Top 10 theatre openings in London in January 2020
As a new year begins, audiences can look forward to the latest Broadway hits and homegrown productions across London's theatres. Even in the first few weeks of 2020, there's plenty of new offerings across the city, from the spellbinding tricks in Mischief Theatre's newest show to historical dramas taking over the West End. Start your new year with a dose of London’s finest theatre. Here are our top picks for January.
The second production as part of Mischief Theatre’s year-long residency at the Vaudeville Theatre, Magic Goes Wrong is set to bring grand illusion into the heart of London’s West End. True to traditional ‘Goes Wrong’ fashion, the show follows a group set on wowing their audiences in their unique dastardly style - this time it’s a charity magic performance with the performers aiming to raise as much money as possible. Attempting to make rabbits appear from top hats and pull off the tricks up their sleeves, Magic Goes Wrong is also a groundbreaking production for the British theatre company themselves, collaborating with co-writers for the first time in the name of American magic legends Penn & Teller.
Vaudeville Theatre, opens 8th January.
Book Magic Goes Wrong tickets.
With a history of award-winning plays including Travesties and Arcadia, Tom Stoppard returns to the West End for the first time in five years with his newest work, set to open at the Wyndham’s later this month. Titled Leopoldstadt, the play will follow a Jewish family living in twentieth-century Vienna whose lives are changed when they flee to the crowded tenements in the Jewish quarter of the Austrian city. With press material stating the play as Stoppard’s “most personal play” to date that’s inspired by his family history, audiences can look forward to this enduring drama.
Wyndham’s Theatre, from 25th January.
Book Leopoldstadt tickets.
Toby Jones and Richard Armitage will star in a new production of Chekhov’s twentieth-century literary classic, newly adapted by Girl from the North Country’s playwright Conor McPherson. The original text sees Sonya and her uncle Vanya living in an isolated countryside estate, with regular visits from their doctor Astrov for company. But, as Sonya’s father returns home, relationships go awry as emotions rise to the surface. Directed by Ian Rickson, it’s sure to capture the essence of the Chekhov great with a new lease of life.
Harold Pinter Theatre, opens 23rd January.
Book Uncle Vanya tickets.
First performed to mark the end of Apartheid, performing greats Antony Sher and John Kani star in Kunene and the King, a socio-political drama celebrating all walks of life in the African nation. Written by Kani, it’s a two-man drama following a white man trained as a classical actor who is being looked after by a local nurse. With seemingly little in common, conversations turn to their shared love – William Shakespeare – in this uplifting, heartwarming production in the West End for just nine weeks.
Ambassadors Theatre, opens 29th January.
Book Kunene and the King tickets.
The Faust myth has been told on stage for over 400 years, and it’s no stranger to the West End, with Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus last seen in the West End in 2016. But, in a reimagined Headlong production that sees the titular character as a woman, Jodie McNee will play Johanna Faustus in Chris Bush’s latest play, as Faustus sacrifices herself to change the course of history and achieve greatness.
Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, opens 28th January.
Book Faustus: That Damned Woman tickets.
Making West End history as the first play to be performed at the newly-opened Boulevard Theatre, Cormac McCarthy’s powerful narrative receives its London premiere this month, directed by Terry Johnson. Gary Beadle and Jasper Britton star in the two-man drama, following two people whose chance encounter at a subway platform leads to asking essential questions that face humanity.
Boulevard Theatre, opens 21st January.
Book The Sunset Limited tickets.
Rural witchhunts in 18th century England come alive in Lucy Kirkwood’s newest play, opening in the National’s Lyttleton Theatre later this month. Titled The Welkin, James Macdonald directs Ria Zmitrowicz who plays Sally, a young woman sentenced to hang for murder. With rumours in the local villages that the devil lives within her, her life is in the hands of 12 women on a jury – but will the defence of Lizzy Luke (played by Maxine Peake) be strong enough to overrule all judgment?
Lyttelton Theatre, opens 22nd January.
Lucy Morrison directs a trio of young women in Scenes with girls at the Royal Court, developed by Miriam Battye in association with the theatre’s writing group. Told over 22 scenes, audiences will meet Lou, Tosh and Fran over several years as they deal with their emotions and exploring the “different possible Happys”, as said in press material.
Royal Court, opens 21st January.
Stephen Schwartz’ lyrics can be heard in Wicked and the upcoming West End premiere of The Prince of Egypt, but the Park Theatre will be home to a new life for the rarely performed RAGS, transferring from Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre. Following the lives of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island at the turn of the twentieth century, it’s a testament to America’s rich past, starring Carolyn Maitland, Dave Willetts and Sam Attwater.
Park Theatre, opens 14th January.
Two men meet up to recreate the killings of a notorious gay serial killer in Alexis Gregory’s Sex/Crime, coming to Soho Theatre this month. Exploring the impact of sex, violence and queerness in new surroundings, will ‘A’ and ‘B’ be able to enjoy a night of pleasure with everything falling apart around them.
Soho Theatre, opens 22nd January.