The Guardian

The Guardian & The Observer – London Theatre Reviews

London theatre reviews from the UK newspaper The Guardian & The Observer.

Here’s a selection of reviews of London shows from the theatre and arts critics at The Guardian newspaper.

The chief theatre critic at The Guardian is Arifa Akbar, with Chris Wiegand as theatre, comedy and dance editor.

Susannah Clapp writes reviews for the Observer, the Sunday edition of the Guardian.

Mark Lawson also writes reviews for the Guardian.

See below for a full run-down of star ratings and theatre opinions about West End shows in London from The Guardian and the Observer.


The Big Life at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (2024)

★★★
"Big-hearted Windrush musical returns with irrepressible verve" "Paul Sirett and Tameka Empson’s show returns with incredibly infectious songs, ebullient spirit…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Hir Tickets at the Park Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Felicity Huffman wreaks havoc in Taylor Mac’s black comedy" "A rich and messy revival explores ideas of belonging, with the…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Merchant of Venice 1936 at the Criterion Theatre / Watford Palace (2024)

★★★★
"Shylock takes on Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts" (Watford Palace Theatre) "A striking, slick adaptation of Shakespeare’s problematic play sees Tracy-Ann Oberman…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Hadestown at the Lyric Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Thrilling songs from an American underworld" "Anaïs Mitchell’s musical melds two classical myths, folk and jazz with tremendous soul and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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An Enemy of the People at the Duke of York's Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Matt Smith’s groovy firebrand swings from rebel to conspiracist" "Rock’n’roll reimagining of Ibsen’s timeless corruption drama brings the audience into…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Dear Octopus at the National Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Lindsay Duncan and co create a living period piece in Dodie Smith’s rarely performed marvel of a family portrait" "It’s…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Dear Octopus at the National Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Lindsay Duncan leads a warm drama about a bickering family" "Dodie Smith’s play presents a beautifully drawn, four-generation celebration of…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (2024)

★★★★★
"Sarah Snook plays 26 characters in dazzling, dangerous solo show" "Aided by elaborate tech, multiple screens and an angelic wig,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (2024)

★★
"Sarah Snook’s one-woman Wilde is so wrong it’s almost right" "The casting is so extravagantly wide of the mark, it…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Just For One Day at the The Old Vic theatre (2024)

★★★
"The music carries a tame Live Aid nostalgiafest" "It is a shame that, on the Old Vic’s stage, songs seldom…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Just For One Day at the The Old Vic theatre (2024)

★★
"Live Aid musical has soaring voices and pancake-flat characters" "Jukebox show celebrating sweary Bob Geldof’s 1985 mega-fundraiser piles homily on…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Hills of California at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Dreams of fame trap and inspire in Jez Butterworth’s female-centred, Blackpool-set new play" "Butterworth is ingenious about the way fantasy…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Hills of California at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Jez Butterworth’s fractious family of singing sisters" "The Jerusalem playwright’s new drama, directed by Sam Mendes, follows four siblings coached…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Bronco Billy The Musical at the Charing Cross Theatre (2024)

★★
"Clint Eastwood inspires misfiring caper" "Hunter Bird’s often madcap production, based on the 1980 western, has anodyne songs and lacks…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Till the Stars Come Down at the National Theatre (2024)

★★★★★
"Your invitation to the wedding of the year" "Beth Steel’s new drama is dazzlingly performed and full of pain, joy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Till the Stars Come Down at the National Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Beth Steel’s battling Notts wedding guests are a treat" "Beth Steel’s new play Till the Stars Come Down – zingingly…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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A Mirror at the Trafalgar Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Pirandellian wedding drama throws a bouquet of unrealities" [Almeida Theatre] "Sam Holcroft’s drama delights in the theatrical trickery of dual…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2024)

★★★★
"Shakespeare’s tragedy interrogated in New Scotland Yard" "Ola Ince’s production is set within a hostile modern police force and has…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2024)

★★★
"Ola Ince’s Met police Othello makes horrible sense" "In Black-lives-don’t-matter London, Othello is a top cop in the Met. Amelia…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Plaza Suite at the Savoy Theatre (2024)

★★
"Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are spectacles at the celebrity circus" "Despite a thrilling premise – New York’s power…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Plaza Suite at the Savoy Theatre (2024)

"Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker send ticket prices soaring in a creaking Neil Simon revival" "Though rapturously applauded as…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical at the The Other Palace Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Peppy return of toxic teenage liaisons" "There are some excellent performances in an uneven adaptation of the hit film, staged…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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The Enfield Haunting at the Ambassadors Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Catherine Tate and David Threlfall deliver the shivers" "While it doesn’t have the big jump scares of 2:22: A Ghost…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Enfield Haunting at the Ambassadors Theatre (2024)

"Catherine Tate and David Threlfall are stranded in a scarily dull ghost story" "The trigger warnings at The Enfield Haunting…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Exhibitionists at the King's Head Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Bed-hopping comedy of manners is a charmer" "Set in San Francisco’s art world, Shaun McKenna and Andrew Van Sickle’s frothy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Exhibitionists at the King's Head Theatre (2024)

★★
"The new King’s Head kicks off with a cheery, sub-Coward gay romcom" "Exhibitionists, the first production in the new home,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (2024)

★★★
"A chaotic camp delight" "The Divine-inspired villain of The Little Mermaid and her rag-tag band of gay sea creatures reclaim…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Gielgud and Burton battle it out" (National Theatre) "Mark Gatiss and Johnny Flynn star in Jack Thorne’s play about the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Sam Mendes reignites Gielgud and Burton’s Broadway Hamlet" (National Theatre) "Charged up, but without actually propelling the action: too many…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★★
"David Tennant thrills in this high-concept production" "The staging is imaginative and expressive, and the audience is immersed in the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"David Tennant and Cush Jumbo wire you into the Macbeths’ innermost thoughts" "Max Webster’s gimlet production of Macbeth – the…
, The Observer
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Stranger Things: The First Shadow at the Phoenix Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Breathtaking theatre" "This origin story has all the dark mystery of the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix series and delivers one coup…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Stranger Things: The First Shadow at the Phoenix Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Stranger Things takes theatrical spectacle to the next dimension" "The feast of Stranger Things: The First Shadow makes most technologically…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Ulster American at the Riverside Studios (2023)

★★★
"Woody Harrelson and co fire off David Ireland’s machine-gun provocations" "Jeremy Herrin’s rapid, bright production has all-round strong performances from…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Ulster American at the Riverside Studios (2023)

★★★
"Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis perfectly awful in anarchic comedy" "David Ireland’s explosive satire turns into farce as two buffoons…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Cold War at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Elvis Costello soundtracks a postwar Polish love story" "Rupert Goold’s Almeida has seriousness and swagger. You smell those qualities even…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Cold War at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Conor McPherson follows doomed love across eastern bloc" "Luke Thallon and Anya Chalotra are the lovers in this adaptation of…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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Rock 'n' Roll at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Tom Stoppard’s blast from the past" "Stoppard’s 2006 play asks important ideological questions with typically fizzing wordplay but its growling,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Homecoming at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★★
"Pinter’s timeless study of toxic masculinity" "Playing a man meeting his daughter-in-law for the first time, Jared Harris brings out…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Homecoming at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★
"Stealth and a powerful sense of undercurrent are the play’s motors. They do not power Matthew Dunster’s production. Although jazz…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★★
"Small Sondheim is beautifully done" "Co-production with Osaka company brings 1976 study of American imperialism arriving in Japan to subtle,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Stephen Sondheim’s rarely revived Pacific Overtures, first seen on Broadway in 1976, is an intriguing thing: irradiated by the brilliance…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Macbeth The Show at the The Depot, Liverpool (2023)

★★★★
"Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma are magnetic murderers in Simon Godwin’s bleakly immersive warehouse production" "This is not site-specific in…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Macbeth The Show at the The Depot, Liverpool (2023)

★★★
"Ralph Fiennes’ monstrous monarch wages war in a warehouse" "Staged in a hangar-like venue strewn with the charred remnants of…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The House of Bernarda Alba at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Harriet Walter rules as Lorca gets a refurb" "Adapted by Alice Birch and directed by Rebecca Frecknall, this is a…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The House of Bernarda Alba at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Harriet Walter commands the stage in Rebecca Frecknall’s stylish, if underheated Lorca" "Everything is intelligent, but the purpose is too…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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She Stoops To Conquer at the Orange Tree Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A jolly good Christmas comedy" "Freddie Fox is a delight" "There are perfectly pitched performances with just the right touch…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Ghosts at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2023)

★★★
"A fine cast are stranded in Ibsen by candlelight" "Ibsen’s full, complex, upholstered drama does not lend itself to empty…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Ghosts at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2023)

★★★
"Joe Hill-Gibbins directs his own version of the psychodrama, creating a potent atmosphere with designer Rosanna Vize" "A play that…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Witches at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Frights played for fun in rollicking musical" "Roald Dahl’s villains are given a makeover with a gag-filled script by Lucy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Witches at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The youngsters steal the show in the National’s terrifying gothic Disney Roald Dahl" "Lyndsey Turner’s no-expense-spared, no-talent-skipped evil jamboree of…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Mongol Khan at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★★★
"A spectacular, swashbuckling tale of succession" "A colossal cast of singers, dancers, acrobats and contortionists take your breath away in…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"A bittersweet fairytale in New York hits the spot" "Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) is a British…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Charming romcom is a treat" "Two-hander musical matches its wide-eyed hero and sardonic heroine with just the right mix of…
David Jays, The Guardian
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I Should Be So Lucky at the Manchester Opera House / UK Tour (2023)

★★
"Missing the Hit Factory" "Show built around Stock Aitken Waterman’s songs flies so long as the pop classics are playing"…
Nick Ahad, The Guardian
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Backstairs Billy at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★
"Anodyne comedy about the Queen Mother and her servant" "Penelope Wilton plays the isolated royal and Luke Evans is her…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Nutcracker - Tuff Nutt Jazz Club at the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club (Southbank Centre) (2023)

★★★★
"A Christmas dream of love that goes with a swing" "A hunky Action Man opens up a sequin-clad life for…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Nutcracker - Tuff Nutt Jazz Club at the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club (Southbank Centre) (2023)

★★★★
"A radically reimagined warm embrace of a show" "Starring Action Man and a boy called Clive, Drew McOnie’s immersive cabaret…
Sarah Crompton, The Observer
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The Time Traveller’s Wife at the Apollo Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Eternal romance is a bumpy ride" "Joss Stone and Dave Stewart’s strangely forgettable score does little to lift this musical…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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King Lear at the Wyndham's Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Kenneth Branagh’s fast and feverish tragedy" "At two hours with no interval, the actor-director’s production hurtles past at such speed…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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King Lear at the Wyndham's Theatre (2023)

"Kenneth Branagh savours Lear’s words rather too much" "Howl. Kenneth Branagh’s rapid, over-elocuted King Lear has a shaggy vigour but…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Clyde's at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"Lynn Nottage wires us into American life with her all-consuming truck-stop cafe drama" "Few playwrights can shake the stage like…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Clyde's at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"Crunchy kitchen drama is a dish to be savoured" "Clyde runs a mean sandwich shop, while Montrellous is the sensei…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★
"Kristin Scott Thomas charms in messy #MeToo tale" "Starry cast including Lily James and Doon Mackichan are tossed around in…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★
"... her new play skitters all over the place, stunning accomplished actors. A satirical scene leaves astute Doon Mackichan looking…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Here We Are at the Griffin Theatre New York (2023)

★★★
"Posthumous Stephen Sondheim musical is hit-and-miss" "The legendary composer and lyricist’s take on two surrealist Luis Buñuel movies is a…
Gloria Oladipo, The Guardian
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The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath (2023)

★★★
"Brian Cox is magnetic as JS Bach in a clash of values" "The Succession star excels in Oliver Cotton’s play…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath (2023)

★★★
"Brian Cox makes a formidable JS Bach" "Brian Cox, the production’s big draw, exercises an immediate pull as the composer,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Dear England at the Prince Edward Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Touching, funny retelling of Gareth Southgate’s quiet revolution" (National Theatre London) "It’s a game of two halves, but James Graham’s…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Dear England at the Prince Edward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Joseph Fiennes scores as Gareth Southgate in a rousing football drama" (National Theatre London) "... Dear England is by James…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Hamnet at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Slick adaptation captures Shakespeare’s horrified unravelling" (Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon) "Lolita Chakrabarti’s staging of Maggie O’Farrell’s moving novel about the death…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Hamnet at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Shakespeare’s wife moves centre stage in Lolita Chakrabarti’s pivotal adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet" (Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon) "Not since Matilda…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Portia Coughlan at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Drama rich with secrets and mourning" "Marina Carr’s play is beautifully bleak and Alison Oliver’s central performance as a woman…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Portia Coughlan at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Marina Carr’s intense Irish play finds its ideal director" "Make a list of the main elements in Portia Coughlan and…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Sunset Boulevard at the Savoy Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Nicole Scherzinger dazzles in Jamie Lloyd’s radical rework" "Lloyd brings hipster edginess, style and unpredictability to this revival of the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Sunset Boulevard at the Savoy Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Nicole Scherzinger hammers home the drama as Norma Desmond" "The director Jamie Lloyd seizes the story of Norma Desmond, the…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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A Voyage Round My Father at the Theatre Royal Bath (2023)

★★★
"Rupert Everett brings soft focus to John Mortimer’s play" "Richard Eyre’s production of the father-and-son drama has some strong performances…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Noises Off at the Phoenix Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Michael Frayn’s clever farce also proves timeless" (Theatre Royal Haymarket) "Lindsay Posner’s anniversary production, first seen in Bath last year,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Shooting Hedda Gabler at the Rose Theatre Kingston (2023)

★★★★
"Ibsen update is a brilliantly unnerving study of coercive control" "A demanding director drives his cast into discomforting areas in…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Flowers For Mrs Harris at the Riverside Studios (2023)

★★★
"Sweetly unassuming musical with dreams of chic" "Jenna Russell gives a shining performance of quiet resolve in this musical adaptation…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Boys From The Blackstuff at the Royal Court Liverpool (2023)

★★★★
"Powerful portrayals of working-class pride" "James Graham’s funny and violent TV adaptation belies a sensitive study of male mental health,…
Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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Boys From The Blackstuff at the Royal Court Liverpool (2023)

★★★★
"Alan Bleasdale’s 80s TV classic about jobless workers hits home in James Graham’s adaptation" "The story is both specific and…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends at the Gielgud Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"An all-star tribute to the acid genius of the late composer offers a terrific medley of hits" "It is hard…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends at the Gielgud Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Merrily they roll along" "A cleverly cast tribute, featuring Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga and Bonnie Langford, reflects on the passing…
Claire Armistead, The Guardian
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Close Up: The Twiggy Musical at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Ben Elton’s strange and sentimental snapshot" "With a jarring tone and karaoke hits, this show never truly captures the highs…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The White Factory at the Marylebone Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Holocaust drama raises troubling questions about today’s tyrants" "Set in a Polish ghetto, Dmitry Glukhovsky’s superb play explores the terrible…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Frank and Percy at the The Other Palace (2023)

★★
"McKellen and Allam’s banter meanders into romance" (Theatre Royal Windsor) "Ian McKellen and Roger Allam star in a rambling but…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play at the Young Vic theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Ferociously funny satire calls out centuries of colonialist dramas" (Royal Exchange Manchester) "Kimber Lee’s punky polemic circles through pastiches of…
Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play at the Young Vic theatre (2023)

★★★
(Royal Exchange Manchester) "Kimber Lee’s untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play, ripping into the portrayal of Asian characters, is an overdue…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Beautiful Thing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (2023)

★★★★★
"90s teens navigating tough times in a tender-hearted triumph" "Jonathan Harvey’s breakthrough play still blazes with a stubborn utopian impulse…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Mlima’s Tale at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Haunted by the elephant who would not forget" "Ira Mandela Siobhan plays a pachyderm in Lynn Nottage’s indictment of the…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Vanya at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Andrew Scott excels in one-man Chekhov" "The actor gives thrillingly virtuoso performances as multiple characters in an entertaining reimagining but…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Pygmalion at the The Old Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Patsy Ferran and Bertie Carvel are delightfully word-perfect in Richard Jones’s first-rate Shaw revival" "From the start, director Richard Jones’s…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Pygmalion at the The Old Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Patsy Ferran and Bertie Carvel don’t find play’s heart" "This Shaw revival has wonderful moments but there is little spark…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Rebecca at the Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Mrs Danvers steals the show in Du Maurier musical" "Among polished performances, Kara Lane’s creepily obsessed housekeeper proves a powerful…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Little Big Things at the @sohoplace Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A remarkable tale of resilience" "A new musical built around the true story of a promising young rugby player paralysed…
Kit Buchan, The Observer
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The Little Big Things at the @sohoplace Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Big-hearted musical is a true-story tearjerker" "This adaptation of a memoir by a 17-year-old aspiring rugby pro paralysed by a…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Player Kings at the Toronto International Film Festival (2023)

★★★
"A devious Ian McKellen anchors uneven thriller" "A delicious performance as a catty gay theatre critic in 1930s London almost…
Benjamin Lee, The Guardian
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God of Carnage at the Lyric Hammersmith (2023)

★★★
"The set is the star in a heavy-handed revival of Yasmina Reza’s tale of parents at loggerheads" "Carnage is more…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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As You Like It at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★
"Gender-fluid version plays too freely with the text" "Ellen McDougall’s inclusive production is wonderfully warm and flirty – especially in…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Next to Normal at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Fizzing musical about mental illness" "The performances are superb in this tale of a family dealing with bipolar disorder but…
Emma John, The Guardian
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La Cage aux Folles at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Dazzling revival is hilarious and heartfelt" "This adaptation of the classic musical is a joy, from the faded nightclub set…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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The Effect at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Lucy Prebble’s intense and intoxicating encounter" "A love affair between participants in a drug trial is staged by Jamie Lloyd…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Jersey Boys at the Trafalgar Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Four Seasons story still hits all the high notes" (2021) "The doo-wop musical returns to the West End: a cracking…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"More compelling than ever" "Set in an asylum, the choreographer’s bleak yet passionate adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic romance triumphs in…
Sarah Crompton, The Observer
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Macbeth at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★★★
"Max Bennett’s jokey king is clearly unfit to govern" "Gender swapped roles shed new light on dark days in a…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Rock Follies at the Minerva Theatre Chichester  (2023)

★★★★
"Girl power pioneers earn their encore" "Based on the 70s TV drama, this musical depicts patriarchal power structures in the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Rock Follies at the Minerva Theatre Chichester  (2023)

★★★
"The wit and sharpness of the 70s TV series about a pioneering all-female band is partially captured in a spirited…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Crown Jewels at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

"The cream of British comedy can’t find a funny line between them" "The likes of Al Murray, Neil Morrissey and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Crown Jewels at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

"The cream of British comedy can’t find a funny line between them" "The likes of Al Murray, Neil Morrissey and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Crown Jewels at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

"The more off-script the better" "... Sean Foley’s lamentable, regally inspired production of The Crown Jewels" "It manages to be…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Word-Play at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Amusing riffs on slippery language and politicians" "Daring production ranges boldly from very funny Westminster satire to suffering families at…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Word-Play at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A dinner party turns nasty at the Royal Court" "There are sharp descriptions of the way words from a mother…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Ride - A New Musical at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant / Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Jaunty new musical takes cyclist’s feat for a spin" (Charing Cross Theatre) "This soulful celebration of adventurer Annie Londonderry takes…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Ride - A New Musical at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant / Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★
"Around the world in bloomers" "At the fine new gleaming Southwark Playhouse Elephant, the transfer of Sarah Meadows’s award-winning production…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Sound of Music at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Climbs ev’ry mountain, ticks ev’ry box" "Gina Beck is radiant as Maria in this immaculate and impish production of Rodgers…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Sound of Music at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The hills are alive again" "... if you were pining to be re-immersed in the 1965 Julie Andrews film, with…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Grenfell: In the Words of Survivors at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"A masterpiece of forensic fury" "Piling up devastating detail, this play with a remarkable cast shockingly lays bare the abject…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Grenfell: In the Words of Survivors at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Gillian Slovo’s new verbatim play about the 2017 tragedy is overpowering theatre that doubles as activism" "Here is the sense…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Empress at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (2023)

★★★★
"Resonant survival tales of Victorian Britain" "Tanika Gupta’s historical drama has only got more relevant since 2013, but there’s an…
Nick Ahad, The Guardian
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Cuckoo at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A comedy of iPhone-fixated family dysfunction is hilariously relatable" "Michael Wynne’s smart new comedy Cuckoo examines our modern focus and…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Cuckoo at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Springy dialogue lifts slow study of a modern family" "Three generations of women in a Merseyside house banter, bicker and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Miss Saigon at the The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (2023)

★★★
"Slick machine of a musical rather than a radical rewrite" "Billed as an opportunity to reframe Boublil and Schönberg’s original,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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In Dreams at the Leeds Playhouse (2023)

★★★★
"Roy Orbison jukebox musical is smart and sweet" "The songs of the big O are used in crafty ways in…
Clare Brennan, The Observer
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In Dreams at the Leeds Playhouse (2023)

★★★
"Margaritas and mortality in Roy Orbison musical" "David West Read’s jukebox show brings Orbison’s hits together around an earnest but…
Catherine Love, The Guardian
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Dr Semmelweis at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Mark Rylance mesmerises as the tormented Hungarian doctor" "... it is for Rylance’s character study of the doctor that this…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Beneatha’s Place at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★★★
"Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new satire is all too timely" "Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new play Beneatha’s Place, which he directs with panache, is…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Beneatha’s Place at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★★
"The future of Black America and the shadows of colonialism" "Kwame Kwei-Armah’s play takes a character from Lorraine Hansberry’s A…
David Jays, The Guardian
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The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium (2023)

★★★
"Over the rainbow and into an arcade game" "This adaptation has a luminous performance from Georgina Onuorah as Dorothy and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Song From Far Away at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Will Young compels" (Hampstead Theatre) "Its new incarnation with Will Young (of Pop Idol fame) is a more staid, middle-aged…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Song From Far Away at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Will Young acts with melodic grace in poignant monologue" (Home Manchester) "The star performs with a musician’s sense of rhythm…
Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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A Playlist For The Revolution at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Hong Kong romcom turns serious" "Set against a backdrop of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, AJ Yi’s thought-provoking and zingy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Strange Loop at the Barbican Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"‘Fat, Black, queer body’ musical is magnificent" "Michael R Jackson’s Pulitzer-winning play is a strikingly original, highly entertaining tour of…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Strange Loop at the Barbican Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Kyle Ramar Freeman is irresistible" "... the production’s greatest strength is in its lead actor: Kyle Ramar Freeman. He is…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Robin Hood The Legend. Re-Written at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Inventive take on outlaw tale" "With anarchic comedy, songs and merry gender twists in Carl Grose’s version, the folk hero…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Mrs Doubtfire The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre (2023)

★★
"All energy, no emotion" "The cast do their exuberant best but this bland, by-the-numbers retread of the 1990s film lacks…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Pillowman at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★
"Lily Allen fails to deliver visceral punch" "In this revival of Martin McDonagh’s play about child mutilation, tyranny and freedom…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Pillowman at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Lily Allen glimmers in a low-voltage Martin McDonagh revival" "The Pillowman needs to move like the unconscious: with speed and…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Third Man - A Musical Thriller at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Atmospheric and eccentric version of classic noir" "The songs may not compare to the 1949 film’s zither music, but the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Third Man - A Musical Thriller at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★
"A musical Third Man hits a bum note" "It is a truly dangerous liaison. Theatre and movies, that is. Its…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Crucible at the Gielgud Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A witch hunt for truth-denying times" "Harnessing horror film conventions, Lyndsey Turner’s intelligent revival conjures places where truth is a…
Claire Armitstead, The Guardian
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School Girls or The African Mean Girls Play at the Lyric Hammersmith (2023)

★★★★
"Clever comedy leaves a stinging afterburn" "Jocelyn Bioh’s bitingly funny and sometimes heartbreaking play transposes relatable high-school movie tropes to…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Romeo and Juliet at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Rebecca Frecknall’s dance to the death" "This innovative, fast-paced production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, starring Toheeb Jimoh and Isis Hainsworth, has…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Romeo and Juliet at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Danger stalks the radiant lovers in Rebecca Frecknall’s tumultuous, twilit Romeo and Juliet" "Rebecca Frecknall has again gone to the…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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42nd Street at the Sadler's Wells Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Frivolous fantasy given punch, precision and panache" "This classic song-and-dancer directed by Jonathan Church has a tight ensemble cast and…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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When Winston Went To War With The Wireless at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Radio is the star of BBC crisis drama" "Jack Thorne’s dramatisation of the power play between the UK government and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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When Winston Went To War With The Wireless at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"A 1920s battle for the soul of BBC radio couldn’t be more timely" "The craggy and godly Reith is shown,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Assassins at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Sondheim’s dark study of aspiring presidential killers" "Polly Findlay’s production underlines the way these left-behinds and psychopaths invert the American…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Groundhog Day at the The Old Vic (2023)

★★★★
"Repeat production makes for guaranteed entertainment" "A revival of the musical at the same venue where it premiered combines clever…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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We Will Rock You at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★
"Ben Elton stars as royally ridiculous Queen musical returns" "Rousing songs but threadbare plot as Earth has been conquered, renamed…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Patriots at the Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Peter Morgan’s oligarch drama transfers to the West End with added historical weight" "Rupert Goold’s vivid production of Patriots has…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Shape of Things at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Seductive sociopaths show cruel intent" "The tension is raised in Neil LaBute’s dark comedy as entitled Evelyn sets about remoulding…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Shape of Things at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Neil LaBute’s romcom gets a sharp, funny revival" "... this revival is clever, funny and chilling – as good as…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Great Expectations at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Eddie Izzard seduces in charismatic one-woman show" "Izzard uses humour instinctively, helped by Dickens’s love of the exaggerated or comic…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Rose at the Ambassadors Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Its short run at the Ambassadors – a revival of the 2022 Park theatre production, capably directed by Scott Le…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A superb cast, including opera star Danielle de Niese, elevates Andrew Lloyd Webber’s plodding 80s musical" "I had low expectations…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★
"A preposterous blast from the past" "Michael Ball returns to sing Love Changes Everything, this time as the uncle, in…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★★
"Giddy shenanigans with a brilliantly chaotic Puck" "This bright, bold show tries to balance humour and darkness but tends to…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Comedy of Errors at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★★★
"Full of wit and pizazz" "Amped-up visual gags and a cast that brings its own distinctive comic gifts to the…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Bleak Expectations at the Criterion Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Agreeably funny Dickensian spoof as cosy as a woollen teapot" "Caroline Leslie’s production sends up the less problematic Victorian foibles…
Brian Logan, The Guardian
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Brokeback Mountain at the Soho Place Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Perfectly pitched staging of the heartbreaking love story" "The desolately poignant tale is brought into stark relief in Jonathan Butterell’s…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Brokeback Mountain at the Soho Place Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Tender moments illuminate a faithful yet distanced adaptation of Annie Proulx’s cowboy love story" "Jonathan Butterell’s production is faithful in…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Once On This Island at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Stirring Little Mermaid musical in colonial Haiti" "A young woman offers her life to save an unworthy aristocrat in a…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Once On This Island at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2023)

★★
"Voodoo comes to Regent’s Park" "The plot, told as a fairytale to a child, features a barter with the gods…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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4000 Miles at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Eileen Atkins and Sebastian Croft connect in tale of distant relations" "Amy Herzog’s play about a grandmother surprised by her…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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4000 Miles at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Eileen Atkins at her most subtle" "Everyone should see Atkins. She makes acting look like being, not performing." "It is…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Irrepressible wartime musical is a West End triumph" "With gag-packed songs and gender-swapped roles, this fringe show about a secret…
Emma John, The Guardian
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The Vortex at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Noël Coward’s swirling jazz age psychodrama" "Lia Williams and her son Joshua James make a scintillating double act in a…
Emma John, The Guardian
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The Vortex at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Lia Williams and son ignite Noël Coward at his darkest" "Now Daniel Raggett directs Coward’s most startling play. Though awkward…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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August in England at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Lenny Henry’s remarkable one-man show about the Windrush scandal" "The actor makes his debut as a playwright with a richly…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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August in England at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"In his powerful debut play, Lenny Henry draws his audience deep into the life – and its shattering – of…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Cymbeline at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon (2023)

★★★★★
"Shakespeare’s knotty romance is a fabulous farewell for Doran" "Departing artistic director Greg Doran reinvigorates this tale of a royal…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Blanket Ban at the Southwark Playhouse Borough (2023)

★★★★
"Startling account of abortion laws in Malta" "Maltese duo use firsthand interviews – and warm humour – to highlight the…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Richard III at the Liverpool Playhouse / Rose Theatre Kingston (2023)

★★
"Adjoa Andoh’s maverick reimagining drags" (Liverpool Playhouse) "The actor and director pitches the antihero as a racial outsider. She is…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Retrograde at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Toxicity meets integrity in exceptional Sidney Poitier drama" "Ryan Calais Cameron’s terrific three-hander dramatises a meeting in 1955 Hollywood, mapping…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Retrograde at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"In his quickfire new McCarthy-era play, For Black Boys… creator Ryan Calais Cameron speaks his mind" "His new play is…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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No ID at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A frank, funny and intimate exploration of gender transition" "Tatenda Shamiso sings delighted duets with the person he once was…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Good Person of Szechwan at the Sheffield Theatres & Lyric Hammersmith (2023)

★★★
"Brecht’s parable gets a bold revamp" (Crucible, Sheffield) "Anthony Lau brings rich cultural authenticity to the stinging China-set capitalist critique…
Nick Ahad, The Guardian
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Blue at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★★★
"Racial violence, love and loss in a lyrical and angry work of unflinching power" "Jeanine Tesori’s opera, with its tragically…
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
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Ain't Too Proud - The Life And Times Of The Temptations at the Prince Edward Theatre (2023)

★★
"A Temptations jukebox musical by numbers" "This plodding account of the Motown band’s highs and lows is more than a…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Secret Life of Bees at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Blazing songs light up civil rights drama" "A young white woman and her Black housekeeper flee across the American south…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Secret Life of Bees at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A civil rights musical buzzes with potential" "As a playwright, Nottage has provided some of the outstanding dramas of the…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Dancing at Lughnasa at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"An exquisite staging of Brian Friel’s evocative drama" "There are superb performances from a cast including Siobhán McSweeney and Ardal…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Dancing at Lughnasa at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Brian Friel’s thoughtful 1930s drama remains absorbing" "Josie Rourke’s sumptuous and thoughtful staging of Dancing at Lughnasa shows why this…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Private Lives at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Coward’s comedy becomes a stark theatre of cruelty" "Stephen Mangan and Rachael Stirling bare their teeth in a show that…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Private Lives at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Noel Coward’s classic has fine cigarette work but fails to ignite" "... though Michael Longhurst’s production has sparks and intelligence,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Dry House at the Marylebone Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A mother hits rock bottom in gloriously cast alcoholism drama" "The capacity to arrest our own destruction is central in…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★
"James Norton’s sexually abused lawyer is spared no misery" "Some called it torture porn, others a masterpiece. Ivo van Hove…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"James Norton elevates Ivo van Hove’s knotty adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestseller" "At its best it is transfixing. At its…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Lyric Hammersmith (2023)

★★★★
"Daniel Rigby excels in Fo’s all too timely classic" "From the moment the sensational Daniel Rigby opens his mouth at…
Kate Wyver, The Observer
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For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy at the Apollo Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"A moving meditation on Black masculinity" "Underneath the pain in Ryan Calais Cameron’s powerful play there is an abundance of…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York (2023)

★★★★
"Dazzling Broadway revival" "Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford play Stephen Sondheim’s murderous Victorian couple in a bold and barnstorming take"…
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2023/mar/27/sweeney-todd-demon-barber-broadway-play-review, The Guardian
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Bad Cinderella at the Imperial Theatre in New York (2023)

★★★
"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s chaotic musical hits Broadway" "The infamous ‘costly mistake’ has made its way to the US and while…
Lauren Mechling, The Guardian
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Black Superhero at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Original queer drama with plenty of kapow" "Part satire, part serious drama, Danny Lee Wynter’s story of gay love and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Way Old Friends Do at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★
"super troupers shine in a fun, frothy comedy (Park Theatre)" "Two friends put together an Abba tribute band and explore…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Further than the Furthest Thing at the Young Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Slow-burn study of seclusion and secrecy" "Set on a volcanic island, this play goes through dormant spells but its themes…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Marjorie Prime at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Gently uncanny sci-fi shows us how to love an AI" "Anne Reid shines in this delicately written drama about a…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Marjorie Prime at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Nancy Carroll and Anne Reid surf memory and identity" "Something happens in Nancy Carroll’s face that I have not seen…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Nicholas Hytner’s gamble pays off" "This immersive production of the New York musical has a bold design, superb singing and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"The audience is swept along with the action in Nicholas Hytner’s thrillingly immersive new Guys and Dolls" "Not merely rocking…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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A Doll's House at the Hudson Theatre, New York (2023)

★★★★
"Jessica Chastain captivates in minimalist revival" "The Oscar winner makes for an exceptional Nora in a visually muted yet emotionally…
Gloria Oladipo, The Guardian
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After the Act at the New Diorama Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Thatcher’s section 28 stirs a fiery protest musical" "Ellice Stevens and Billy Barrett’s fizzing production traces the story of the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Great British Bake Off Musical at the Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Paul and Prue become song-and-dance naturals" "I was anticipating a Great British Rip Off, flat as a failed sponge. Inevitably,…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Sleepova at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A captivating safe space for teenage dreams and fears" "Four girls joke, squabble and share their secrets in this exhilarating…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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Sleepova at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A fab four get ready for bed" "Sleepova begins with the surprising suggestion that we can stroll out of the…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sheridan Smith disarms and dazzles with heart and soul" "Willy Russell’s 1986 monologue about a neglected woman’s midlife liberation is…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sheridan Smith makes Willy Russell’s midlife monologue her own" "It is nimble, generous and truly feminist in showing that the…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Oklahoma! at the Wyndham's Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Who can say no to this Rodgers and Hammerstein reinvention" "New York director Daniel Fish’s Tony-winning vehicle, which is now…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Winter's Tale at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★
"The Globe’s two-venue telling loses its way" "As this ambitious production switches between stages, and deaths pile up like dishes,…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Walworth Farce at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (2023)

★★★
"Tyranny and fantasy at the Elephant and Castle" "There is comical swagger and escalating threat but Nicky Allpress’s revival of…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Grenfell: System Failure at the The Playground Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sobering unpicking of a tragedy" "Writer Richard Norton-Taylor and director Nicolas Kent’s almost anti-theatrical play uses residents’ testimonies and gives…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Grenfell: System Failure at the The Playground Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicolas Kent’s second Grenfell drama is a shocking dissection of negligence" "Staging actual trials and tribunals, using…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Women, Beware The Devil at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★
"Bizarre comedy horror is like Bridgerton on acid" "Directed by Rupert Goold, it comes with his characteristically clean, televisual glamour:…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Romeo and Julie at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A sweet spin on Shakespeare" "Gary Owen’s tale of star-crossed, working-class lovers in modern Cardiff offers existential questions and awkward…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Romeo and Julie at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Star-crossed Cardiff teenagers snare hearts and minds" "It is unusual to sit in the stalls hanging on a plot twist.…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Bootycandy at the Gate Theatre (2023)

★★★★
" Thrilling, uproarious comedy explores Black queerness from every angle" "Inventive direction and a spectacular cast make the London transfer…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Trouble in Butetown at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Humanity and heroism in wartime Cardiff" "While Diana Nneka Atuona’s deft script could do with a final polish, its heart,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Trouble in Butetown at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Diana Nneka Atuona brings wartime Cardiff to life" "Diana Nneka Atuona draws on the place’s well-known qualities to make Trouble…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Rhinegold at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★★★
"Witty and insightful, Jones’s production delivers an emphatic win for ENO" "The Rhine shimmers, the gold dazzles and the gods…
Martin Kettle, The Guardian
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Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image The Musical at the Birmingham Rep (2023)

★★★
"Spitting Image is a spectacle. The puppetry is a pleasure to watch. But it’s light on laughs." "The stage show…
Rachael Healy, The Guardian
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Medea at the @sohoplace (2023)

★★★★
"Sophie Okonedo is magnificent as ancient Greece’s preeminent rebel woman" "Medea is as much victim as villain in Dominic Cooke’s…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Medea at the @sohoplace (2023)

★★★★
"Sophie Okonedo breathes fire as Medea" "The success of the play depends on general plausibility being swamped by the strength…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Sylvia at the The Old Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Storming show sets suffragettes to soul, funk and hip-hop" "Historical characters bust contemporary dance moves while the troubled relationship between…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Sylvia at the The Old Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Dance, not speech, powers Kate Prince’s suffragette musical" "Sylvia unrolls its story of a mighty movement with exhilaration, in uncompromising…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Standing at the Sky's Edge at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Richard Hawley pulls on the heartstrings in his Sheffield opus" "This new musical traces the intersecting lives of three families…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Standing at the Sky's Edge at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Richard Hawley’s paean to Sheffield finds a home from home" "... the lives of these imagined residents – a steelworker…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Winner's Curse at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★
"Clive Anderson’s warmth can’t revive this dodo" "This interactive play by a former diplomat about working in negotiation feels like…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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Phaedra at the National Theatre (2023)

★★
"Simon Stone’s reimagining flitters from tragedy to comedy" "Janet McTeer plays a politician who falls for her dead lover’s son,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Phaedra at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Janet McTeer is mighty in Simon Stone’s electric remaking of myth" "Simon Stone’s Phaedra is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Lehman Trilogy at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sam Mendes’ banking saga returns with dividends" "Hadley Fraser, Nigel Lindsay and Michael Balogun are astonishing as the 18th-century bankers…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Lehman Trilogy at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Illusion captivates in a revival of Sam Mendes’s banking saga" "If anything, The Lehman Trilogy has become weightier, more threatening…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Linck & Mülhahn at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Queer costume drama echoes through the ages" "Ruby Thomas’s play, based on a true story about a married couple in…
Claire Armitstead, The Guardian
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Linck & Mülhahn at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The 21st century erupts into a tale of 18th century gender subversion" "The RSC needs to prove it is essential,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Alex Kingston is a magnificent Prospero" "Climate catastrophe and power struggles dominate Elizabeth Freestone’s RSC interpretation of Shakespeare’s play" "Gender-stubbornness…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Alex Kingston’s fine Prospero weathers an RSC concept storm" "The climate crisis is one in a blizzard of ideas that…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Carmen at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★★★
"Vivid revival finds ENO on fighting form" "With Bizet’s opera’s menace and casual cruelty to the fore, cracking performances from…
Erica Jeal, The Guardian
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2:22 A Ghost Story at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Cheryl’s West End debut is a thunderous fright night" "The singer is convincing in the role (first played by Lily…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman star in sharp drama" "Josie Rourke’s West End revival of Sam Steiner’s fringe hit really…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman keep it brief in Sam Steiner’s social media allegory" "The questions tick round as they…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Sound of the Underground at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Magnificent explosion of mesmerising drag" "A plot to kill RuPaul for dragging drag into the mainstream, followed by song and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Sound of the Underground at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Travis Alabanza and friends joyously return drag to its radical roots" "Anyone who thinks theatre costumes are incidental decorations should…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Unfriend at the Criterion Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Steven Moffat and co flirt with farce" "Humorous, with a few chiller touches" "Frances Barber, both luscious and frightening, has…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS at the Royal Albert Hall (2023)

★★★★
"A gasp-inducing steampunk celebration of virtuosity" "Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s choreography connects amazing talents from yo-yoers to contortionists in a slick…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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George Takei's Allegiance at the Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★
"Shocking history given musical uplift" "The Star Trek actor appears in an epic story of Japanese Americans interned after Pearl…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Paul Mescal brings a fierce and dangerous energy" "One of the year’s most hyped shows delivers with powerful performances from…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Paul Mescal, Patsy Ferran and Anjana Vasan captivate in Rebecca Frecknall’s headlong take on Tennessee Williams" "This Streetcar is transporting.…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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On The Ropes at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The story of Windrush boxer Vernon Vanriel hits home in song" "It is an important story and it exerts a…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Watch on the Rhine at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"Lillian Hellman’s call to arms is a must-see" "Patricia Hodge stars in Hellman’s play about a liberal American family confronted…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Watch on the Rhine at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"Lillian Hellman’s 1941 call to arms resonates anew" "Ellen McDougall’s handsome, convinced production speaks to today’s fear of the rise…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Fir Tree at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★★★
"A must-see festive family fairy tale" "Hannah Khalil’s lo-fi retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 story cleverly weaves in humour,…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Derren Brown: SHOWMAN at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"A performance that will blow your mind" "There’s a coup in the closing moments so mindblowing, so laser-guided, to undermine…
Brian Logan, The Guardian
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One Woman Show at the Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Joke-packed Fleabag parody is perfectly pitched" "Liz Kingsman’s slick, self-conscious ‘troubled woman’ show nests its complex jokes within jokes to…
Rachael Healy, The Guardian
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One Woman Show at the Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Liz Kingsman’s zinging take on Fleabag goes beyond parody" "Here’s a good start to the new year. A show that…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Hey Duggee at the Royal Festival Hall (2022)

"Isn’t it time for a breakdancing canine caper?" "The hero of the children’s animated TV series is on top form…
Tim Jonze, The Guardian
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As You Like It at the @sohoplace (2022)

★★★★
"Josie Rourke leads us into the liberating delight of Arden" "Martha Plimpton and the whole ensemble shine in Shakespeare’s nuanced…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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As You Like It at the @sohoplace (2022)

★★★
"The many voices of Josie Rourke’s fresh As You Like It are led by Rose Ayling-Ellis, signing the part of…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium (2022)

★★★★
"No expense spared for giant all-star entertainment" "Dawn French, Julian Clary and Alexandra Burke join an animatronic giant with a…
Brian Logan, The Guardian
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Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre (2022)

★★
"Humbug hoedown" "Parton’s music is as warming as ever but a snowfall of schmaltz and minimal menace make this Dickens…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Sons of the Prophet at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"Overstuffed drama by The Humans’ Stephen Karam" "There’s some promising material in this tale of a struggling Lebanese American family…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Paradise Now! at the Bush Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Sharp satire of girlboss extremes" "Smartly directed and superbly acted, Margaret Perry’s funny and moving play follows a group of…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Merrily We Roll Along at the New York Theatre Workshop (2022)

★★★★
"Sondheim flop finds new lease of life" "The infamous 1981 disaster has returned off-Broadway with help from Jonathan Groff and…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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A Christmas Carol at the Rose Theatre Kingston (2022)

★★★★
"Glorious musical version of Dickens’s festive treat" "Charles Dickens takes to the stage and Ebenezer Scrooge is a woman with…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Mother Goose at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)

★★
"Zany Ian McKellen rules over a fluffy affair" "If you only come for Ian McKellen, you won’t be disappointed. He…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House (2022)

★★★★
"The Royal Ballet’s winter warmer" "This sumptuously designed production is a treat if you don’t dwell on the dramatic flaws…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Mandela at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★
"A Madiba musical with fridge-magnet philosophy" "A strong cast cannot conceal the thinness of this superficial account of South Africa’s…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Mandela at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★
"A new Mandela musical can’t do the great man justice" "I have seldom seen a show that began with such…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Disney's Newsies at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre (2022)

★★★
"‘Tis the season for Disney musical about industrial relations" "This show about young New York paper-sellers has stirring anthems and…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the Sadler's Wells (2022)

★★★★
"Crammed with the choreographer’s trademark wit and OTT theatrics, this is an irresistible spin on the story" "You just have…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Kerry Jackson at the National Theatre (2022)

"Fay Ripley’s lively striver is riddled with working-class cliches" "April De Angelis’s comedy about a leave-voting entrepreneur in a gentrified…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Hex at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Musical Sleeping Beauty casts a darkly dazzling spell" "No theatrical effect is spared in this emotional show, which returns to…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Hex at the National Theatre (2022)

★★
"A bad fairy casts a spell on Rufus Norris’s Sleeping Beauty musical" "For much of the time, watching Hex is…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Orlando at the Garrick Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Emma Corrin is glorious in a giddy, heartfelt show" "In Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s wild-goose chase through time,…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Orlando at the Garrick Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Corrin shape-shifts to perfection in Neil Bartlett’s zestful take on Virginia Woolf’s novel" "Watching Emma Corrin on stage is like…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Mother Goose at the Hackney Empire (2022)

★★★★
"A feather in Hackney Empire’s cap" "Clive Rowe gives a masterly performance as he shapes the high jinks while wearing…
Ryan Gilby, The Guardian
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Othello at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Clint Dyer makes this tragedy feel utterly new" "This Othello plays out as a traditional thriller that occasionally veers into…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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It's A Wonderful Life at the London Coliseum (2022)

★★★★
"Operatic adaptation is on the side of the angels" "Jake Heggie’s take on the heartwarming Christmas classic has a glittering,…
Erica Jeal, The Guardian
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Best of Enemies at the Noel Coward Theatre (2022)

★★★★
" Stylish staging of a landmark TV clash" "The 1968 debate between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley Jr is…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★★
"Sumptuously OTT panto has a big heart" "A streetwise Jack sells his cow for a tin of baked beans in…
Brian Logan, The Guardian
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Henry V at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"A troubled king reaches for foreign quarrels" "In this coruscating production from Headlong and Shakespeare’s Globe, Henry’s grasp for power…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Henry V at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"Oliver Johnstone mesmerises as Henry V" "In an extraordinary stripped-back version, for which the playwright Cordelia Lynn was the dramaturg…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"The detective takes on Dickens in a fresh festive mashup" "There’s only one sleuth in Victorian London who can get…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Elf The Musical at the Dominion Theatre (2022)

★★
"Buddy’s back with some syrupy showtunes" "Choreographed candy cane twirling and funny moments from the Will Ferrell film don’t save…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Sarah at the The Coronet Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Pungent story of self-destruction" "Jonathan Slinger is the antihero – and all the other characters – in an adaptation of…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial at the Wyndham's Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Courtroom panto" "Laura Dos Santos and Lucy May Barker are excellent as the frenemies in a queasy verbatim drama" "This…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial at the Wyndham's Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Vardy and Rooney go head to head" "Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial is a game of two halves.…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Matilda The Musical  (2022)

★★★★
"All-singing, hall-dancing adaptation is by the book brilliance" "Story of superpowered schoolgirl gets a fresh, DayGlo take featuring lurid star…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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The Sex Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2022)

★★
"Spiky comedy fails to satisfy" "There’s tension in Terry Johnson’s tale of four couples meeting for sex and nibbles but…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Sex Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2022)

"Terry Johnson leaves little to the imagination" "Pity the talented cast enmired in The Sex Party." "Terry Johnson’s new play,…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Blackout Songs at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Drunk and disorderly exploration of love and addiction" "Joe White’s romantic tragedy is a brave and original depiction of the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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From Here To Eternity at the Charing Cross Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Guns n’ poses in a well-drilled musical" "Tim Rice’s lyrics are the most striking aspect of a crisp production which…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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A Christmas Carol at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Adrian Edmondson stars in a biting tale for our times" "David Edgar’s sharp script feels close to home in this…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Not One of These People at the Royal Court Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Sometimes lines and image seemed congruent, sometimes they were wildly unexpected, but, then, what sentence wouldn’t be unexpected from the…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Fisherman's Friends: The Musical at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★
"Familiar tale given full voice in fresh voyage" "Director James Grieve retains just enough of the rough-hewn power of the…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Super High Resolution at the Soho Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Compelling exploration of a crumbling NHS" "Directed by Blanche McIntyre, Nathan Ellis’s drama serves as a reminder of what cuts…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Super High Resolution at the Soho Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Jasmine Blackborow comes shooting out of the traps as a glowing talent in Super High Resolution" "Nathan Ellis’s new play…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Mary at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Douglas Henshall’s courtier defends a Queen in quick-fire debate" "Rona Munro’s engaging debate drama has some thrilling exchanges as three…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Elephant at the Bush Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Magnetic monologue on mixed-race identity in Britain" "In her melodic debut play, Anoushka Lucas asks difficult questions about her own…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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Tammy Faye – A New Musical at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Elton John’s hymn to biblical kitsch" "Songs belt out deliriously in this romp through rise and fall of the Bakker…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Tammy Faye – A New Musical at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Katie Brayben nails the title role as Tammy Faye in a musical otherwise lacking edge" "He [James Graham] has faltered…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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King Hamlin at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Trapped teens face up to lives at knife-point" "Excellent performances enhance this story of three young boys hurtling towards gang…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Single Man at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★
"Isherwood’s melancholy mourner falls apart in 60s California" "This adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s novel about a gay man grieving for…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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@sohoplace at the @sohoplace (2022)

"At the first purpose-built theatre in the West End for 50 years, preconceptions melt. At first, Soho Place looks too…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Marvellous at the @sohoplace (2022)

★★★★
"The action is warmly circled – the upper tiers glow like copper – and embraced by its audience. I’ve rarely…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Light of Passage at the Royal Opera House (2022)

★★★★
"Mesmerising moves from Crystal Pite" "With shimmering music and a signature use of massed bodies, Pite transforms her acclaimed Flight…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Local Hero at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★
"Musical misses the magic of Bill Forsyth’s classic" "In spite of a nifty set and new songs, this story of…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Local Hero at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Local Hero is appealing, but not dynamic enough for the best display of Evans’s talents" "It is Mark Knopfler’s music…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Dazzling staging of the Studio Ghibli classic" "The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production has astonishing puppetry, magical music and huge emotional…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A beloved Studio Ghibli anime is brought to magical life in Phelim McDermott’s new RSC production" "A battery of talent…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Funny Girl at the August Wilson Theatre, New York (2022)

"Dazzling Lea Michele delivers in Funny Girl" "After months of rumors and gossip, the controversial star takes the reins from…
Adrian Horton, The Guardian
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Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"David Tennant is magnificent in chilling drama" "Revived with a superb cast, CP Taylor’s play about a professor embracing nazism…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★
"David Tennant is transfixing" "Now revived with terrific David Tennant – the more acute because the more restrained – as…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Doctor at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"A repeat prescription for acute intellectual stimulation" "Robert Icke’s combative 2019 play about medical ethics, identity politics and antisemitism returns…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Band's Visit at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★★
"Entrancing musical about nothing and nowhere" "When an Egyptian orchestra accidentally tips up in a sleepy Israeli backwater, lives are…
David Jays, The Guardian
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The Band's Visit at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★★
"A vibrant oddball musical bridges the Israeli-Arab gap" "The story is simple and sometimes expressed awkwardly, with bumbling humour in…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Boy with Two Hearts at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"An Afghan family seek more than sanctuary" "In Phil Porter’s adaptation of the book by Hamed and Hessam Amiri, speech…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Dmitry at the Marylebone Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Historical Russian thriller resonates" "Peter Oswald’s take on Friedrich Schiller’s unfinished tragedy shows Russia’s recurrent turn towards tyranny" "... Tim…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Tosca at the London Coliseum (2022)

★★★★
"Gloriously sung and full of grand passion, this is gripping theatre" "Christof Loy’s atmospheric staging of Puccini’s opera doesn’t always…
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
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Blues For An Alabama Sky at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Harlem renaissance drama is a tale for our times" "A group of friends in 1930s New York pursue diverging dreams…
Claire Armitstead, The Guardian
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Blues For An Alabama Sky at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Thirties Harlem is vibrantly alive at the National" "What a vital evening. Lynette Linton’s production of Blues for an Alabama…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Iphigenia in Splott at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★★★
"A shattering modern classic that distils all our troubles" "Gary Owen’s magnificent one-woman monologue brings Greek tragedy to Cardiff and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Simon Russell Beale magnetic as the shamed alpha-male banker" "Turning to a lesser-staged work by Ibsen might seem risky, but…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Simon Russell Beale is doubly commanding as Ibsen’s charismatic banker in a problem-raising revival" "Nicholas Hytner’s production, even with Simon…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Noises Off at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★★
"Frayn’s exquisite farce-within-a-farce finds new humanity" "Felicity Kendal, Tracy-Ann Oberman and especially Joseph Millson are comic gifts in this 40th…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Woman in Mind at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★
"When the vicar’s wife’s worst nightmare is her own life" "Jenna Russell stars in Alan Ayckbourn’s exploration of mental illness…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Jews. In Their Own Words at the Royal Court (2022)

★★★
"Appalling revelations in a gallop through centuries of bigotry" "Jonathan Freedland has turned 180,000 words drawn from interviews into a…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Jews. In Their Own Words at the Royal Court (2022)

★★★★
"An illuminating, unsettling study of prejudice" "Based on interviews by Jonathan Freedland with 12 British Jews, this verbatim play directed…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Stylish restaging is all beauty and no bite" "Director Lyndsey Turner misses the opportunity to give Arthur Miller’s allegory modern…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Mob rule meets Little House on the Prairie in an assured revival of The Crucible" "Lyndsey Turner’s assured production rings…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Eureka Day at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★★
"Helen Hunt is an anti-vaxxer on the attack in anti-woke satire" "What begins as a broad takedown of the liberal…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Eureka Day at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★
"A new anti-vax satire needs more than a shot of Helen Hunt’s star power" "In turning over the debate between…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Wonderful World of Dissocia at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (2022)

★★★★
"Whimsical and brutal" "At first, Anthony Neilson’s play is a bewildering affair, but its sombre aftermath imparts understanding with crushing…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Cages at the Riverside Studios (2022)

"Hologram rock musical is a dreary dystopia" "An overreliance on technology and a doomy score can’t replace old-fashioned chemistry in…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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Rose at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Maureen Lipman is magnetic in journey through Jewish 20th century" "A mourning woman looks back on her life in Martin…
David Jays, The Guardian
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Handbagged at the Kiln Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Sparks fly at the Queen’s audiences with the Iron Lady" "Moira Buffini’s clever political comedy returns, educating a new generation…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Handbagged at the Kiln Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Moira Buffini’s damning satire ... acquires poignancy" "Buffini’s play is, not unexpectedly, far more merciful to the Queen than to…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Snail House at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"Richard Eyre’s debut play takes on too much" "This debut, which he also directs, is a family drama cum state-of-the-nation…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Snail House at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"Richard Eyre’s writing debut falls mysteriously flat" "This is an honourable, polished play with a fine grip on the contemporary…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Clinic at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★
"Culture wars erupt at a birthday party" "Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s early dialogue shimmers with quick wit, intelligence and delightful touches (Happy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Clinic at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Family celebrations go pear-shaped in Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s mischievous new play" "Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s tremendously enjoyable new play" "The characterisation is deep…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Gabriel Byrne: Walking with Ghosts at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Gabriel Byrne’s trip down Dublin’s memory lanes" The actor adapts his impressionistic memoir for the stage, giving life to the…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Gabriel Byrne: Walking with Ghosts at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Gabriel Byrne brilliantly channels his early Dublin years" "This is an entertaining, moving, accomplished show" "Byrne’s default expression is of…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Antigone at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★★
"A poetic tragedy about modern British Muslim life" "Inua Ellams updates the Sophoclean drama into a beguiling piece about faith…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Silence at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★
"Partition yields neither documentary nor drama" "... in this four-handed adaptation – by Sonali Bhattacharyya, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Ishy Din…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Silence at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"A potent and poetic telling of the partition of India" "The stage adaptation of Kavita Puri’s extraordinary oral history project…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Who Killed My Father at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★★★
"A powerful study of class, cruelty and kin" "Hans Kesting is spellbinding as an anguished man facing up to his…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Who Killed My Father at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★★★
"This is a violently populated one-man show" "Kesting proves a master of seamlessly disconcerting transitions as, stooping and burrowing hands…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Mousetrap  (2022)

★★★★
"Agatha Christie spoof scampers through 50s theatreland" "This likable whodunnit comedy sees Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan on the trail…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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Gary Barlow - A Different Stage at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)

★★
"Could it be magic? No!" "This one-man, one-note show is a blandly sanitised history of Take That. While it won’t…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★★★
"Non-binary Joan of Arc proves a rousing protest piece" "Isobel Thom gives a visceral, courageous performance as France’s patron saint,…
Anya Ryan, The Guardian
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I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★★★
"Isobel Thom’s non-binary Joan of Arc blazes on to the stage in Charlie Josephine’s eye-opening new play" "“Non-binary finery”: I…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Narcissist at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A darkly honest dissection of post-Trump politics" "A spin doctor’s life spirals into chaos after he’s hired by an ambitious…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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The Narcissist at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Christopher Shinn’s new play of post-Trump politics finds complex characters lost in ego and addiction" "Josh Seymour’s production swoops adroitly…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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All's Well That Ends Well at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon (2022)

★★★
"Problem play gets a tasty Gen Z makeover" "Rosie Sheehy dazzles as a woman calling the shots in this feverish…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Into The Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★
"Terry Gilliam’s rollicking take on Sondheim’s ‘fairytale collision’" "The ex-Python’s production is visually enticing, playful and dreamlike but doesn’t quite…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Into The Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★
"Terry Gilliam and Leah Hausman’s take on Sondheim is just a bit too much" "The time for Into the Woods…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"Tomorrow’s children hold us to account for climate crimes" "In a near-future world on fire, a jury of 12 young…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
" A teenage jury call their climate-ruining elders to account" "The ‘dinosaur’ generation is put on trial in Dawn King’s…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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All of Us at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Disablism, austerity and therapy-speak fuel Francesca Martinez’s jolting drama" "There are startling, sparkling episodes in All of Us, revelatory moments…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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All of Us at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Francesca Martinez’s urgent call for radical empathy" "Personal, political and polemical, this intensely moving play about disability and austerity challenges…
David Jays, The Guardian
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The Great British Bake Off Musical at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham (2022)

★★★
"Sweet treat with a soggy bottom" "The TV show invites a large helping of satire but Jake Brunger and Pippa…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Identical at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"Trevor Nunn takes on The Parent Trap, with songs" "This earnest musical, which features three sets of real twins across…
Nick Ahad, The Guardian
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Identical at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"A new musical of The Parent Trap has its own special effect" "The casting of twins as the separated sisters…
Clare Brennan, The Observer
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The Tempest at the Shakespeare's Glob (2022)

★★★
"The bard in budgie smugglers" "Sean Holmes’s gleefully comic take is a riot of holiday colour and fun, featuring luminous…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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The Tempest at the Shakespeare's Glob (2022)

★★★
"Sean Holmes takes enjoyable liberties with his party island Tempest" "Ferdy Roberts’s entertaining Prospero is an intemperate old beach boy…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe - Birmingham at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A new-look Narnia delivers deep magic" "It boasts breathtaking ensemble work, in particular the transitions between the art deco wardrobe…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe - Birmingham at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A dark, riveting revamp" "This exhilarating production of CS Lewis’s timeless tale delivers spellbinding spectacle, wartime drama and perfect puppetry"…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Chasing Hares at the Young Vic (2022)

★★★★
"Factory drama moulds its own subversive power play" "Sonali Bhattacharyya intriguingly exposes the exploitative dynamics of the global gig economy…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Chasing Hares at the Young Vic (2022)

★★★
"Globalisation’s effect on an Indian factory makes for touching drama" "It is a play that is unkempt in parts and…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo (2022)

★★★
"Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders bring the laughs as rebel nuns" "Jennifer Saunders is the main draw, bridling and bristling…
Ryna Gilbey, The Guardian
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101 Dalmatians at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★
"Puppyish enthusiasm can’t save a patchy production" "This family musical and adorable puppets will keep the kids happy, but parents…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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101 Dalmatians at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Douglas Hodge’s new Dodie Smith musical is spot on" "... a perfect post-lockdown choice for London’s ever-swelling, dog-doting crowd (of…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Mrs Malaprop’s a loose cannon in Richard Bean’s Battle of Britain take on Sheridan" "Quentin, shiny as a creature on…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Screwball Shakespeare goes with a swing" "John Heffernan shines brightest as a dorkish Benedick; Katherine Parkinson’s Beatrice is wry and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Shakespeare’s comedy is the gift that keeps on giving" "As the hate-to-love, love-to-hate couple, John Heffernan and Katherine Parkinson give…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Crazy For You at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Spine-tingling musical is a giddy thrill" "Instantly infectious melodies, superb choreography and irresistible comedy are met with astonishing performances in…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Crazy For You at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Who can resist Gershwin?" "Development and detail is all in the swelling voices and frisking toes of Carly Anderson and…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Peaky Blinders: The Rise at the Camden Garrison (2022)

★★
"Immersed in a criminally flimsy plot" "Fans of the TV series may enjoy the period detail and atmosphere, but this…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Patriots at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Peter Morgan’s compelling study of Russian dissidence" "Rupert Goold’s production is ultimately entertaining but choppy, taking time to settle before…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Tempest at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★★
"Deborah Warner’s grimy island engrosses and disgusts" "The veteran director’s arrestingly visceral production honours the sheer strangeness of Shakespeare’s late…
David Jays, The Guardian
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The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Woodchip-walled Chekhov is hypnotic" "Jamie Lloyd’s radical, stripped-back, strangely gripping production, using Anya Reiss’s cool adaptation, might well be aspiring…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Richard III reviews - RSC Stratford at the Stratford Upon Avon (2022)

★★★
"Shakespeare’s supervillain breezes through the bloodbath" "Arthur Hughes is the scheming sociopath in a production of magisterial stagecraft that builds…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Mad House at the The Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★★
"David Harbour and Bill Pullman spar in dark family psychodrama" "Under the direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the first half…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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That Is Not Who I Am at the Royal Court Theatre (2022)

★★★
"A revelatory drama about identity theft is let down by its thriller plot" "At its best, Lucy Morrison’s production spins…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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That Is Not Who I Am at the Royal Court Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"All is not what it seems in tricksy thriller about truth and power" "One play reveals another in a tangled…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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The Southbury Child at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★
"A vicar picks an odd hill to die on" "Even-handed to a fault, Stephen Beresford’s new comedy coasts by on…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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A Dolls House, Part 2 at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"Noma Dumezweni is a compelling lead in Lucas Hnath’s sequel, which is well drawn but a little too tightly controlled"…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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A Dolls House, Part 2 at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"Lucas Hnath’s sequel to the Ibsen classic is intriguing rather than revelator" "This Doll’s House is a hybrid: it uses…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Jitney at the Old Vic Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A taut, tense tale of Black injustice in 1970s America" "A stylish rework of the August Wilson character-study sees a…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Jitney at the Old Vic Theatre (2022)

★★★
"August Wilson’s taxi-stand drama has developed new flavour with age" "Punctuated by the constant ringing of the phone, and by…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Car Man at the Royal Albert Hall (2022)

★★★★
"Steamy dance thriller with a supercharged engine" "Bourne’s 1950s potboiler has been beefed up for a larger venue. The result…
Sanjoy Roy, The Guardian
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The Gunpowder Plot at the Tower Vaults London (2022)

★★★
"A thrilling live adventure is marred by moments of bewildering VR in this immersive voyage back to 1605" "In the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Harry Hill puts the party into politics" "Co-written by Hill and Steve Brown, this is a messy jamboree-bag of songs…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"... comedian Harry Hill and composer Steve Brown’s Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera) is a new, fresh, multitasking musical,…
Kate Kellaway, The Observer
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Britannicus at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★★
"Political drama is deadly serious but full of sass" "Timberlake Wertenbaker’s take on Racine’s version of ancient Rome is replete…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Unfriend at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Cringe-tastic " "Gatiss’s brisk directing doesn’t permit lags or reflection and the rollicking pace plays to the strengths of cast…
Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian
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The Glass Menagerie at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)

★★
"Amy Adams’s West End debut fails to find its heart" "Tennessee Williams’s story of yearning, passion and despair never puts…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena (2022)

★★★★★
"Jaw-dropping " "Any sense you’re not actually in the presence of the band dissolves during a setlist of crowd-pleasing hits"…
Alexis Petridis, The Guardian
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ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena (2022)

★★★★
"A dazzling retro-futurist extravaganza" "Stepping back in time and into the future, Abba astound with a mind-bending virtual comeback show…
Kitty Empire, The Guardian
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Legally Blonde The Musical at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Joyously camp revamp is in the pink" "An overhaul of the original’s gender politics, plenty of Gen-Z touchpoints and a…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Murder On The Orient Express at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A first-class ride all the way" "Henry Goodman gives us every inch of Hercule Poirot’s dandiness and comedy in this…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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The House of Shades at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Anne-Marie Duff gives a toxic tour de force" "Beth Steel’s large canvas reflects brawny ambition and magnificent fearlessness as the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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My Fair Lady  (2022)

★★★
"Perfectly elegant, ever so sedate" "This garlanded production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s musical, fresh from Broadway, is…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Passion at the Hope Mill Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Thrilling singing in a rousing Sondheim reboot" "Ruthie Henshall and Kelly Price shine in a sophisticated and intimate staging of…
Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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Oklahoma! at the Young Vic Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"An invigorating take on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic" "This modern, sexy and unsettling show injects thrills into a familiar musical,…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends at the Sondheim Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"A glorious all-star memorial service" "This was a glorious memorial service, each of the tunes a eulogy, every eulogist either…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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Much Ado About Nothing at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Gaiety abounds in the Globe’s great garden party" "Lucy Bailey’s ambling production of Shakespeare’s comedy, set in northern Italy on…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Macbeth at the Longacre Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga soar but there’s magic missing" "Sam Gold’s inventively staged take on the classic tragedy has…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Mark Rylance’s riveting return as ‘Rooster’ Byron" "Problematic gags limit the power of Jez Butterworth’s layered drama about myths and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Jodie Comer on formidable form in roaring drama" "The Killing Eve star makes a masterful West End debut in Suzie…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Funny Girl at the August Wilson Theatre (2022)

"Move Over, Barbra. Welcome, Beanie. A New Star Is Born." "Like everyone else, I arrived at this refurbished classic dragging…
Rex Reed, The Observer
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The Corn is Green at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"An inspirational heart-warmer in praise of good education" "Emlyn Williams’ 1938 play is a kind of Billy Elliot of the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Marys Seacole at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★
"Mystifying drama about caring through the ages" "Despite strong performances, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play zigzags so much that it overshadows…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Punchdrunk: The Burnt City at the One Cartridge Place (2022)

★★★
"Spectacle eclipses story in siege of Troy epic" "This immersive retelling of Greek tragedies is stylish and atmospheric but lacks…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Punchdrunk: The Burnt City at the One Cartridge Place (2022)

★★★★★
"The immersive theatre trailblazers return with an all-consuming vision of the siege of Troy" "The current embracing of all things…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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Scandaltown at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★
"Smut and silliness in modern Restoration comedy" "Mike Bartlett’s rambunctious capers with types including Lady Susan Climber and Matt Eton…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Zorro The Musical at the Charing Cross Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Swordplay, seduction and castanets" "The whiff of hamminess is never absent from the Zorro story and here both script and…
Emma John, The Guardian
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The 47th at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★★
"Bertie Carvel is devilishly good but this Trumpian satire feels too soon" "Mike Bartlett’s script turns US politics into Shakepearean…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Anyone Can Whistle at the Southwark Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"Sondheim flop gets a blazing revival" "This elusive curiosity – whose original production in 1964 closed on Broadway after nine…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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To Kill A Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Harper Lee would approve of snappy Sorkin update" "Rafe Spall is a dignified Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin’s smooth and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Ralph Fiennes enthrals as the man who shaped New York" "Fiennes heads an electrifying cast in David Hare’s dynamic portrait…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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The Human Voice at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★
"Ruth Wilson fails to connect in Jean Cocteau’s tale of despair" "Ivo van Hove’s production divests this drama of emotional…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Cock at the Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton locked in a love triangle" "Jade Anouka’s character causes an existential earthquake in Marianne Elliott’s…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Maria Friedman & Friends - Legacy at the Menier Chocolate Factory  (2022)

★★★
"Who’s up for a cabaret lock-in?" "Looking back at the work of Sondheim, Hamlisch and Legrand, with glorious songs and…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Collaboration at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★★
"Warhol and Basquiat mix paint and trade blows" "Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope excel as the art world legends in…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Music Man at the Winter Garden Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Hugh Jackman dazzles in uneven Broadway show" "The actor enthusiastically sings and dances through a big-budget version of the much-loved…
Jesse Hassenger, The Guardian
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Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Wonderfully Wild" "With pyrotechnics, a looming elephant, scenery to die for and a cast with energy to burn, this revival…
Kate Wyver, The Guardian
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Bring It On: The Musical at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (2021)

★★★
"Lin-Manuel Miranda leads the cheer" "Love Island’s Amber Davies tops a charismatic cast, including Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, in a…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club (Playhouse Theatre) (2021)

★★★★
"Eddie Redmayne is electric in this blinder of a show" "Redmayne and Jessie Buckley ‘Willkommen’ us into this Weimar-era Berlin…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Best of Enemies at the The Young Vic (2021)

★★★★
"James Graham’s superb study of media and politics" "David Harewood and Charles Edwards go head-to-head as William F Buckley Jr…
Mark Lawson, The Guardian
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West Side Story  (2021)

★★★★★
"Spielberg’s triumphantly hyperreal remake" "Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2.0 is an ecstatic act of ancestor-worship: a vividly dreamed, cunningly…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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A Chorus Line at the Curve Leicester (2021)

★★★★
"A thrilling combination of sharp moves and snappy tunes" "What a thrill, then, to see the deep Curve stage flooded…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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The Book of Dust at the Bridge Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"A theatrical marvel. Nicholas Hytner brings a dazzling wizard’s touch to this adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy tale" "The stage…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (2021)

★★★
"Friends of Dorothy may be diverted by this musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz. But, although it has been…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Duke of York's Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Neil Gaiman’s monsters will leave you cowering" "Shapeshifting creatures take centre stage in Katy Rudd’s production that terrifyingly evokes childhood…
Claire Allfree, The Guardian
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Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) at the Criterion Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Rough-hewn but joyous musical take on the classic novel works in everything from Carly Simon to Chris de Burgh" "As…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story at the Nottingham Playhouse (2021)

★★★
"Mark Gatiss’s witty dash through Dickens" (2021 Production) "Gatiss’s delayed rework amps up the ghostly effects while drawing out the…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical at the Lyric Theatre (2021)

★★★
"It’s the music that carries the emotional weight in this tale of love, loss and roots rock, starring the superb…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Back to the Future at the Adelphi Theatre (2021)

★★★
"The car’s the star: this is a splashy theatre-film mashup, with gravity-defying effects, cute quirks and offbeat gags" "The cast…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Frozen The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2021)

★★★★★
"Stunning musical extravaganza creates its own magic" "Beyond the visual thrills and powerful ballads, this adaptation brings an unexpected depth…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2021)

★★★★★
"Not so much a ball as a blast" "The original story and book by Emerald Fennell have heart and a…
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
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Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre (2021)

★★★★★
"Stageful of sugar is a rapturous delight" "Zizi Strallen is excellent as the buoyant nanny in Eyre’s chippy and enduring…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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The Phantom of the Opera at the Her Majesty's Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"The music of the night is back" "A new cast refreshes Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, its pop melodies, maximalist designs…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre (2021)

★★★★★
"Sutton Foster dazzles in Cole Porter’s fizzing tonic for our times" "This 1934 show is Depression-era escapism fit for post-Covid…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre (2021)

★★★★★
"Sutton Foster dazzles in Cole Porter’s fizzing tonic for our times" "This 1934 show is Depression-era escapism fit for post-Covid…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre (2020)

★★★★★
" Just hear these people sing!" "With a cast that never misses a note, the West End’s longest-running musical proves…
Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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Cirque Du Soleil - Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall (2020)

★★★★
"The Canadian company’s colourful Mexican-flavoured show is full of heart-stopping skill, dreamy lyricism and visual whimsy" "On such a grand…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre (2020)

★★★
"A fun night out" "There’s real magic to enjoy alongside the tomfoolery. Stunts and tricks go awry in this slapstick…
Brian Logan, The Guardian
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Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"Lloyd’s production makes you see an old play with fresh eyes" “This is a Cyrano that dispenses with conventional spectacle,…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Jagged Little Pill at the Broadhurst Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"Alanis musical hits Broadway with a bang" "Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody has brought Alanis Morissette’s music to the stage with…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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& Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre (2019)

★★
"Pop mogul Max Martin's bizarre jukebox bonanza" "Songs of the prolific Swedish tunesmith are shoehorned into a silly Shakespeare-derived story…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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& Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"The bard goes bubblegum" "A fun, feminist makeover of Romeo and Juliet chooses life – with a great pop soundtrack"…
Gregory Robinson, The Observer
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DEAR EVAN HANSEN at the Noel Coward Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"High-school musical captures agonies of youth" "Sam Tutty shines as the lonely student who fabricates a friendship with a dead…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Groan Ups at the Vaudeville Theatre (2019)

★★★
"This is more a study of the life that goes pear-shaped" “From age six to 30, Mischief Theatre’s engaging band…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Lungs at the The Old Vic (2019)

★★★★
"Claire Foy and Matt Smith shine in climate crisis drama" "Duncan Macmillan’s two-hander is a frenetic portrait of flawed love…
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Vassa at the Almeida Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Siobhan Redmond is impressive" "Siobhan Redmond is impressive as a tyrannical mother trying to rescue her debt-ridden family in Tinuke…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg at the Trafalgar Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"Peter Nichols' classic has rare truth" “Excellent performances from a cast including Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner” “Clarence Smith is…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith (2019)

★★★★
"Love and loneliness collide in best take yet on sci-fi classic" “David Greig’s adaptation...Although rooted in the novel, it takes…
Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Not only critic-proof, but maybe also story-proof." "Moulin Rouge is one of those shows that is not only critic-proof, but…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (2019)

★★★★
"A fabulous fiesta of fabric and flesh" "Lucha libre masks, conical bras, banana skirts – this voguing, strutting, dancing celebration…
Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Edinburgh at the London Palladium (2019)

★★★★
"Sheridan Smith and Jason Donovan bring charisma to a jubilant revival" "I first saw this show in 1972 when it…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Wife at the Kiln Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"Rousing look at 60 years of sexual identity" "Adamson’s discrete episodes are held together by two things. One is the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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The Starry Messenger at the Wyndham's Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Kenneth Lonergan’s tale of astronomy and midlife misery makes fine use of an A-list cast but never truly explodes into…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Sergei Polunin at the London Palladium (2019)

★★
"The bad boy of ballet’s self-absorbed mixed bill is unlikely to win over his detractors" "It’s a cabaret of inelegant…
Sara Veale, The Observer
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Sergei Polunin at the London Palladium (2019)

★★
"Storm, stress and sweet torment " "Ballet and B-movies collide as Sergei Polunin revives Russian villain Rasputin, suffers with Nijinsky,…
Sanjoy Roy, The Guardian
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Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2019)

★★★★
"Hiddleston is superb in haunting drama of deception" "Of the many versions of the play I've seen over the past…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre, (2019)

★★★
"Bittersweet Broadway musical served warm in the West End" "Initially, the show struck me as raucous and improbable. Bareilles' lyrics…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Relentless niceness in tale of post-9/11 Canadian kindness" "This musical about plane passengers diverted to Newfoundland on 11 September has…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Slick and stylish Dolly Parton period piece" "This beloved revenge fantasy is as subtle as a sledgehammer but its advocacy…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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All About Eve at the Noel Coward Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Classic Hollywood updated with technical wizardry" "Gillian Anderson and Lily James give fine performances but this version of the 1950…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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All About Eve at the Noel Coward Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Van Hove’s paraphernalia is there – the cameras circling the stage, the video screen capturing and magnifying the action. But…
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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True West at the Vaudeville Theatre (2018)

★★★
"Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn are good, if slightly mismatched, as the brothers in Sam Shepard’s haunting play" "Enjoyable as…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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The Cher Show at the Neil Simon Theatre (2018)

★★★
"Broadway musical is a mixed bag of pop excess" 'A jukebox ode to the megastar contains some dazzling numbers but…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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The Cher Show at the Neil Simon Theatre (2018)

"If We Could Turn Back Time, We’d Skip The Cher Show" "To hear her tell it, Cher struggled most of…
David Cote, The Observer
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Clueless The Musical at the The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre (2018)

★★
'Movie fans will hear all of their favorite lines– “As if!” “Way harsh!” “You’re a virgin who can’t drive” –…
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
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Clueless The Musical at the The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre (2018)

'The Way Harsh Truth About ‘Clueless, The Musical’: It Stinks' 'Teen princess Cher Horowitz and her friends sing familiar melodies…
David Cote, The Observer
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Fiddler On The Roof at the Meniere Chocolate Factory (2018)

★★★★★
"Musically, geopolitically, emotionally, this Fiddler raises the roof." 'Although much-loved and often revived, Fiddler on the Roof has been charged…
Matt Lawson, The Guardian
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Hole at the Royal Court Theatre (2018)

★★★
‘Ellie Kendrick livens up her inventive debut with astrophysics and ancient Greek myth – but it could use more concrete…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Billionaire Boy at the NST City, Southampton (2018)

★★★
“Jon Brittain’s musical adaptation of David Walliams’s tale of Joe Spud, the richest boy in the country, has plenty to…
Clare Brennan, The Guardian
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Hadestown at the National Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"A beguiling fable for today" "There are some cracking songs in Rachel Chavkin and Anaïs Mitchell’s haunting journey through the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Company at the Gielgud Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"Sex-switch Sondheim proves a heavenly fling" "Company is one of the great grown-up musicals. However, where Harold Prince’s 1970 production…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Translations at the National Theatre (2018)

★★★★★
"A flawless take on Friel's culture-clash masterpiece." "Brian Friel’s play about the infinite mysteries of language is richly realised in…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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My Name Is Lucy Barton at the Bridge Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"Elizabeth Strout’s novel works outstandingly on stage, thanks to sole performer Linney’s nuanced command of the narrative." "Linney switches easily…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Killer Joe at the Trafalgar Studios (2018)

★★★★
"Orlando Bloom's hitman-cop is queasily gripping." "This revival of Tracy Letts’s violent play about a grotesquely dysfunctional family keeps the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Julie at the National Theatre (2018)

★★
"Polly Stenham's modern take on Strindberg misses the mark" "The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby impresses but this updated version of the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Red at the Wyndham's Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"Alfred Molina's portrait is as layered as a Rothko canvas" "Michael Grandage directs a well-judged revival of John Logan’s play…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"Wilde's dandies and fat cats verge on the preposterous" "Edward and Freddie Fox, as a father and son, are the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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The Girl On The Train  (2018)

★★★
"is Paula Hawkins's bestseller unadaptable?" “Here you feel that an eerily compelling novel, with its multiple narration and Hitchcockian voyeurism,…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Tina - The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre (2018)

★★★★
"Whirlwind Turner tribute leaves you breathless" "As bio-musicals go, this is as good as it gets. The show rests on…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre (2017)

★★★★★
"revolutionary musical a thrilling salute to America's immigrants" "Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rollercoaster of a show boasts outstanding performances and charts the…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Sister Act The Musical at the London Palladium (2009)

"If you can smother quibbles about the daft story... and if, crucially, you like to save up for big-budget musical…
Euan Ferguson, The Observer
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Sister Act The Musical at the London Palladium (2009)

★★
"All too typically the nuns, in Anthony van Laast's choreography, kick up their heels like the Rockettes and prance around…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre (2009)

★★
"Although the show is eventually about a father-son reunion, it never touches the heart. And, given the unexplored richness of…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2009)

★★★
"HEADLINE" "For the most part, however, this is Dickens as jolly family entertainment stripped of the sense of solitude that…
Michael Billington, The Guardian
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Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre (2009)

★★★
"It's cute, kicking and retro" "Singer Roger Wright has a soaring, modulated Motown voice, but even he can't stop this…
Sanjoy Roy, The Guardian
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