This theatre guide is unlike any other. Interested? Excellent, we’ll tell you why. Rather than listing all the wonderful shows in London, we’ve chosen the best of the new and contemporary shows and left out the masses.
We think our knowledgeable audience will appreciate our edit, which is packed full of the best current shows, rather than being clogged up with shows you’ve known about for yonks.
London’s on fire right now – especially with Tina herself (well, kind of) about to take to the stage.
Choose from the best of London’s new theatre below, and we’ve included helpful booking links so you can do two jobs at once.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll One: Tina The Musical
What is it? She has retired, and once vowed never to be involved with a musical about her own life. But Tina admitted she was thrilled when this show came together. The energy and charisma of a young Tina will be channeled through American upstart Adrienne Warren, as the musical tackles all of Tina’s big numbers, as well as the sad domestic violence elements of Tina’s early life.
Why go? This is as close as you’ll get to Tina live these days!
The Game-Changing One: Hamilton
What is it? The hip-hop musical that changed everything, this show – incase you didn’t know – tells the story of an American Founding Father with more panache than a sashaying drag queen. The story is broken down into bitesize chunks of rhyming, rapped language and the dancing is hyper-cool too. It’s one not to miss under any circumstances.
Why go? So you’re in on the conversation – no-one’s going to stop talking about Hamilton for a while.
The Literary One: Oscar Wilde season rolls on with An Ideal Husband
What is it? Theatre makers Classic Spring are serving up a veritable feast of Wilde, which is soon onto its third course, Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband. Known as “the Rolls Royce of English comedies”, the play dissects the relationship between politics and the home, with lashes of Wilde’s characteristic satirical humour
Why go? Lady Windemere’s Fan, the second play in the season, received great reviews, particularly for Jennifer Saunders’s performance, which had new lines written into it including a sung monologue to the audience during a scene change that was simply hysterical. We have high hopes for this next instalment.
The Starry One: Killer Joe
What is it? This show about a killer-for-hire documents the Smith family, who bizarrely plan to murder an estranged matriarch of the family in order to gain her insurance money.
Why go? Orlando Bloom returns to the London stage to star in this comic cult piece – but can he breathe new life into it? Time will tell.
The Drag Musical: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
What is it? “Billy Elliot for today’s generation”, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a coming-of-age drag musical about a boy who wanted to go to his prom wearing a dress. It’s joyously uplifting, with brilliant songs and remarkably fresh storytelling.
Why go? Jamie isn’t a coming out tale – he’s already proudly out of the closet – this musical is so different because it features a central gay character who isn’t defined by his sexuality, but by his interest in performance and the relationships and tensions his passions create. Jamie is a fleshed-out queer character to celebrate.
The Political One: Caroline, or Change
What is it? This musical about the American civil rights movement is a five-star effort. Sharon D. Clarke sizzles as Caroline, a black maid who works tirelessly for a bad wage as the world passes her by.
Why go? Set Designer Fly Davis plunges the audience in the shatteringly dark basement of a suburban middle class house where Caroline works for most of the play. The brightly-lit middle class family are hauntingly displayed above her, but the perspective from down below – where Caroline spends most of her life working for little money – is haunting.
The One Made By ABBA: Chess
What is it? Blink and you’ll miss this iconic musical’s return to London, by Benny and Björn from ABBA. The bizarre premise is a love story during a … world championship chess competition. Sexy af. (It only runs for 5 weeks so jump on tickets quick).
Why go? ABBA fans will fall of their rockers for this – it’s the first time the musical has been back on the stage since its premiere production in 1986. It gave birth to a lot of killer numbers too, including the Elaine Page-sung ‘I Know Him So Well’.
The One About The TV: Quiz
What is it? Based on one of the most seminal, and downright bizarre moments of modern TV history, this new sensational comedy is based on the Major Charles Ingram scandal when he fraudulently won Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Why go? Playwright James Graham has already penned some corkers. He was behind the National’s This House, and the recent Labour of Love production.
The Love Story: Strictly Ballroom
What is it? This timely show actually has nothing to do with the TV show of a similar name – Strictly Ballroom is another show about ballroom dancing, starring everyone’s favourite, Will Young. The former pop star plays a ‘radical’ dancer who gets into a relationship with a new dancing upstart.
Why go? The show is based upon a successful Baz Luhrmann film of the same name, so fans of Baz’s other work, including Romeo & Juliet and The Great Gatsby, join the ranks.
The Huge Production: 42nd Street
What is it? A classic Broadway musical, 42nd Street follows that tried-and-tested musical route of staging a show about… you guessed it, putting on a show. ’60s icon Lulu is about to join the cast, and following a vat of excellent five-star reviews when the show opened last year, now’s the chance to follow through and book.
Why go? The production value really is staggering. The dances are more ambitious than we’ve ever seen, and on towering sets and with a cast of dozens, the choreography stands unbeaten and in a category of its own.
The Satirical One: Book Of Mormon
What is it? A satirical piss take musical from the creators of South Park. The musical follows two missionaries as they preach Mormonism in a remote village in Uganda.
Why go? If you enjoyed Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s other work, which famously includes the filthy musical Avenue Q.
The Mel Brooks One: Young Frankenstein
What is it? The legendary story of Frankenstein has been given a musical, comedic make-over for the West End – famous famous are involved, including Ross Noble in this vivacious, macabre comedy.
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Why go? Mel Brooks – the brainbox who did The Producers and Blazing Saddles – is behind this new musical. In his Nineties, Mel is still a true pioneer, making shows that feel contemporary.
The Nostalgic One: Matilda
What is it? Roald Dahl’s classic has been turned into a sublime high-energy stage creation that received very fond reviews. It’s now on a mini-UK tour, but still going strong in Covent Garden.
Why go? Musical aficionado Tim Minchin has written the characterful score, which has updated the show for new audiences that may – or may not – have been around in the Nineties to appreciate the shiny Hollywood film.