tue 22/05/2018

The Best Plays in London | reviews, news & interviews

The Best Plays in London

The Best Plays in London

From the Ides of March to modern monologues: theartsdesk's stage tips

Seána Kerslake and Ben Chaplin in Joe Penhall's ‘Mood Music’ at the Old VicManuel Harlan

London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty National Theatre to the West End, the small powerhouses of the Donmar Warehouse and the Almeida and out to the fringe theatres, it's hard to know which to turn. Our guide is here to help you sort the wheat from the chaff. Below is our selection of the best plays on in London right now, with links to our reviews for further elucidation.


Absolute Hell, National Theatre ★★★ High gloss show saves Rodney Ackland's over-rated classic Until 16 Jun

Brief Encounter, Empire Cinema ★★★★ Poignant, hilarious revival of Emma Rice's lauded stage version returns with charm and inventiveness intact. Until 2 Sep

Building the Wall, Park Theatre ★★★★ Different Americas clash in engrossing two-hander set in Texas prison. Until 2 Jun

Describe the Night, Hampstead Theatre ★★★★ A not-very-brief history of Russia's relationship with lies and lying. Until 9 Jun

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre ★★★★★ The continuing story of JK Rowling's witches and wizards works its magic onstage.

Mood Music, Old Vic ★★★★ Joe Penhall’s riveting critique of the music biz really rocks. Until 16 Jun

Nine Night, National Theatre ★★★ New comedy about a West Indian wake is lively, but a bit undercooked. Until 26 May

Pressure, Ambassador's Theatre ★★★★ David Haig is terrific in his own documentary drama about the weather on the eve of D-Day is a success. From 6 Jun to 1 Sep

Red, Wyndham's Theatre ★★★★ Alfred Molina gives a towering performance as Mark Rothko. Until 28 Jul

The Ferryman, Gielgud Theatre ★★★★ Jez Butterworth’s new epic is a breathtaking triumph of storytelling. Until 19 May

The Moderate Soprano, Duke of York's Theatre ★★★★ Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll serve David Hare's iron fist in velvet glove to perfection. Until 30 Jun

The Prudes, Royal Court ★★★ Anthony Neilson's two-hander about sex is wise and funny, but fails to achieve a climas. Until 2 Jun

The Writer, Almeida Theatre ★★★ Romola Garai gives a storming performance in deliberately tricksy Ella Hickson play. Until 26 May

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