London theatre: the best plays and shows on now

Telegraph Reporters
Our guide to the best shows in London, from Hamilton (bottom left) to Wicked (bottom right)

From School of Rock to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, this is our regularly updated guide to the best plays and shows in the West End and beyond

Beckett Triple Bill ★★★☆☆

Where: Jermyn Street Theatre

Address: 16B Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6ST

Until: February 8

Niall Buggy (left) and David Threlfall in The Old Tune Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "Trevor Nunn directs a triple pack of Beckett playlets, parcels of bleakness unwrapped with due care and almost delighted attention: Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), Eh Joe (1965) and The Old Tune (1960), a free adaptation of avant-gardist Robert Pinget’s La Manivelle. James Hayes, David Threlfall and (in voiceover) Lisa Dwan star." Read the full review

Buy Beckett Triple Bill tickets (returns only)

Three Sisters ★★★★☆

Where: National's Lyttelton Theatre

Address: South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Until: February 19

Three Sisters at the National Theatre Credit: Richard Davenport

In a nutshell:  "Poet and playwright Inua Ellams's superb adaptation of Three Sisters is set amid Nigeria’s civil war. It brilliantly fuses the personal and political while demonstrating that Chekhov can thrive far beyond the bounds of Europe." Read the full review

Buy Three Sisters tickets

Scenes with Girls ★★★★☆

Where: Royal Court

Address: Sloane Square, Belgravia, London SW1W 8AS

Until: February 22

Tanya Reynolds and Rebekah Murrell in Scenes with Girls Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "Miriam Battye’s superbly acted debut play begins as a conventional flat-share drama, but one laced with sexual tension. Lou and Tosh, both twenty-something friends from school, live together in the sort of easy, affectionate companionship that suggests they can tell each other everything – except that, on listening closer, you realise that they only ever talk about sex and men. The cut-and-thrust dialogue is served with a scathingly funny light touch." Read the full review

Buy Scenes with Girls tickets

Faustus: That Damned Woman ★★★★☆

Where: Lyric Hammersmith

Address: Lyric Square, King St, Hammersmith, London W6 0QL

Until: Feb 22

Jodie McNee in Faustus: That Damned Woman Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell:"In a gender-flipped, ideas-rich version of Marlowe's classic, playwright Chris Bush casts her own spell with her almost satirical script. Directed by Caroline Byrne, Jodie McNee gives an incandescent performance as the heroine who signs a satanic pact with Danny Lee Wynter's Mephistopheles." Read the full review

Buy Faustus: That Damned Woman tickets

My Brilliant Friend ★★★★☆

Where: National's Olivier Theatre

Address: South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Until: February 22

My Brilliant Friend at the National Theatre Credit: Marc Brenner

In a nutshell: "Playwright April De Angelis and director Melly Still have condensed Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, detailing the post-war Italian lives of two childhood friends, into a two-part theatrical feast. Catherine McCormack and Niamh Cusack star." Read the full review

Buy My Brilliant Friend tickets

Persona ★★★☆☆

Where: Riverside Studios

Address: 101 Queen Caroline St, Hammersmith, London W6 9BN

Until: February 23

Persona at the Riverside Studios Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell:"A chamber staging of Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 febrile classic Persona in the newly renovated legendary mixed-arts venue by Hammersmith Bridge. An actress manifests an existential malady of muteness while performing Electra and forms a strange, symbiotic attachment to her quietly troubled nurse. A theatrical footnote to a cinematic masterpiece." Read the full review

Buy Persona tickets

The Sunset Limited ★★★★☆

Where: Boulevard Theatre

Address: 6 Walker's Court, Soho, London W1F 0BT

Until: February 29

Gary Beadle (left) and Jasper Britton in The Sunset Limited Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell:  "The UK premiere of The Sunset Limited, a 2006 play by Cormac McCarthy – held by some to be America’s greatest living author – is as bleak and midwintery as anything by Samuel Beckett. A white college-professor type has been rescued from jumping on to the New York subway track by a black Good Samaritan and brought to the latter’s tenement room. Jasper Britton and Gary Beadle star." Read the full review

Buy The Sunset Limited tickets

Cyrano de Bergerac ★★★★★

Where: Playhouse Theatre

Address: Northumberland Ave, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DE

Until: February 29

James McAvoy as Cyrano de Bergerac Credit: Marc Brenner

In a nutshell:"It's a coup to have James McAvoy treading the boards in the West End, and a coup de théâtre to lop off the most famous proboscis in the canon – McAvoy lends his own conk to Cyrano. At a stroke, this gives Edmond Rostand's 1897 comedy a new dimension about negative self-image. A wit-crammed new verse translation by Martin Crimp makes it a knockout night." Read the full review

Buy Cyrano de Bergerac tickets

Touching the Void ★★★★★

Where: Duke of York's Theatre

Address: St Martin's Ln, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4BG

Until: February 29

Touching the Void at the Duke of York's Theatre Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "Joe Simpson's best-selling 1988 account of the terrifying battle for survival that ensued during an ill-fated mountaineering expedition up the Peruvian Andes has been turned into a gripping, stirring stage piece by playwright David Greig. Tom Morris directs his finest production since War Horse." Read the full review

Buy Touching the Void tickets

Cirque du Soleil: Luzia ★★★☆☆

Where: Royal Albert Hall

Address: Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP

Until: March 1

Cirque Du Soleil: Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall Credit: Getty Images

In a nutshell: "The Canadian circus stars' latest show is a well-pitched and ambitious tribute to Mexico. It blends a litany of circus staples and contemporary techniques in a stylish, visually satisfying journey through the mythology and culture of Cirque du Soleil director Dienele Finzi Pasca’s adopted home." Read the full review

Buy Cirque du Soleil: Luzia tickets

The Boy Friend ★★★★☆

Where: Menier Chocolate Factory

Address: 53 Southwark St, London SE1 1RU

Until: March 7

Amara Okereke as Polly and Dylan Mason as Tony in The Boy Friend Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "There's a quality of indestructible optimism in this Twenties musical's carefree portrait of finishing school gals falling head over heels with delectable pals on the Cote d’Azur. Having pretended to have a boyfriend, wealthy heiress Polly affects to be a humble secretary after she’s instantly smitten with errant rich-kid Tony, who’s slumming it as an errand-boy." Read the full review

Buy The Boy Friend tickets

Kunene and the King ★★★☆☆

Where: Ambassadors Theatre

Address: West St, London WC2H 9ND

Until: March 28

John Kani (left) and Anthony Sher in Kunene and the King Credit: Ellie Kurttz/RSC

In a nutshell:  "Written and performed by the legendary South African actor John Kani – starring opposite Antony Sher – this play is a compelling if cursory exploration of the legacy of Apartheid as expressed through the fast-flowering yet prickly rapport between a dying white South African actor and the elderly black male nurse who comes to tend to him." Read the full review

Buy Kunene and the King tickets

Waitress ★★★★☆

Where: Adelphi Theatre

Address: Strand, London WC2R 0NS

Booking until: March 28

Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "The unlikely hit musical about a diner waitress stuck in an abusive relationship who dreams of winning a pie contest. This is the first West End musical with an all-female lead creative team. The ballads are meltingly lovely, and the comic songs very funny indeed. It's altogether very moreish." Read the full review

Buy Waitress tickets

School of Rock ★★★★★

Where: Gillian Lynne Theatre (formerly New London Theatre)

Address: 166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5PW

Booking until: April 5

School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre Credit: Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: "Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes have made the grade in turning this much-loved 2003 Hollywood comedy into a musical. The stage version cleaves closely to the celluloid storyline, following the misadventures of Dewey Finn, a rock-loving slob who wangles an illicit gig as a supply teacher (faking his best friend’s identity) at a posh prep school. Once there, he courts the risk of exposure while giving his over-regimented charges a liberating education in rock... It's the most enjoyable few hours money can buy."  Read the full review

Buy School of Rock tickets

Only Fools and Horses ★★★☆☆

Where: Theatre Royal Haymarket

Address: 18 Suffolk St, London SW1Y 4HT

Booking until: April 25

Paul Whitehouse in Only Fools and Horses Credit: Johan Persson

In a nutshell: "Only generous-hearted fools and die-hard fans need apply within for this endearing but theatrically under-achieved stage-musical version of the much-loved BBC sitcom, which features Paul Whitehouse as Grandad." Read the full review

Buy Only Fools and Horses tickets

Uncle Vanya ★★★★☆

Where: Harold Pinter Theatre

Address: Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN

Until: May 2

Toby Jones (left) and Richard Armitage in Uncle Vanya Credit: Johan Persson

In a nutshell: "The impeccably rumpled and rueful Toby Jones gives a bravura performance in Conor McPherson's foul-mouthed but nuanced new version of Chekhov's great masterpiece of midlife regret. Ian Rickson directs an ensemble cast that also includes Richard Armitage and Aimee Lou Wood." Read the full review

Buy Uncle Vanya tickets

The Book of Mormon ★★★★★

Where: Prince of Wales Theatre

Address: Coventry St, London, W1D 6AS

Booking until: May 2

The Book of Mormon

In a nutshell: "The songs may not be memorable, but it is exuberant, and, like the colourful extravaganza that the Africans put on at the end (stringing together all of the lies the naughty Mormon has told them) it works in a way that is rather mystifying... Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the fellows behind South Park) and Robert Lopez (the chap behind Avenue Q), have created something that, God have mercy upon my soul, I found very funny." Read the full review

Buy The Book of Mormon tickets

The Welkin ★★★☆☆ 

Where: National's Lyttelton Theatre

Address: South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Until: May 23

The cast of The Welkin at the National Theatre Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

In a nutshell: "Lucy Kirkwood's new play, set in Suffolk in 1759, captures the inescapable lot of its rural women: to toil and to suffer, unheard, unseen. Maxine Peake stars as the local proto-feminist midwife called on to deliberate on whether a young woman, Sally Poppy, convicted of killing an 11 year old girl, is pregnant, potentially saving her from the hangman’s noose." Read the full review

Buy The Welkin tickets

9 to 5 ★★★☆☆

Where: Savoy Theatre

Address:  Savoy Ct, London WC2R 0ET

Until: May 23

9 to 5 at the Savoy Theatre Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "Based on Dolly Parton’s revenge comedy about three harassed female office-workers who hold their loathsome male boss hostage, humiliating him and transforming their work-place, this is a colourful, feelgood musical – but also flimsy and slight.” Read the full review

Buy 9 to 5 tickets

Come From Away ★★★☆☆

Where: Phoenix Theatre

Address: Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JP

Until: May 23

Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell:"The denizens of Gander, Newfoundland, a remote spot off the Atlantic, laid on a warm welcome for thousands of disorientated and distressed air-passengers stranded there after the closure of American airspace on September 11, 2001. Fair play to Canadian married duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein for revisiting (after on-the-ground research) this remarkable week of friendships formed and faith in humanity restored, using life-affirming song and dance." Read the full review

Buy Come From Away tickets

Dear Evan Hansen ★★★★☆

Where: Noël Coward Theatre

Address: 85-88 St Martin's Ln, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4AP

Booking until: May 30

Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre Credit: Matthew Murphy

In a nutshell:"This Tony-winning satirical musical romcom sees the titular gauche teen hero milk the suicide of a fellow student for empathy. There's something slightly chilly about it all; it's easier to admire than to love. But the show has a real star in 21-year-old star Sam Tutty, fresh out of drama school and making his West End debut. His ever-shifting mixture of twitches and pained smiles, combined with his ability to hold song after song, is a treat to behold." Read the full review

Buy Dear Evan Hansen tickets

Magic Goes Wrong ★★★★☆

Where: Vaudeville Theatre

Address: 404 Strand, Covent Garden, London WC2R 0NH

Booking until: May 31

Magic Goes Wrong at Vaudeville Theatre Credit: Robert Day

In a nutshell:"The latest wheeze from those incorrigible scamps Mischief (the team behind The Play That Goes Wrong) – fringe whizz-kids turned theatrical world-leaders in the art of comic incompetence, who have joined forces for this show with ace magicians Penn & Teller. " Read the full review

Buy Magic Goes Wrong tickets 

Mamma Mia! The Party ★★★☆☆

Where: 02 Arena

Address: Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0DX

Booking until: May 31

Mamma Mia! The Party at the O2 Credit: Helen Maybanks

In a nutshell: "Mamma Mia was a song that became a musical, and then two films. Now, it is a package: Mamma Mia! The Party – a dinner, an immersive theatre show and a disco. With tickets starting at £135,  you could fly to Skopelos, the idyllic Greek village that inspired the whole venture, for less. It may be pricey, but the silliness is irresistible – only the churlish would claim this wasn’t fun." Read the full review

Buy Mamma Mia: The Party tickets

Hamilton ★★★★★

Where: Victoria Palace Theatre

Address: 126 Victoria Street, SW1E 5EA

Booking until: June 20

Hamilton at the Victoria Palace theatre Credit: Mathew Murphy

In a nutshell: "Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical phenomenon – the most talked-about musical of the century – retells the life and times of Alexander Hamilton (c1755 – 1804), first Secretary of the US Treasury, using a predominantly non-white cast and a welter of rap music." Read the full review

Hamilton tickets and information

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical ★★★★★

Where: Aldwych Theatre

Address: 49 Aldwych London WC2B 4DF

Booking Until: June 27

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre Credit: Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: "An Anglo-American triumph. This musical retelling of the life of Tina Turner combines the aesthetic finesse of British director Phyllida Lloyd with the political instincts of Memphis-born, Olivier nominated playwright Katori Hall." Read the full review

Buy Tina – The Tina Turner Musical tickets

& Juliet ★★★☆☆

Where: Shaftsbury Theatre

Address: 210 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8DP

Booking until: July 4

& Juliet at the Shaftsbury Theatre Credit: Johann Persson

In a nutshell:"Using the music of Max Martin (the writer behind hits for Katy Perry and Britney Spears), this loud, proud show re-imagines Shakespeare's heroine's 'ending' as a new start. While this show isn’t in the same league as Mamma Mia! by fellow Swedes Abba, those with a willing ear for his brand of shiny pop will enjoyh it." Read the full review

Buy & Juliet tickets

The Lion King ★★★★☆

Where: Lyceum Theatre

Address: 21 Wellington St, London WC2E 7RQ

Booking until: July 5

The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre Credit: Brinkhoff and Mogenburg

In a nutshell: "In theory it should all feel contrived – you've got Elton John and Tim Rice's anthemic pop efforts sharing the same terrain as earthy, soul-stirring African arrangements. The human presence creating the animal magic is openly signalled in the costumes and puppetry. And yet, for all that calculation, the over-riding impression is one of freshness – of potentially incongruous elements flowing together quite naturally." Read the full review

Buy The Lion King tickets

Mary Poppins ★★★★★

Where: Prince Edward Theatre

Address: Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 4HS

Booking until: July 26

Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre Credit: Johan Persson

In a nutshell: "With a script by Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes and songs from the 1964 film (as well as newer numbers), this glorious musical stars Zizi Strallen as the magical nanny." Read the full review

Buy Mary Poppins tickets

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie ★★★★☆

Where: Apollo Theatre

Address: 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES

Booking until: August 29

Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre Credit: Getty

In a nutshell:"Is Everybody’s Talking About Jamie the new Billy Elliot for our times? It tells the story of Jamie New (sharp, sassy, and delightfully out there and vulnerable), a gay teenager at a northern comprehensive, who, platinum-blond cropped hair shining like a beacon, decides to make his name as a cross-dresser." Read the full review

Buy Everybody's Talking About Jamie tickets

Witness for the Prosecution ★★★★☆

Where: London County Hall

Address: Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB

Booking until: September 13

Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "Lucy Bailey directs this entertaining adaptation of Agatha Christie's Twenties courtroom murder mystery, in which a man is accused of killing a widow in order to inherit her wealth. Staged in chambers at London's magnificent County Hall, this production puts the audience right at the heart of the action." Read the full review

Buy Witness for the Prosecution tickets

Mamma Mia! ★★★☆☆

Where: Novello Theatre

Address: Aldwych, London, WC2B 4LD

Booking until: September 19

Mamma Mia at the Novello theatre Credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

In a nutshell: "Catherine Johnson's witty and ingenious script weaves Abba's famous songs around characters you care about, in an involving story about a strong-willed single mum and her 20-year-old daughter who wants to find out who her father is before she gets married." Read the full review

Buy Mamma Mia! tickets

Les Misérables ★★★★★

Where: Sondheim Theatre

Address: 51 Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, London W1D 6BA

Booking until: October 17

The cast of Les Misérables Credit: Helen Maybanks

In a nutshell: "The revolutionary musical based on the 1862 novel is back in the West End, reworked with a fresh Victor Hugo-inspired design that matches the ambient splendour of the Sondheim Theatre (formerly the Queen's, renamed after a £13 million renovation)." Read the full review

Buy Les Misérables tickets

Wicked ★★★☆☆

Where: Apollo Victoria Theatre

Address: 17 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1LG

Booking until: November 28

Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

In a nutshell: "No one could accuse Wicked of being a great musical – indeed at times it's a bit of a mess – but it proves far more enjoyable than I had dared to hope, and deserves a wider audience than adolescent schoolgirls." Read the full review

Buy Wicked tickets

Matilda: The Musical ★★★★★

Where: Cambridge Theatre

Address: 32-34 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9HU

Booking until: December 20

Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre Credit: Alastair Muir

In a nutshell: "The RSC’s hilarious, moving and magical production of Matilda has now arrived in the West End, where I suspect it will delight audiences for years to come... It is the best new British musical since Billy Elliot. Dennis Kelly has adapted Roald Dahl's famous story for the stage, while Aussie comedian Tim Minchin has come up with a smashing score that combines take-home melodies with delicious lyrical wit."

Buy Matilda: The Musical tickets

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ★★★★★

Where: Palace Theatre

Address: Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 5AY

Booking until: Jan 24, 2021

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre Credit: Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: "Tremors of excitement at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the first Potter play, and the eighth story in the publishing phenomenon that made J K Rowling’s name and fortune – are being felt across the world... The big news is that this is just what was needed, will raise the benchmark for family entertainment for years to come and may even usher in a whole cycle of Potter-world stories." Read the full review

Buy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets