London West End

These plays deserve a spot on your must see bucket list


These plays deserve a spot on your must see bucket list

Our Editor’s Must See Plays Bucket List

As well as these plays, find out more about the longest running plays ever in the West End.

The Importance of Being Earnest

First performed in 1895, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is widely considered to be one of the funniest plays in existence. This paradoxical three-act farce is a hilarious social commentary about the frivolities of the aristocracy.

Two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, both create alter egos named Ernest to escape the humdrum of their everyday lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women, Gwendolen and Cecily, who claim to only love men named Ernest. Jack and Algy struggle to maintain their elaborate web of lies and what follows is a manic tale of dishonesty, disguise and mishaps. Wilde’s plot introduces some of British theatre’s most loved and most bizarre faces, including the notoriously snobbish Lady Bracknell, the hilariously pedantic Miss Prism, and the pitifully love-struck Reverend Chasuble.

This playful comic masterpiece is a feat of storytelling enriched with some of the most memorable aphorisms in the English language. Turning the world of the aristocracy upside down, Wilde’s celebrated characters throw love and logic into the air, making for one of theatre’s most eloquent, witty and dramatic firework displays.

“Bunburying” its way into the Vaudeville Theatre in August 2018 is a Classic Spring production, make sure you book a ticket while you still can.

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Don Quixote

Funny and charming, Cervantes’ legendary novel on the human condition, caught between tragedy and comedy, is one of the greatest works of literature ever written.

Don Quixote follows the disastrous misadventures of Alonso Quixano a.k.a Don Quixote, an eccentric old man who is obsessed with books on chivalry, and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza.

Entranced by medieval tales of courtliness, Don Quixote decides to become a knight errant and pursue bold adventures accompanied by his ill-suited servant. They travel the world together, Quixote’s wild imagination leading them into bizarre scrapes and down peculiar paths. Armed with a lance and sword, our wandering knight meets all kinds of people on his rumbustious quest – prostitutes, goat-herders, priests, soldiers, escaped convicts and scorned lovers are just the beginning.

Don Quixote is one of the funniest classics around. After a sell-out 2016 run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, the Royal Shakespeare Company is bringing this “boisterous romp” (The Times) to the Garrick Theatre for a strictly limited 14-week season starring David Threlfall and Rufus Hound.

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Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare’s most shocking and bloody play, Titus Andronicus is a revenge tragedy on an epic scale. If you’re looking for an action-packed night out and are, most importantly, not squeamish – then Titus Andronicus will not disappoint.

Rome’s most honoured general Titus Andronicus returns from a brutal 10-year war having lost 21 sons in battle. Queen of the Goths, Tamora, her sons and her lover, Aaron the Moor, are his captives. Tamora’s eldest son is sacrificed by Titus and she vows to seek her revenge.

Betrayed by his nation, and with his family in pieces, a series of bloody events follow for Titus. Rape, mutilation, cannibalism and murder – not to mention the addition of human pies – are all gruesome parts of Shakespeare’s gripping play.

Witness for the Prosecution

Agatha Christie’s famous tale of justice, passion and betrayal is packed full of twists, red-herrings and lies upon lies.  It’s a fast-moving whodunit showcasing the court case of the century.

Leonard Vole wishes to protest his innocence in the murder of a wealthy widow. The good-natured man approaches Sir Wilfrid Robarts (QC) and Mr Mayhew to help him clear his name. Emily was a wealthy older lady who had taken Leonard under her wing and, after it is discovered that she left all of her money to him, doubt is cast upon the young man’s alibi. When Leonard’s wife, Romaine, agrees to testify, she does so – shockingly – as a witness for the prosecution. But, what are her motivations for doing so and can she be trusted? Will Leonard Vole’s presence and his plea persuade the jury that he did not commit the crime – can he escape the hangman’s noose?

Witness for the Prosecution has been presented for the first time in the fitting surroundings of London’s historic County Hall. This is your opportunity to experience the intensity and drama of Christie’s work like never before. Now booking until March 2019.

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Hamlet is one of the most famous plays in the world. There’s a host of iconic characters, unforgettable prose, and an incredible plot that deals with madness, grief, betrayal, heartbreak and revenge. It has inspired many other famous works such as The Lion King.

With the country preparing for war, the royal family is falling apart. The King has been murdered, and his brother has taken over the throne. Prince Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his recently deceased father, who claims that it was his own brother that murdered him. Prince Hamlet sets out to avenge his father’s death. But the task threatens to destroy the security of the country as well as the sanity of the young Prince.

The Danish Prince is one of the most complex Shakespeare characters around and that’s one of the reasons that you HAVE to see a production of Hamlet when you get a chance. It won’t be something you’ll forget easily!

The Ferryman

The Ferryman was the new play for 2017 – everyone was talking about Jez Butterworth’s Irish tale of hardship and politics. Set in rural Derry during the harvest, Butterworth’s latest masterpiece opened to rave 5-star reviews at the Royal Court Theatre before it quickly made a West End transfer to the enchanting Gielgud Theatre. The show is now headed to Broadway, where previews begin in October 2018.

The year is 1981 and the Carney family’s annual harvest celebrations are interrupted by the news that a missing man’s body has surfaced in a nearby bog. With this ghost from his time with the IRA rearing its ugly head, Quinn Carney struggles against his desire to remain a peaceful farmer.

Sam Mendes directs a 38 strong cast – including a real life baby – in a show that has raked up numerous accolades, scooping 10 major London awards. Its trophy cabinet includes Olivier Awards for Best New Play and Best Director, Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Best Play and Best Director, and a Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play.

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The Mousetrap

And, the Queen of Crime makes it onto our list for a second time!

Now boasting over 65 years on the London stage, the world’s longest-running play is still going strong at St. Martin’s Theatre, and for good reason! This national treasure from the Queen of Crime is a suspenseful whodunnit that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Five guests arrive at a remote country hotel, only to find themselves snowed in. A policeman turns up, warning of a murderer on the loose. It’s not long before a murder takes place inside the house and the detective assembles all the guests together and interrogates them one by one. Each avoid the truth, some by remaining silent and others by lying outright. Can the murderer be caught before more deaths occur? Will you discover the clues hidden among the mounting pile of red herrings?

Although over 10 million people have seen The Mousetrap, it’s a tradition that no one reveals the murderer’s identity, the only way you’ll find out is by seeing this legendary piece of theatre history for yourself.

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The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

Experience comedy at its very best with tickets to this Mischief Theatre masterpiece. Written by the Olivier Award-winning recipients behind the productions The Play that Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes WrongThe Comedy about a Bank Robbery is an uproarious play guaranteed to have your in stitches throughout.

It’s summer 1958. Minneapolis City Bank has been entrusted with a priceless diamond. An escaped convict is dead set on pocketing the gem with the help of his screwball sidekick, trickster girlfriend… and the maintenance man. With mistaken identities, love triangles and hidden agendas, even the most reputable can’t be trusted. In a town where everyone’s a crook, who will end up bagging the jewel?

This smash-and-grab hit is a fast, fabulous comedy caper and the funniest show in the West End, the performances just keep getting worse and worse…

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Winner of 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the most ingenious and compelling plays the West End has ever seen.

Directed by the Olivier Award-winning Marianne Elliott, this highly acclaimed production focuses on the unusual Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old lad who uses facts, forensics and systemised data (a symptom of his autistic behaviour) to launch an investigation into finding the killer of his neighbour’s dog.

Using creative choreography and some of the most technologically advanced staging ever seen in the West End, you will be quickly immersed in Christopher’s world where day-to-day occurrences become momentous challenges, and one’s perception of the world is just a little bit curious.

Based on the 2003 novel by Mark Haddon, the play begins with Christopher standing beside the body of a dead dog, Wellington, whose owner is Christopher’s neighbour, Mrs Shears. We discover that the dog has been speared with a garden fork. It is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He writes down each fact of the ‘case’ in the hope of solving the mystery of who murdered Wellington.

Christopher has an extraordinary brain – he’s exceptional at maths but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. Having never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. When his detective work takes him to the big city lights of London his world turns upside down.

The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time Tickets are not currently on sale.