sixties and follow the unlikely rise to fame of trendsetting fashion model Twiggy, who went from a working-class home in Neasdon to Hollywood and Broadway – all while fending off class snobbery and sexism.
This new musical tells Twiggy’s life story, via a book from Ben Elton (The Beautiful Game, Love Never Dies, We Will Rock You), plus all the indelible pop hits that make up Twiggy’s life. This should be a fantastic ride: a triumphant journey to becoming the face of an era, all in a new British work.
Menier Chocolate Factory, from 18 September.
Book Close-Up: The Twiggy Musical tickets on London Theatre.
anthropology, Hampstead Theatre
The Hampstead Theatre is premiering the latest work from the hugely successful American playwright Lauren Gunderson. The venue last staged one of her plays in 2018: I and You, starring Maisie Williams (aka Arya from Game of Thrones) in her impressive stage debut.
Anthropology mixes sci-fi with investigative thriller, as a leading software engineer in Silicon Valley, Merril, creates a digital simulation of her sister Angie after the latter goes missing. Can it provide comfort – or actually help her solve Angie’s disappearance? Myanna Buring, Yolanda Kettle, Dakota Blue Richards, and Abigail Thaw star.
Hampstead Theatre, from 7 September.
Book anthropology tickets on London Theatre.
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