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London theatre: the best musicals and plays to book now

Top theatre shows in London include Hamilton, Guys & Dolls, Tina, and Back to the Future The Musical
The top theatres shows in London

London has a world-leading theatre scene, offering everything from plays, musicals and comedy to immersive and family-friendly entertainment. In the West End, and beyond, you’ll find both beloved long-running shows and cutting-edge new work, featuring A-list actors alongside rising stars.

If you’re trying to decide which are the best theatre shows in London to start with in 2024, our expert Telegraph critics can help you choose with their incisive reviews. All the latest articles are at Telegraph Theatre. Plus we’ve rounded up the best family shows and the best shows for half term.

You can also find discounted tickets on Telegraph Tickets for all of the capital’s best plays and musicals, such as Hamilton, Les Miserables, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and The Book of Mormon.

Check out our top picks of London theatre shows below and get booking.


The best London shows, at a glance

Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre
Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre - Manuel Harlan

Pacific Overtures, Menier Chocolate Factory ★★★

In a nutshell: “There’s much admirable detail is this staging of Stephen Sondheim’s playful ‘documentary vaudeville’: the use of Japanese puppetry, the integration of origami and video wizardry.” Read the full review

Booking until: Feb 24

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The Little Big Things, @sohoplace ★★★

In a nutshell: “There’s much to admire in this musical, based on rugby star Henry Fraser’s memoir, from its inclusive spirit to its harnessing of big emotions.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 2

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The Enfield Haunting, Ambassadors Theatre

In a nutshell: Catherine Tate and David Thelfall star in Paul Unwin’s spooky new West End play based on a real-life apparent poltergeist event from the 1970s.

Booking until: Mar 2

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The King and I, London Palladium ★★★★

In a nutshell: “The whole affair is a satisfying blend of bombast and subtlety. Many of the songs remain transcendently lovely, chief among them that invitation to madly polka, Shall We Dance?.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 2

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Till the Stars Come Down, National Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “We get that rare thing, a family drama about the white working-class today, taking in the impact of immigration, plus love, death and the whole complex kaboodle of getting through life.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 16

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My Neighbour Totoro, Barbican ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Totoro is magnificently humongous with a mighty, reverberating growl, wicked smile, lumbering walk and bouncy castle of a fluffy tum. The wow-factor of his spectacular appearances is worth the price of admission alone.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 23

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The Motive and the Cue, Noel Coward Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Mark Gatiss, giving the performance of his career, eerily summons the spirit, at once humble and haughty, professorial and playful, genteel and prickly, of John Gielgud.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 23

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The Merchant of Venice 1936, Criterion Theatre ★★★

In a nutshell: “This insightful account of Shakespeare’s play relocates the action to the heart of the East End during a shameful era of emboldened British anti-Semitism... Tracy-Ann Oberman makes theatre history in the lead.” Read the full review

Booking: Feb 15-Mar 23

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Macbeth, Dock X ★★★★

In a nutshell: “It’s Ralph Fiennes’s night. He’s perturbed and furrowed, decisive then vacillating... agitated after Duncan’s murder, and something truly horrid gleams in his gaze as he plots Banquo’s death.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 30

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Just For One Day, Old Vic ★★★★

In a nutshell: “This rip-roaring, nostalgia-stirring new juke-box musical re-tells the story of the Live Aid concert that held the world in fundraising thrall, using many of the songs heard on that sun-kissed day.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 30

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King Lear, Almeida Theatre

In a nutshell: Danny Sapani stars as Lear in Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Following her hit production of Macbeth with James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan, Yaël Farber returns to the Almeida to direct.

Booking until: Mar 30

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An Enemy of the People, Duke of York’s Theatre

In a nutshell: Matt Smith makes his West End debut in Thomas Ostermeier’s punchy – and sharply contemporary – reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s fable.

Booking until: Apr 6

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse ★★★

In a nutshell: “This sparklingly clear, at times thrillingly pacy production convincingly argues that Othello is as much a play about men who kill women as it is about race.” Read the full review

Booking until: Apr 13

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Plaza Suite, Savoy Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Starring opposite her real-life husband, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker is terrific entertainment value... She offers immaculate room-service as she delivers polished rounds of rueful wisecracks.” Read the full review

Booking until: Apr 13

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The Picture of Dorian Gray, Theatre Royal Haymarket

In a nutshell: Sarah Snook, aka Shiv Roy in Succession, plays all 26 roles in this tour-de-force solo version of Osar Wilde’s enduring tale. Kip Williams, artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company, directs.

Booking until: Apr 13

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The Duchess of Malfi, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

In a nutshell: Rachel Bagshaw directs John Webster’s seminal revenge tragedy in the Globe’s candlelit indoor space, 10 years after this play about a woman in a male-dominated world opened the Sam Wanamaker.

Booking: Feb 17-Apr 14

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Nachtland, Young Vic

In a nutshell: Patrick Marber directs Marius von Mayenburg’s compelling satire about the discovery of painting by a man who became an infamous Nazi. Romola Garai, Jane Horrocks and John Heffernan star.

Booking: Feb 20-Apr 20

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A Mirror, Trafalgar Theatre

In a nutshell: Sam Holcroft’s surprising, witty and provocative riff on censorship and free speech transfers from the Almeida. Jeremy Herrin directs Jonny Lee Miller, Tanya Reynolds, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Samuel Adewunmi.

Booking until: Apr 20

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Red Pitch, @sohoplace

In a nutshell: “Football, gentrification and manhood might be the hooks on which Tyrell Williams’s play hangs, but at its core, it’s about the vagaries of friendship.” Read the full review

Booking: Mar 15-May 4

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The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “This wild, thrilling, go-for-broke, genuinely hilarious musical comedy remains one of the funniest shows in the West End... I’m a believer!” Read the full review

Booking until: May 18

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Minority Report, Lyric Hammersmith 

In a nutshell: Philip K Dick’s sci-fi novella (turned into a blockbuster movie by Steven Spielberg) is adapted for stage by David Haig, directed by Max Webster. The central character becomes a leading female neuroscientist.

Booking: Apr 19-May 18

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “The tireless company romps through Sonya Tayeh’s adrenaline and libido-fuelled choreography... This is beguilingly transporting, all-enveloping theatre.” Read the full review

Booking until: May 18

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Machinal, Old Vic

In a nutshell: Richard Jones’s powerful revival of Sophie Treadwell’s play, based on a shattering real-life crime story, transfers from the Theatre Royal Bath. Rosie Sheehy reprises her phenomenal performance.

Booking: Apr 11-Jun 1

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Mrs Doubtfire, Shaftesbury Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Never doubt I love Mrs Doubtfire, the feelgood but not fluffy-minded musical that has pitched up at the newly made-over Shaftesbury Theatre... A sure-fire hit, my dears.” Read the full review

Booking until: Jun 2

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The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Watching the show alongside my rapt children, I was struck by how much it succeeds in speaking to the heart rather than the head... A deeply felt celebration of life.” Read the full review

Booking until: Jun 2

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Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Wyndham’s Theatre

In a nutshell: Succession’s Brian Cox inhabits another flawed patriarch heading up a dysfunctional family in Jeremy Herrin’s all-star Eugene O’Neill revival. The cast also features Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Boyle and Daryl McCormack.

Booking: Mar 19-Jun 8

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The Hills of California, Harold Pinter Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “How do we face the loss of someone very close to us, who has damaged us?...It’s smart, ambitious fare, no question, the cast serve it with aplomb, and the final half-hour works like a dream.” Read the full review

Booking until: Jun 15

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MJ The Musical, Prince Edward Theatre

In a nutshell: This hit Broadway musical telling the story of Michael Jackson features a book by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage and is directed/choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Tony-winning star Myles Frost reprises his lead role.

Booking: Mar 6-Jun 22

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Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre

In a nutshell: Ian McKellen stars as Falstaff in Robert Icke’s keenly anticipated new version of two great Shakespeare history plays – Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

Booking: Apr 1-Jun 22

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Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Netflix gives the West End its event of the year... The jaw-dropping coups range from the infernal, supernatural engulfing of a hulking US battle-ship to acts of levitation.” Read the full review

Booking until: Jun 30

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Two Strangers (carry a cake across New York), Criterion Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “With its transatlantic romcom premise, this new musical has definite shades of Richard Curtis... Sam Tutty and Dujonna Gift have contrasting but beautifully complementary voices, just like their opposites-attract characters.” Read the full review

Booking: Apr 4-Jul 14

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Spirited Away, London Coliseum

In a nutshell: The acclaimed stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s animation masterpiece, directed by John Caird (Les Miserables), transfers from Japan to the Coliseum. Could this match the success of My Neighbour Totoro?

Booking: Apr 30-Jul 20

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Opening Night, Gielgud Theatre

In a nutshell: This intriguing new musical version of John Cassavetes’ film about a Broadway leading lady battling offstage drama has a dynamite team: actress Sheridan Smith, musician Rufus Wainwright, and director Ivo van Hove.

Booking: Mar 6-Jul 27

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Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Gillian Lynne Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Those who love Richard Hawley’s music, steeped in post-industrial melancholy and yearning – the opium of the dreamy loner – will be in their element here... An enthralling evening.” Read the full review

Booking until: Aug 3

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Romeo and Juliet, Duke of York’s Theatre

In a nutshell: Tom Holland, aka Marvel’s Spider-Man, swaps web-slinging for Shakespeare in Jamie Lloyd’s new West End production. Holland was last seen on stage in the title role of Billy Elliot The Musical.

Booking: May 11-Aug 3

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Fangirls, Lyric Hammersmith

In a nutshell: This Australian pop musical phenomenon hits the UK, telling the story of a teenage girl’s love for a boyband – plus friendships, coming of age, and a fantastic night out.

Booking: Jul 13-Aug 24

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A Chorus Line, Sadler’s Wells

In a nutshell: God I hope I get it! The thrilling backstage musical about a group of disparate performers auditioning for a Broadway show is back in town, and, with its incredible dance routines, it’s still one singular sensation.

Booking: Jul 31-Aug 25

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Sister Act, Dominion Theatre ★★★

In a nutshell: “Beverley Knight is a class act... The musical’s shrewd creative stroke is to shift the action to the 1970s, so that it is pounding with soul and disco music.” Read the full review

Booking: Mar 15-Aug 31

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Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre ★★★★★ 

In a nutshell: “Nicholas Hytner’s box of tricks, the Bridge, unleashes the show all around you if you’re one of the 380 punters standing in the thick of it... It’s an extravaganza that explodes every which way.” Read the full review

Booking until: Aug 31

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Frozen the Musical, Theatre Royal Drury Lane ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “It’s pure West End spectacle, exactly what you want for a production likely to be many kids’ first experience of theatre, and told with a blazing passion that is surprisingly affecting.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 8

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The Mousetrap, St Martin’s Theatre

In a nutshell: The longest-running play in the world, Agatha Christie’s fiendish murder mystery has been bamboozling audiences since 1952. Can you match wits with the Queen of Crime and figure out whodunit?

Booking until: Sept 14

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Next to Normal, Wyndham’s Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “A tale of a mother grappling with bipolar disorder may be an unusual premise for a rock musical, but Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s show proves an unstoppable force... Moving and gut-wrenching.” Read the full review

Booking: Jun 8-Sept 21

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Fawlty Towers, Apollo Theatre

In a nutshell: John Cleese is adapting three classic episodes of his peerless sitcom into a West End play. The cast is led by Adam Jackson-Smith, Anna-Jane Casey, Hemi Yeroham, Victoria Fox and Paul Nicholas.

Booking: May 4-Sept 28

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Cabaret, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “An absolute knockout... With its combination of all-encompassing decadent beauty and thunderous moral force, there’s simply nothing else in town quite like it.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 28

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Les Miserables, Sondheim Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “In its density and epic ambition, its mixture of high-powered ideas and gut-wrenching emotions, it’s a show that feels lastingly revolutionary.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 28

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Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Lin-Manuel Miranda does things with rap so nifty that even people who hate rap will relent, and he keeps shifting tempo and mood, a magpie maestro: here a nod to Gilbert and Sullivan, there a hint of Kander and Ebb.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 28

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Mamma Mia!, Novello Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Phyllida Lloyd’s slick production is still a tremendous crowd-pleaser... Buoyed by Abba’s enduring brilliance, it’s a welcome shot of pure sunshine.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 28

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The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “It’s the slew of coups de théâtre, the no-nonsense pacing and the gorgeous spectacles that make this tale of a disfigured man of musical genius lurking beneath the Paris Opera House so effective.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 28

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Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Not just a whodunit, but a wheredunit... Agatha Christie’s bravura twisty plotting is still second to none. Combined with the inspired use of an historic location, it’s criminally entertaining.” Read the full review

Booking until: Sept 29

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Mean Girls, Savoy Theatre

In a nutshell: The Broadway musical version of Tina Fey’s peerless high-school film comedy (which featured Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Amy Poehler) hits the West End.

Booking: Jun 5-Oct 27

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The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Seldom has disaster delivered so many belly laughs... This spoof am-dram staging of an Agatha Christie whodunit is the perfect recipe for absurd slapstick.” Read the full review

Booking until: Nov 3

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Six, Vaudeville Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “This infectiously fun production is packed with witty touches... A heart-warming, air-punching finale has everyone up on their feet. I expect these queens to rule the West End for years to come.” Read the full review

Booking until: Nov 3

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Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “What this inspired musical about the 1943 wartime deception has in winning spades is a Pythonesque delight in irreverence that doesn’t short-change the intellect.” Read the full review

Booking until: Nov 16

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ABBA Voyage, ABBA Arena ★★★★

In a nutshell: “It’s a mind-blowing hi-tech celebration of some of the greatest pop music ever made, delivered as if you are up close and personal with legendary superstars...albeit in a virtual spaceship in another dimension.” Read the full review

Booking until: Nov 25

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Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Matthew Warchus’s thrilling, warm-hearted production, exuberantly designed by Rob Howell and with pin-sharp choreography by Peter Darling, constantly combines comedy with a sense of wonder.” Read the full review

Booking until: Dec 15

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Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Joe Mantello’s production has satisfyingly old-school bombast: instead of screens, its impact comes from the detailed, fabulously over-the-top steampunk design. The orchestra is the biggest in the West End – and it shows.” Read the full review

Booking until: Dec 15

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Dr Strangelove, Noel Coward Theatre

In a nutshell: Steve Coogan leads this new theatrical adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s jet-black comic masterpiece about a rogue general triggering a nuclear crisis, brought to the stage by Armando Iannucci and Sean Foley.

Booking: Oct 8-Dec 21

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Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Thanks to video and illusionist wizardry, the steam-spouting DeLorean skids into view from nowhere and takes off over the stalls, achieving a kind of 3D Hollywood magic... A feelgood triumph.” Read the full review

Booking until: Dec 22

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Hadestown, Lyric Theatre

In a nutshell: Anais Mitchell’s Tony Award-winning musical take on the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has its first run in the West End, following a successful National Theatre stint in 2018.

Booking: Feb 10-Dec 22

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Magic Mike Live, Hippodrome Casino

In a nutshell: “‘I wanted to create a space where men really listened to women,’ says creator Channing Tatum. What emerges is undoubtedly entertaining and one of the best fun nights London has to offer.” Read the full article

Booking until: Jan 5, 2025

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre ★★★★★ 

In a nutshell: “British theatre hasn’t known anything like it for decades and I haven’t seen anything directly comparable in all my reviewing days... It raises the benchmark for family entertainment.” Read the full review

Booking until: Mar 2, 2025

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Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Aldwych Theatre ★★★★★ 

In a nutshell: “An Anglo-American triumph. It combines the aesthetic finesse of British director Phyllida Lloyd with the political instincts of Memphis-born, Olivier-nominated playwright Katori Hall.” Read the full review

Booking until: May 31, 2025

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The Devil Wears Prada, Dominion Theatre

In a nutshell: The fabulously fashionable fable, a thinly veiled takedown of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, has become a stage musical with songs by Elton John. It’s runway ready – now it’s time for the West End.

Booking: Oct 24-May 31, 2025

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Frequently asked questions

How do I find what’s on in the West End?

London has a fantastic mix of long-running shows, like Wicked, Matilda and The Play That Goes Wrong, and new productions. We will be constantly updating this page with top picks for the best London musicals and plays from our critics, so keep checking back to see all of the latest reviews and recommendations of upcoming theatre shows.

You can also find a range of reviews, interviews and preview features at Telegraph Theatre.

How much is the average West End ticket?

West End ticket prices vary depending on the seating and the venue. You can usually find some cheap ticket for London shows from around £20, up to £60 for seats closer to the stage, and then some premium pricing of £100 or more for the very best seats in the house. However, there are also great West End discounts to be found – check out Telegraph Tickets for all the current London ticket deals.

What are the newest West End shows?

Some of the latest additions to London’s West End include the acclaimed stage adaptation of A Little Life, starring James Norton; British wartime musical Operation Mincemeat; and the glorious toe-tapping musical Crazy For You. Book tickets for all the best new shows now.

Can I change the date/time of my theatre show ticket?

Many theatres have a policy whereby once you’ve booked a ticket, you cannot cancel it or change it to another date. However, it does vary: some venues are able to be more flexible about this, especially if it’s a sold-out show. Check the terms and conditions on the website where you booked, or call the box office.

What is the best way to travel to the theatre?

If you’re seeing a show in the West End, the easiest way to get to the theatre is usually by public transport. Traffic tends to get very busy in the centre of London, especially around rush hour. There are numerous Tube stations close to West End theatres, such as Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Piccadilly and Tottenham Court Road, servicing Tube lines like the Central, Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee. Visit the TfL website to plan your route. You can also try buses (although they’re slower moving at rush hour), or if the weather is pleasant, walking or cycling.

Can I bring my child to a theatre performance not specifically for children?

Many shows have specific age recommendations and won’t admit younger children – you can find that information in our family theatre guide or on booking websites for productions, like Telegraph Tickets. Those recommendations are made based on the content and any potentially scary, disturbing or mature elements. However, each child is different, so it’s also up to parents to decide whether their child can cope with a particular show. Think about the story, the production elements (like loud noises), and the length – even adults may struggle with longer shows!

Do theatre performances have age ratings?

Yes, they do. Just like films, theatre shows have recommended age ratings – normally suggesting a minimal age for audience members, like 6+, and asking that any children by accompanied by adults. We’ve got age recommendations for all family-friendly shows in our family theatre guide and on the Telegraph Tickets booking site, and you can also find that information on individual theatre websites or by calling the box office.

How do I book theatre tickets for a large group of people?

Lots of theatre websites will offer help and advice for group bookings – some even have dedicated box office phone lines. In fact, it can be a great way to get a good deal on tickets or to book cheap tickets for big shows. Plus it’s fun to do a group outing with lots of friends or family members. Check out all the latest shows that would suit group bookings on Telegraph Tickets.

What items can’t I bring to the theatre?

Nearly all theatres, particularly in the West End, operate bag checks on entry. Security officials will be checking for any dangerous items – so potential weapons or other sharp objects, fireworks or pyrotechnics, or hazardous substances. Most also prohibit you from bringing in drugs or alcohol, and some prefer you not to bring in outside food or drink (other than sealed bottles of water), since they provide both in the theatre. Some venues also ask you not to bring large bags. You can find the latest information on theatre websites.

Can I still watch the performance if I am late?

Generally yes – ushers will tend to wait until an appropriate time in the production, like a scene change, to show you to your seats. If you’re really late, some theatres might ask you to watch the remainder of that first half on a screen just outside the auditorium, and then you can enter after the interval. If you are on time but your companion is running late, you should be able to leave their ticket with the box office.

What is the difference between stalls, grand circle and dress circle seats?

Stalls tickets mean you are seated on the ground level of the theatre, with seats beginning right next to the stage and extending to the back. These tend to be the more expensive tickets, since you’re closest to the action. The dress circle is one level up. Seats here are usually a bit cheaper, but you can still get a great view from the dress circle: it tends to extend over the back half of the stalls, and it’s particularly good for something like a musical with big song-and-dance numbers since you have an aerial view of the whole stage.

The grand circle is another level up, so this is usually where you find the cheap tickets. However, grand circle seats can be a great deal – you might not have the best sightlines, but you still feel like part of the show, and for less. So, if you want the best guaranteed seats, central stalls or near the front of the dress circle is best. But if you’re looking for cheap tickets, grand circle is a good pick.

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