Best Autumn Theatre in London 2019

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Zoe Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitesic star in Two Ladies

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Zoe Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitesic star in Two Ladies
Dear Evan Hansen
Mamma Mia! The Party
Jodie Prenger stars in A Taste Of Honey
The Man in the White Suit
Touching The Void
Ian McKellen On Stage
Rhys Ifans and Rakie Ayola star in On Bear Ridge
Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe star in Les Miserables - The All Star Staged Concert
Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson: Ghost Stories
My Brilliant Friend
Ghost Quartet
Baby Reindeer
James McAvoy stars in Cyrano De Bergerac


Zoe Wanamaker, Enron author Lucy Prebble, Ibsen and a very poisonous political drama, LondonTown lists the best, unmissable theatre shows in London in autumn 2019.

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Mamma Mia! The Party

An immersive take on the hit ABBA show whisks you away to the island of Skopelos.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: 29th August to 31st December 2019


Be immersed in the world of sunshine and ABBA songs as Mamma Mia! The Party comes to town, co-produced by Bjorn Ulvaeus himself. Set on a Greek island, you'll sit at tables in the taverna's courtyard, enjoying Mediterranean food and drink while seeing the theatre unfold. It's as if you've been invited to the afterparty for Mamma Mia! where you'll get the chance to sing and dance along to ABBA songs as the main floor is transformed into a 1970s disco after the performance. The romantic and funny story, adapted for the UK by Sandi Toksvig, is told through scripted dialogue and ABBA songs. It's staged at one of the venues within The O2, transformed into Nikos' Taverna by Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins architects where you'll certainly feel as if you've been whisked away to the island of Skopelos, amongst olive trees and bougainvillea. It's already proved a huge hit in Stockholm where it first opened in January 2016 and is now in its third sold-out year.


Les Miserables - The All Star Staged Concert

Michael Ball, Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas join a company of over 65 in an intimate concert style staging.

Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station


Dates: 10th August to 30th November 2019


While the Queen's Theatre closes for refurbishment Cameron Mackintosh presents Les Miserables - The Staged Concert, an intimate concert staging of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's revolutionary novel of tragedy and loss opens for a limited season at the Gielgud. Michael Ball sings Javert opposite Alfie Boe and John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean, for three performances a week, with Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine and Matt Lucas as Thenardier.


Two Ladies

Nancy Harris's new play presents a fictitious account of the first ladies of France and America.

Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG

Tube: London Bridge Station


Dates: 14th September - 26th October 2019


Zoe Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitesic play Helene and Sophia, the Two Ladies of the title of Nancy Harris's new play, a fictitious account of the first ladies of France and America. The drama, directed by Nicholas Hytner at the Bridge Theatre, positions the women alone together in a side room as their husbands clash over an international crisis. Who can they trust? Each other? Or their husbands? The A-list cast makes this a hot ticket. Zoe Wanamaker, who was last on stage in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, is a well known actress, familiar from her stage, film and TV roles which include My Family. Equally talented, Croatian born Zrinka Cvitesic won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Once.


Ian McKellen On Stage

The legendary actor comes to the West End following a sold-out tour of over 80 venues across the UK.

Harold Pinter Theatre, 6 Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station


Dates: 20th September 2019 to 5th January 2020


Most people think about putting their feet up at the age of 80 but Ian McKellen, star of stage and legend on screen, celebrated his 80th birthday with an 80-date, 80-venue country wide tour. In London, alone, he appeared on 20 dates at theatres and arts centres across the city. Now, he's returning with 80 more shows, all at London's Harold Pinter Theatre. What's more, as with all the previous shows, all the profits will be donated to theatre charities. His impromptu solo show last year - now the stuff of legend - treated theatre goers to "a bit of Gandalf and a couple of Shakespeare speeches" when injury prevented him from performing King Lear. For this special 80th birthday tour you can expect more of the same as well as convivial conversation, anecdotes and a reflection on his life. For each performance, 80 tickets priced at just £10 are available.


A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner are two parents struggling to care for their disabled daughter.

Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 21st September to 30th November 2019


Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner (best known for her role as the mother in Outnumbered) star in Peter Nichols' bittersweet comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Inspired by Nichols' own experience of bringing up his disabled daughter in the 1960s, Joe Egg was one of the ground-breaking plays of its generation. It addresses, with heart breaking black humour, the issues faced by two parents, Bri and Sheila, struggling to care for their disabled 10-year old daughter Josephine. Nicknaming her 'Joe Egg', they lose themselves in fantasy games to help cope with the struggle of their daily reality. The play is, according to Michael Billington, reviewing it for The Guardian back in 2001, "a study in female resilience and the power of the life force". Simon Evans, who directed Killer Joe starred Orlando Bloom here at Trafalgar Studios, directs.


The Man in the White Suit

Stephen Mangan, Kara Tointon and Sue Johnston star in the classic Ealing Studios comedy.

Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 26th September 2019 to 11th January 2020


Stephen Mangan, Kara Tointon and Sue Johnston star in Sean Foley's hotly anticipated stage adaptation of the "highly sophisticated farce" (The Guardian), classic Ealing Studios comedy, The Man in the White Suit. The 1951 Ealing Studios comedy film, which starred Alec Guinness, is remade for the Wyndham's Theatre stage in this world premiere. Mild mannered chemist Sidney Stratton develops a fabric that never gets dirty and never wears out. The luminous looking suit might make you like a knight in shining armour but rag trade industry bosses soon realise it would mean the death of the entire industry. The trade unions, too, can see impending unemployment for their members. Foley reunites with Stephen Mangan (together they created the Olivier Award winning comedy Jeeves and Wooster) and also teams up once again with Michael Taylor with whom he created The Ladykillers.


Ghost Stories

Not recommended for those with a nervous disposition, a tale or two of the paranormal.

Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London, WC2H 9ND

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Covent Garden Station, Tottenham Court Road Station


Dates: 3rd October 2019 to 4th January 2020


Having premiered at Lyric Hammersmith back in 2010, Ghost Stories has since become a global phenomenon, and after returning to Hammersmith earlier in the year, it's set to transfer to the West End with a limited run at The Ambassadors Theatre. Not recommended for those with a nervous disposition, the show is a series of short stories strung together by academic presenter, Professor Philip Goodman (played by Andy Nyman, co-creator of Derren Brown's stage and TV shows), and there are plenty of moments when you'll want to hide behind the sofa. Written and directed by Nyman and the League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson, it is billed as a selection of stories whose creepy tales "will bleed off the stage and into your dreams". That's not quite the case - there's enough humour to soften the truly scary stuff - but it certainly gives you plenty of paranormal things to think (and shriek) about. You may notice your step quicken on the walk home after dark. Not suitable for anyone aged 15 and below, or those of a nervous disposition.



Claire Foy and Matt Smith are a young couple wrestling with modern-day dilemmas.

Old Vic Theatre, 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

Tube: Waterloo Station , Southwark Station, Lambeth North Station


Dates: 14th October to 9th November 2019


The Crown's leading royal couple, Claire Foy and Matt Smith, star in Duncan Macmillan's story about a couple who want to try for a child for the right reasons, but in a time of political unrest, overpopulation and a change in the weather, what are the right reasons? After leaving their roles as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Netflix's hit royal drama, the pair reunite on stage for this two-hander, directed by the Old Vic's artistic director Matthew Warchus.


Baby Reindeer

Richard Gadd's story starts with a man offering a free cup of tea to a stranger.

Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, London, W12 8LJ

Tube: Shepherd's Bush Market Station (Hammersmith and City Line) , Goldhawk Road Station, Shepherd's Bush Station (Central)


Dates: 9th October to 9th November 2019


Fresh from a sell-out critically acclaimed world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival, where the production was awarded a Fringe First, Baby Reindeer comes to the Bush Theatre this autumn. The play from Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd, who performed his hit show Monkey See, Monkey Do while running on a treadmill, tells the story of a man who offers a free cup of tea to a stranger in what appears to be a trivial interaction. However, the consequences are far greater than he ever thought. Creating "psychological uncertainty", the clever way in which the play is pieced together makes you constantly "re-evaluate your perspective on the story", writes Lyn Gardner on Stagedoor. Olivier Award-winner Jon Brittain, who worked on Rotterdam, directs.



David Greig adapts the cult science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem for the stage.

Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, 2 King Street, London, W6 0QA

Tube: Hammersmith Station


Dates: 10th October to 2nd November 2019


As part of Rachel O'Riordan's first season as Artistic Director, the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre stages Solaris, a new play by David Greig adapted from the cult science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem. Set on a space station orbiting Solaris, the play focuses on three scientists who have made contact with a new planet but strange things are starting to arise - could it be that the planet is, in fact, studying them? After being sent from Earth to investigate reports of abnormal activity on board, Kris Kelvin arrives to discover one dead crew member and two who are seeing things that they cannot explain. This psychological thriller questions who we are when we're forced to confront our deepest fears.



Brian Friel's modern classic returns to the National following five star reviews.

National Theatre: Olivier Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 15th October to 18th December 2019


Following a sold-out run last year, Brian Friel's modern classic, Translations, returns to the National Theatre. Ciaran Hinds once again leads a strong cast in this powerful account of nationhood, which sees the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland play out in one quiet community. Owen, the prodigal son, returns to rural Donegal from Dublin, working as translator for the British army and, "short-sightedly erasing his own country" (Independent). Tasked with creating a map of the area, the army officers set about replacing the Gaelic names with English ones...


Mary Poppins

Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp star in Cameron Mackintosh's musical theatre version of the hit film.

Prince Edward Theatre, 28 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4HS

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Tottenham Court Road Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 23rd October 2019 to 29th March 2020


Zizi Strallen stars as the practically perfect Mary Poppins in Cameron Mackintosh's musical production which returns to its original West End home at the Prince Edward Theatre from 23rd October 2019. The actress first caught the director's attention in Matthew Bourne's The Car Man. No stranger to Mary Poppins, Zizi took the title role in a touring version of the show in 2015. Opposite Strallen is Charlie Stemp as Bert, who became an overnight star almost straight from drama school in Half a Sixpence, playing opposite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly on Broadway. Petula Clark, starring as the Bird Woman, and Joseph Millson as George Banks make a strong cast. So come on everybody, Step in Time and make your way to this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious show.


Ghost Quartet

This intoxicating musical of love, loss and spirits is the first show at the brand new Boulevard Theatre.

Boulevard Theatre, Walker's Court, London, W1F 0BS

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station


Dates: 24th October 2019 to 4th January 2020


The brand new Boulevard Theatre in Soho opens to the public for the first time on 24th October with Ghost Quartet, an intoxicating musical of love, loss and spirits - of both the spectral and alcoholic kind. Bill Buckhurst reunites the creative team behind his sell-out production of Sweeney Todd, which transferred from a pie shop in Tooting, to the West End, and eventually to a sell-out New York run. Wildly inventive, this haunting song cycle is a story about stories themselves; how we tell them, how we hear them and how they evolve. As well as the drama on the main stage, London's newest theatre is the place to go for late-night and Sunday performances of cabaret, improv, jazz, comedy, classical music and poetry.


On Bear Ridge

Hinterland's Ed Thomas presents a semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind.

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 24th October to 23rd November 2019


Theatre writer and co-creator of TV's Hinterland, Ed Thomas, presents his new production, On Bear Ridge, starring Rhys Ifans, at the Royal Court Theatre. Co-directed by Thomas and Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, the play is a semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind and the unreliable memories we hold onto. Despite customers no longer visiting John Daniel and Noni's country store, which sits in a quiet, long forgotten village, they remain, defiantly drinking whisky and remembering the good times. But what will happen when a dark figure starts making its way towards them? Ifans takes the role of John Daniel while Rakie Ayola - best known as Kyla Tyson in BBC's Holby City - plays Noni. Further cast members include Jason Hughes of ITV's Marcella and Sion Daniel Young, known for his leading roles in War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


Dear Evan Hansen

The Tony Award-winning musical about a teenage outcast comes to London.

Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4AU

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 29th October 2019 to 7th March 2020


Michael Greif directs the Tony Award-winning musical about a teenage outcast who becomes a focal point for a community's grief under false pretences. With music by Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - the Academy Award-winning composers of La La Land and The Greatest Showman - the show tells of a lonely teenager who inadvertently becomes a social media sensation. Young actor Ben Platt became a big hit star playing the lead role in the New York version of "this gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical" (New York Times). The West End run reunites the original Broadway creative team who won six Tony awards and the 2018 Grammy award for Best Musical Theatre Album.


Touching The Void

Two young climbers struggle for survival and face some uncomfortable choices.

Duke of York's Theatre, St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4BG

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Charing Cross Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 9th November 2019 to 29th February 2020


The true story of two young climbers who get into trouble has already been told in a BAFTA-winning film and now it comes to the stage via Tom Morris' well received production. The first theatre version of Touching the Void, adapted by The Lyceum's David Greig from Joe Simpson's award-winning memoir, charts the extraordinary struggle for survival when Simpson breaks his leg in a fall, leaving his climbing partner, Simon Yates, facing the agonising decision of whether to save himself and cut the rope that binds them. Giving the play five stars in The Guardian for its run at the Bristol Old Vic, Mark Lawson writes, "David Greig finds humour amid the horror" in this staging, "creating such tension and jeopardy that theatregoers must remember to breathe".


My Brilliant Friend

Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack star in this "intimate study of female friendship" - The Guardian.

National Theatre, South Bank, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station , Waterloo Station


Dates: 12th November 2019 to 18th January 2020


April De Angelis' adaptation of Elena Ferrante's bestselling novel is re-worked for the Olivier Theatre following a sell-out run at the Rose Theatre Kingston with the entire original cast, including Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack, returning. The five-and-a-half-hour production spans 50 years and "combines an intimate study of female friendship with a panoramic picture of postwar Italy" (The Guardian). My Brilliant Friend is "a breathless, breathtaking love story" between two young women, the studious Elena and impulsive Lila. The two leads "are beyond praise" (The Guardian) with Cusack using her "natural likeability and vulnerability" (The Stage) as Lenu while McCormack's inner fury within Lila makes her "a fantastically complex anti-hero".


Cyrano De Bergerac

James McAvoy stars in Martin Crimp's adaptation of Edmond Rostand's 1897 comedy.

Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE

Tube: Embankment Underground Station , Charing Cross Station


Dates: 27th November 2019 to 29th February 2020


James McAvoy returns to the West End starring as the soldier and poet with a nose as huge as his heart, Cyrano de Bergerac. With Jamie Lloyd directing Martin Crimp's adaptation of Edmond Rostand's 1897 comedy, the classic story of love and the distraction of superficial appearances is in good hands. Our hero falls under the spell of the beautiful Roxanne but fears his large nose will stymie any attempts to woo her. Will a society engulfed by narcissism get the better of De Bergerac? Or can his mastery of language win Roxane's heart? The inventive adaptation is the opening production in a new season by The Jamie Lloyd Company at the Playhouse Theatre which runs from November 2019 until August 2020.


A Taste Of Honey

Shelagh Delaney's taboo-breaking play of the 1950s opens at Richmond Theatre and stars Jodie Prenger.

Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, South Bank, London, SW1A 2DY

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 5th December 2019 to 29th February 2020


Shelagh Delaney's taboo-breaking play of the 1950s, A Taste of Honey, comes to Trafalgar Studios from December 2019 as the National Theatre production tours the UK. Covering race, class, gender and sexual orientation, it was a great defining and taboo-breaking play of the 1950s. Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was just nineteen, it tells the story of seventeen-year-old Jo, who, after her mother runs off with a young lover, becomes impregnated by a black sailor. Once the sailor returns to sea, Jo finds lodgings which Geoff, a homosexual who takes the role of surrogate father. The 'kitchen sink' play was made into an award-winning film in 1961 and provided inspiration for "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" by The Smiths. This National Theatre production will see Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles) direct and Jodie Prenger (Oliver!, Abigail's Party) take the role of Helen.

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