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What to do in London October 2020

What to do in London in October: top theatre shows and more

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

London's West End is metamorphasising. Gone are the days of total lockdown, where your only chance at quenching your thirst for theatre was via a livestream. Theatres are now beginning to open up again, with old and new productions now being staged under social distancing guidelines. If you're venturing into the capital to see a show, here's our top picks of what to watch this month, as well as online alternatives.

The Great Gatsby

2020 so far hasn't exactly been as great as the Roaring Twenties. Now's your chance to step back in time and relive an era gone by with a cordial invitation to The Great Gatsby. Reopening as an art deco masquerade ball, audience members will have to wear masks and gloves. But, that won't stop you joining Jay Gatsby at one of his grand affairs, where the champagne is flowing and the jazz is red hot.

Gatsby's Mansion, from 1 October.

Death of England: Delroy

Giles Terera in Death of England: Delroy
(Courtesy of National Theatre)

An upcoming season of in-the-round performances inside the Olivier Theatre has had us excited for weeks. After Rafe Spall's thrilling performance in Death of England, Clint Dyer and Roy Williams's new response to their previous drama is set to reopen the National in spectacular style. Giles Terera plays Delroy in Death of England: Delroy, a one-man play following a Black man living in the capital in 2020 who struggles to find his place in society.

National Theatre, from 21 October.

Talking Heads

The Talking Heads season continues at the Bridge Theatre, with some of this country's finest talent back on stage. Highlights include Lady of Letters performed by Imelda Staunton and Tamsin Greig reprising the televised monologue, Nights in the Garden of Spain. There's four monologues in total this month, so why not take a look at past performances and get ready to witness a dramatic masterclass. 

Bridge Theatre, from 28 September.

C-o-n-t-a-c-t

Combining a walk around the streets of London with immersive theatre, C-o-n-t-a-c-t has now extended its initial run. Throughout the month, join a woman who gets lost in her own thoughts and experience this fully-sensory show where the performance isn't limited to just what you see. Delivered via an app, it's a state-of-the-art performance that pushes the boundaries of how theatre can be delivered.

Various locations, to 22 November.

Adam Kay: This Is Going To Hurt

We've all done our bit this year to protect the NHS. Now, listen to the stories of a junior doctor hard at work. The comedy sensation Adam Kay returns to the West End, performing his seminal work This Is Going To Hurt. Kay will perform at the Apollo Theatre as part of all six Nimax theatres opening in London this year. This sell-out, tell-all show is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings.

Apollo Theatre, from 22 October

The Last Five Years

Last seen at the off-West End location just before lockdown, be lifted by the sounds of Jason Robert Brown as The Last Five Years returns to London. The two-person musical charts a couple's relationship as they fall in and out of love, but for this production, actors sing and play the piano on stage. The show received high praise earlier this year, with Mark Shenton saying in London Theatre: "I've seen many actor-musician productions before of other musicals, but never one that so slyly supports and deepens the narrative connections." Make sure you don't miss this musical treat in October.

Southwark Playhouse, from 1 October

The original Six queens reunite

The Six queens are back for a weekend of shows, thanks to streaming service Thespie. Having earned a joint Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, these seven starlets are sure to raise the roof at Oval Space. The show is available to watch as a global live stream too, so wherever you are in the world, this sisterhood is definitely going to give us a sensational pop/theatre concert.

Thespie, from 10 October.

The Show Must Go On! streams

After a short hiatus, The Show Must Go On! is back and better than before. Check out their newest season of shows, all free and available to watch on Youtube. Watch the 30th anniversary production of Fame, Jason Donovan in War of the Worlds and concerts by Michael Ball and Alfie Boe.

YouTube, from 25 September

The Showstoppers

The hilarious improvised theatre troupe are back! Every Friday in October from 9 October, see your wacky suggestions transformed into a full-length musical. Guaranteed to be a different experience each time, why not tune in to The Showstoppers all four times?

Online, from 9 October

Photo credit: The Great Gatsby cast in rehearsal (Courtesy of Mark Senior)

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