Top 10 London Shows Not to Miss this Spring
With the Spring season now well underway, both the West End and London Fringe have a number of fantastic new productions that should be on your radar over the coming months. From revivals of classic musicals to brand new plays from some of the most exciting new writers, there really is a rich selection of plays and musicals lighting up London this Spring.
Stephen Brown's new play based on the memoir by Rory Stewart is set in September 2003 as Stewart, a thirty year old former British diplomat, is posted to serve as governor in a province of the newly liberated Iraq. His job is to help build a new civil society at peace with itself and its neighbours - an ambitious mission, admittedly, but outperforming Saddam should surely not prove too difficult… Yet, freedom from repressive tyranny has allowed centuries of tribal conflict, sectarian tension and ethnic division to burst into the open once more. Henry Lloyd-Hughes leads the cast of this ambitious new play directed by Simon Godwin in his Hampstead Theatre debut. Described as an "extraordinary story about the moral conflicts, the dangers and the comic absurdities inherent in any foreign occupation", this is a challenging new addition to the Hampstead's season that will no doubt be worth a visit.
9. Late Company
Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill debuts his play Late Company at the Finborough Theatre as part of the venue's celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Directed by Michael Yale and starring Todd Boyce, David Leopold, Alex Lowe, Lucy Robinson and Lisa Stevenson, this European premiere explores restorative justice, cyber bullying, and the ever-changing complexities of parenthood in the 21st century. Tannahill has been described as “the future of Canadian theatre” by NOW Magazine and brings this exciting new play to one of London's most exciting venues for new writing.
Broadway may be a-buzz with the new musical War Paint in which Patti LuPone stars as Helena Rubinstein, the cosmetics entrepreneur extraordinaire, but at London's Park Theatre Miriam Margolyes brings her story to the stage in the world premiere of a brand new comedy by John Misto. Set against the glamorous skylines of 1950s Manhattan, Madame Rubinstein is locked in a brutal power struggle with her arch rivals from the business world of beauty: Elizabeth Arden and Revlon. This new play documents her rise to power from humble beginnings as a Polish-Jewish immigrant to becoming one of the most powerful women in cosmetics, directed by the venue's Artistic Director Jez Bond.
Following two previous runs in London under the name 'Through the Mill', Ray Rackham's musical drama about the life of Judy Garland transfers to the Arts Theatre for a brand new run. Using three Judy's at different stages of her life, this powerful story is accompanied by a soaring soundtrack of hit songs associated with her career and performed to perfection by three fantastic performers. Fans of Judy Garland will certainly not be disappointed by this thrilling and careful rediscovery of her famous story which is set to delight new audiences in the West End.
One of Brecht's most famous plays comes to the Young Vic this Spring directed by six-time Oscar nominee Joe Wright. With Brendan Cowell in the lead role of the famous scientist who challenged and upended the Catholic Church, this is a timely and exciting revival that lets audiences question the distinction between faith and reason. With designs by Lizzie Clachan and projections by 59 Productions this will no doubt be a visually exciting production that suggests it will reconfigure the auditorium into a brand new formation for this epic battle presented in Brecht's famed epic style.
Following their recent Olivier Award-winning success this energetic new comedy comes to the West End following runs on UK tour and at the National Theatre. Adapted by Lee Hall, from the novel 'The Sopranos' by Alan Warner, Vicky Featherstone directs this uplifting and moving story of six Catholic school girls from Oban, let loose in Edinburgh for one night only. Billed as a comic play with music, it features the songs of ELO and is described as "a glorious anthem to friendship, youth and growing up disgracefully". Contains singing, hilarity, sambuca and strong language.
Gary Owen's new play has received excellent buzz after opening at the Sherman Theatre Cardiff. Owen's previous collaboration with director Rachel O'Riordan Iphigenia in Splott was one of our favourite plays of last year, so we're naturally excited for this new drama that follows a controversial new gaming experience that is inspiring a generation. A somewhat twisted take on a Black Mirror theme, Killology shows players who are rewarded for torturing victims, scoring points for "creativity", marketed by its millionaire creator as a deeply moral experience. A powerful and harrowing new drama that's already got people talking, and a definite highlight of an already exciting season for the Royal Court.
Following the untimely departure of Artistic Director Emma Rice, her final season at the outdoor venue will no doubt be one of the most exciting and most anticipated in recent years. Under the title Summer of Love, this new production of William Shakespeare's classic childhood tragedy of two star-crossed lovers is directed by Daniel Kramer, Artistic Director of English National Opera and promises a wild and energetic spin on a well-told story. Opening the summer season at the Globe, there really is no better place to enjoy the start of summer than the outdoor 'Wooden O' on London's South Bank. Don't miss what might be your last chance to see the venue using lighting and sound design and prepare to reconsider a story you thought you knew.
Original musicals are few and far between and this intriguing new musical biopic tells the courageous and remarkable story of Louis Braille who created a system for blind people to read and learn. Directed by Thom Southerland this production promises fantastic staging, innovative story telling and a set of fantastic performances led by Jack Wolfe and Jérôme Pradon. With an original sweeping score by French musical theatre writers Sébastien Lancrenon and Jean-Baptiste Saudray London audiences are the first to see this brand new musical in its latest form.
1. On The Town
Director-choreographer of the moment Drew McOnie brings this brand new revival of Bernstein's iconic musical comedy to the beautiful setting of the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. As three sailors embark on a day off in New York City, madness ensues as they search for love amongst the hustle and bustle, with a score of hit songs such as "New York, New York", "Carried Away" and "I Can Cook Too". A delightful and spirited musical this new production is gearing up to be one of the venue's biggest and most spectacular dance musicals of recent years, and with Olivier Award-winner McOnie at the helm will no doubt be another smash-hit. Unmissable.