Top 10 theatre shows opening in London in February
We all know January in Theatreland can be a little slow to take off, as we’re all busy shedding off that Christmas podge. Well, trying to at least. But February takes us full steam ahead into 2020, with exciting new plays, brand new major musicals, world-famous talent on stage and more. As London begins to feel the cold, here are our picks of what to watch while you warm up this month.
Potterheads rejoice, Daniel Radcliffe himself is back on stage. And back at the Old Vic, at that. Having made his full stage debut in Equus, and most recently appearing in Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead, he returns to star in Samuel Beckett’s one-act Endgame. Alongside Alan Cumming and Jane Horrocks, Richard Jones’ production of Beckett’s story, which follows old man Hamm and his servant Clov, is coupled with the playwright’s sketch Rough for Theatre II.
The Old Vic, opens 4th February.
There’s a real buzz around Tom Stoppard’s first new play in half-a-decade, which opens direct in the West End at the Wyndham’s this month. The writer, known for the likes of the Real Thing, Shakespeare In Love, Travesties, and the aforementioned Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, usually shies away from drawing on personal experiences, but he has admitted this epic is one of his most autobiographical. The sweeping play is set in 1900 Vienna and is described as a 'passionate drama of love, family and endurance' which follows a family over half a century who rediscover what it means to be Jewish. Stoppard’s grandparents all died in Nazi concentration camps, and Patrick Marber’s mammoth cast will be tasked with doing justice to this story of a generation.
Wyndham’s Theatre, opens 12th February.
Dreamworks’ 1998 animated drama followed the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus, and featured a memorable, award-winning duet in the form of “When You Believe”, made popular courtesy of an epic version by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Everything about the film lends itself to it becoming a huge musical success: an epic storyline, potential for powerhouse performances, plus new songs from the wicked, one and only Stephen Schwartz. There are high hopes for this show as it comes to the Dominion.
Dominion Theatre, opens 25th February.
Another screen-to-stage adaptation Is set to premiere in the West End this month, as Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow opens starring a number of the original TV series’ cast. David Mitchell makes his West End debut in the central role familiar to any theatre buff as he plays William Shakespeare in this comedy based around the Bard penning some of his works. Gemma Whelan and Mark Heap are among the series cast reprising their roles on stage in the play written by Elton and directed by Sean Foley.
Gielgud Theatre, opens 17th February.
Broadway phenomenon Be More Chill is set to transfer to the West End with a run at The Other Palace. This boy-meets-girl is told from the perspective of Jeremy, and the tiny little supercomputer inside his head telling him what to do (primarily: to take over the world). With a book by Joe Tracz and music by Joe Iconis, there’s a treat for fans of Six too, with the cast featuring Queens Millie O’Connell and Renée Lamb.
The Other Palace, opens 18th February.
Caryl Churchill delivered a quartet of new short plays at the Royal Court last year, in addition to a major Top Girls revival at the National Theatre. Now, the Donmar are getting in the action with Michael Longhurst programming a revival of the playwright’s 2000 work Far Away. Lyndsey Turner directs Jessica Hynes in the play about a world in which everything in nature is at war, which with the likes of Australian bushfires, Chinese coronavirus and the threat of actual world war all happening in January, couldn’t be more fitting, really.
Donmar Warehouse, opens 12th February.
Stef Smith play looks at Ibsen’s play about womanhood, and asks how far we’ve really come in the last 140 years since it was written. After premiering at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Elizabeth Freestone directs a new production of this bold update of a well-known classic at the Young Vic.
Young Vic, opens 11th February.
After all that, you might be in need of some light relief. And that might come in the form of The Wedding Singer, set to open at the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley. Kevin Clifton stars in the role Adam Sandler made famous, as the eponymous wedding singer Robbie Hart who is left at the altar by his fiancé and peruses new love with a waitress. The musical ran on Broadway in 2006, and has music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin.
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, from 30th January.
Following its debut at the Royal Court in 2018, Debris Stevenson’s play based on Dizzee Rascal’s album Boy in da Corner, which changed her life, is set to return to the theatre before a nationwide tour. As gig theatre and spoken word combine, the electrifying production gets a welcome revival.
Royal Court, from 30th January.
A brand-new one-man play by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams is set to open at the National, specifically written for stage favourite Rafe Spall in the only role. He plays a man dealing with the death of his father, and the legacy he left behind. Unprepared, he decides it is time to speak out at his funeral.
National Theatre (Dorfman), from 31st January.