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London Theatre Guide: The Best Plays in London

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London Theatre Guide: The Best Plays in London

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In our regularly updated London theatre guide, we bring you the best plays to see in town to inject a little culture into your week. These are the best plays in London, from classics and adaptations, to debuts, comedy shows and beloved West End hits.

BOOK: The Best Immersive Experiences in London

Ghost Stories

Simon Lipkin (Professor Goodman) in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo credit Chris Payne

Nine years after it was first presented there, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s cult horror show Ghost Stories returned to the Lyric Hammersmith earlier this year. This October, it transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre for a 12-week run to tie in with Halloween – more terrifying than ever before. While the plot remains top secret, you’ll be attending a lecture given by Professor Goodman, who tells of three people claiming to have met the supernatural. Be prepared for some serious shocks and thrills – those with a nervous disposition are advised to think very seriously before attending. The Ambassadors Theatre; until 4 January 2020

War Horse

War Horse

Photo: Brinkhoff & Mogenberg

Part of an exciting and ongoing UK and International tour, War Horse is returning to the capital for an exclusive run of performances at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. The beloved and inspiring drama based on Michael Morpurgo’s cherished children’s novel follows the emotive story of a young man’s search to find his horse during the first World War. Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre; 18 October – 23 November

Botticelli In The Fire

Botticelli in the Fire

Escape to Renaissance Italy with a performance of this impassioned and alluring play at Hampstead Theatre this autumn. Written by Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill and led by award-winning theatre director Blanche McIntyre, Botticelli in the Fire explores themes of devotion, survival and sacrifice, following the tempestuous life of ‘playboy’ Sandro Botticelli as his society begins to crumble. Hampstead Theatre; 18 October – 23 November

Groan Ups

Groan Ups

From Mischief Theatre – the company that brought us joy from The Play That Goes Wrong – comes Groan Ups, a brand spanking new comedy detailing the experience of ‘growing up’, featuring an array of original company members including Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis and Charlie Russell. Vaudeville Theatre; Until 1 December

Faustus: That Damned Woman

Faustus: That Damned Woman

Opening at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and written by award-winning playwright Chris Bush, Faustus: That Damned Woman is set to be a fascinating performance inspired by the Faustus myth, questioning what it is we have to sacrifice in order to achieve eminence. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre; 22 January – 22 February 2020

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

If you’re at all worried that this sacred text is being subjugated to any overblown, blindingly bright theatrics, then take a breath and relax. It’s not. The production delivers the same bliss of quality story telling as the books. Solid acting jobs in an almost black box theatre environment form the sturdy foundation of this production, so that once the effects are thrown in the mix (expect to be genuinely amazed) the result is pure magic. Palace Theatre; until 19 January 2020

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Helen Murray

Experience the Dickens novel in a whole new gothic light. Performed entirely through music and ensemble storytelling, the contemporary adaptation directed by Mumba Dodwell explores love, class and expectations, performed by the acclaimed National Youth Theatre Rep Company. Southwark Playhouse; 25 October – 30 November 

Deluxe

Deluxe

The latest production from trailblazing dance group BalletBoyz, Deluxe promises to be an exciting and enthralling performance, combining spectacular dance acts with an exclusive and original soundtrack. Marking 20 years since the company first launched, the show is bound to be one of their best yet, featuring performances choreographed by Shanghai dancer and choreographer Xie Xin and outstanding jazz music from artist and composer Cassie Kinoshi. Sadler’s Wells Theatre; 25 – 27 March 2020, followed by a UK tour until May

What’s On at The Royal Albert Hall

Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Helen Maybanks

Mary Shelley’s horror fiction novel has been given a modern-day twist in Carl Miller’s AI-inspired theatre adaptation of Frankenstein, directed by Trestle Theatre’s artistic director, Emily Gray. Experience a theatre performance like never before, featuring VR technology (with the audience wearing virtual reality headsets during parts of the production), gender blind casting and post-human and technological themes. Southwark Playhouse; 18 Oct- 28 Nov

Witness for the Prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution

Sheila Burnett

You’ve been summoned for jury service. Ingeniously set in the real-life chamber of London’s County Hall, Lucy Bailey’s production of Witness for the Prosecution breathes fresh life into the Agatha Christie courtroom drama. Taking well-plotted twists and unexpected turns in a manner capable of only Christie herself, the play is as entrancing and beguiling as the short story. Through the debated innocence of murder suspect Leonard Vole, the plot picks apart the law itself, reminding the audience of its theatricality; the pomp, the circumstance, the wigs. This brilliant rendition of Witness for the Prosecution certainly gives the well-loved BBC adaptions of Christie’s work a run for their money. Booking until 29 March 2020

Mischief Theatre: Magic Goes Wrong

Created with legendary Vegas magicians Penn & Teller, Mischief Theatre conjure up an evening of grand illusion, playing a hapless gang of magicians presenting a charity event. As the accidents spiral out of control, so does their fund- raising target! From 14 December 2019, booking until May 2020

NoFit State Circus at the Roundhouse

The internationally-renowned NoFit State Circus is returning to the Roundhouse with Lexicon, a a stunning production which brings together world class circus performers and musicians in a daring, free-spirited and mischievous take on contemporary circus. Featuring the latest techniques of contemporary circus in the setting of a traditional ring, the show is a trademark anarchic mix of perilous and playful circus full of wild abandon; audiences can expect everything from flying desks and daredevil bicycles to heart-stopping aerial work. 3 – 18 January 2020

Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya, Toby Jones, Richard Armitage © Muse Creative Communications, photography by Seamus Ryan

A compelling adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s 19th Century play, Olivier Award-winning Irish playwright Conor McPherson presents Uncle Vanya, a dark humour-filled production based around the tumultuous lives of Uncle Vanya, played by acclaimed actor Toby Jones, and Doctor Astrov, performed by renowned television actor Richard Armitage, who has starred in the likes of The Hobbit and Ocean’s Eight. Harold Pinter Theatre; 23 Jan – 2 May 2020

Jimmy Carr’s Terribly Funny

Jimmy Carr

For a glorious evening of giggles and raucous laughter, don’t miss Jimmy Carr’s latest comedy show at North West London’s recently launched Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, a hilarious and wonderful enlightening of all the ‘terrible things’ we might have faced throughout our lives. Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre; 11 January 2020

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