Top plays to see this spring in London's West End
As spring finally rears its welcome head and we can look forward to brighter evenings and slightly warmer temperatures, the new season in London's West End is gearing up to present another memorable set of hit plays to suit a wide range of different tastes. From revivals of American classic drama to quirky British comedies, some of this season's biggest shows reflect a variety of different dramatic forms that provide many of your favourite faces from stage and screen the opportunity to be seen in a different light.
Below is our Spring Pick of West End plays that should certainly be on your radar:
Duke of York's Theatre until 29 April 2017.
John Tiffany's hit production of Tennessee Williams' seminal classic play was met with fantastic reviews when it opened earlier this month at the Duke of York's Theatre, including a five star review from London Theatre. Known as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century it is gently revisited in a refreshing manner that focuses on the strength and beauty of the committed performances, led by titan of the Broadway stage Cherry Jones. You'll be hard pressed to find a more emotional and gripping version of this extraordinary text, so don't miss your chance to see a truly remarkable production that will "lodge in your mind and soul for years to come".
The Apollo Theatre until 29 April 2017.
Perhaps 2017 hasn't already given you enough to think about and you fancy a play that's going to challenge your brain whilst also entertaining you in a fast-paced and often confusing comedy. Tom Stoppard’s 'dazzling' comedy of art, love and revolution transfers to the West End following a sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory. It's not often that James Joyce, Tristan Tzara and Lenin appear together on stage, but Stoppard presents this wild and often absurd play "as remembered - and misremembered - by Henry Carr, a minor British diplomat in Zurich 1917." Intrigued? We guarantee it. Patrick Marber directs a top cast that includes Tom Hollander, Freddie Fox and Clare Foster that might leave your head in a spin but will certainly offer lots to talk about on the tube home.
National Theatre, 15 February to 17 April 2017.
If gender-bending Shakespeare is your thing you won't want to miss the National Theatre's revival of one of the Bard's most celebrated comedies. Tamsin Grieg sports the yellow cross-gartered tights as grumpy 'Malvolia' in Simon Goodwin's jolly new production that promises plenty of laughs and top-rate performances. Shipwrecks, twins, cross-dressing, unrequited love and mistaken identity collide in one of the most perfect comedies ever written. If music be your food of love, you'll be sure to yelling for it to play on. Help challenge the idea that Shakespeare has to be played with "original lighting" and support this exciting and original take. Guaranteed 'lolling' in the aisles.
The Old Vic, 25 February to 29 April 2017.
Those who didn't quite catch Daniel Radcliffe's acclaimed and exposed West End debut in Equus will no doubt be excited to see the Boy Wizard turned Broadway star in the 50th anniversary revival of Tom Stoppard's acclaimed 'behind the scenes' take on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Frequently described as a modern classic this mind-bending tragicomedy is directed by David Leveaux and stars Daniel Radcliffe alongside Joshua McGuire and David Haig. Audiences who are new to the play can expect a hilarious take on the woes of the Danish Prince, told from the perspective of two otherwise background characters. Expect quality acting, a finely tuned production and plenty of Stoppard's idiosyncrasies.
Harold Pinter, 22 February to 27 May 2017
"It's like dinner with the Macbeths" described Conleth Hill in our recent interview with the 'Game of Thrones' and double Olivier Award-winner who is currently mid rehearsal for this explosive new production of Edward Albee's masterpiece. Denied the Pulitzer Prize due to its loose morals, the play is known around the world, in partial thanks to the iconic film version that starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Small-town American academia provides the backdrop for this intense yet oddly fulfilling text that explores marital problems, insecurities and tortured egos. So powerful you can almost feel the hangover from the audience. Celebrated director James Macdonald is sure to expand on the brilliance of Albee's text and with Imelda Staunton leading the charge as Martha, this is already set to be one of the most exciting revivals of the year.
Theatre Royal Haymarket, 24 March to 24 June 2017.
In the year following the death of Edward Albee it is perhaps fitting that the West End is presenting full scale revivals of two of his iconic dramas. From the early success of ...Virginia Woolf? his 2002 Tony Award-winning play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? sports a title borrowed from Shakespeare that once again poses an intriguing question. The dark comedy follows Martin, a middle-aged, hugely successful architect whose seemingly perfect life is thrown into total turmoil when he confides in his best friend that he has fallen in love with a goat named Sylvia. 'Homeland' star Damian Lewis returns to the West End opposite Sophie Okonedo to bring this fascinating play to a new audience. At a time when liberal society is asking itself how far it can be pushed, Albee asks the audience to question their beliefs and examine their own bigoted views to reconsider their judgement of matters that may or may not be considered socially taboo. Refreshingly relevant.
Wyndham's Theatre, 17 March to 10 June 2017.
David Tennant on stage is always big news. Following his sold-out RSC Hamlet in the West End he has since brought a variety of Shakespeare characters to life including the enigmatic Richard II and the hilariously grumpy Benedict. His next stage outing comes in the somewhat dirtier form of Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho, a relocated modern adaptation of Moliere's 1665 comedy surrounding the sex-addict Don Juan. Originally premiering in London back in 2006 the play was praised by critics for its sharp writing and clever modern makeover, and we can certainly expect to see modern day Soho portrayed onstage in all its anarchic glory. In a society 'entranced by sensation', prepare to meet this amoral hedonist and see Tennant in a brand new light...Not recommended for those under that age of 16, or those unwilling to see their favourite Doctor in compromising situations.