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London Theatre Guide: Must See Shows 2023

London Theatre Guide: Must See Shows 2023

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Looking to head to the theatre? Discover the best London theatre set to hit the stage in 2023 and beyond. 

Whether you enjoy dazzling performances from household names, cheesy musical numbers, or gritty indie plays, London’s West End and off West End stages are always abuzz with brilliant productions. 

Not sure what you should be booking tickets for? We’ve picked the best shows currently in the diary for London in 2023 – and some future ones to add to your radar. You’re welcome.

Must See London Theatre Shows 2023



11th February – 22nd April 2023

The first of a couple Euripedes plays in our guide comes in the form of Medea, the tale of a woman who’s abandoned by her husband and driven to despair, eventually seeking revenge for his leaving her in the most brutal way. We’ll give you a clue. It involves her children. 

Sophie Okonedo takes the lead with Ben Daniels playing Jason, Medea’s husband in a staging lifted from Robinson Jeffers’ 1946 adaptation. 

It’s not for nothing that this several thousand year old play is still getting stagings. And with a cast like that it’s going to be special. 

Book tickets here

Shirley Valentine 

Duke of York’s Theatre 

17th February – 3rd June

Willy Russell’s classic about a bored housewife who drops everything to run away on holiday in Greece and rediscover herself brings Sheridan Smith back to the stage at long last. 

Three-time Olivier Award nominated Matthew Dunster is directing the play that takes the form of a monologue from its star and namesake Shirley Valentine. If you need a laugh (or some inspiration on how to burst out of a dreary rut) a trip to see this play will surely do the job. 

It’s a life-affirming story of the chance to dream, and a daring opportunity for a woman forced into housewifery to break free of her constraints. 

Book tickets here

Best of Enemies 

Noël Coward Theatre 

Until the 18th of February 2023

After sell-out shows at the Young Vic, Best of Enemies, a politically-charged play, is returning to London via the Noël Coward Theatre. 

The scene: it’s 1968 and America is divided. Conservative William F. Buckly (David Harewood) faces up against the liberal Gore Vidal (Zachary Quinto), as America is about to choose their next president.  

What ensues is as these two hurl insults at each other on a new format of political discussion, the TV debate, revolutionises politics. 

The play captures it all. It’s tense. It’s heated. It’s cleaning up awards. You’ve got a few days left to catch it.

Book your tickets here


Garrick Theatre

25th of November – 25th February

One of the best London shows of the year, Neil Bartletts’s stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s classic features up-and-coming non-binary star of The Crown Emma Corrin.

If you know the novel you’ll see why that’s a bit of a genius casting, not least for Corrin’s superb skills as an actor. 

The book follows the life of an immortal being named Orlando, born male, but able to change genders. 

Young (and then old) Orlando goes on for 300 years swapping genders and living it up. What a life!

Book your tickets here

Ghost Story 2:22

Criterion Theatre

Until the 8th of March 2023

Back in the West End due to its near-hysteric popularity, if you didn’t see Ghost Story 2:22 the first time round you shouldn’t miss it now. 

After moving into a new house, Jenny comes to think it’s haunted. Her husband and the evening’s dinner guests think otherwise. 

As the play unfolds we get a look at what drives people’s beliefs in the supernatural, and a range of answers to the question: do you believe in Ghosts?

The atmosphere is tense, and something unsettling is afoot. Ultimately, the answer will be revealed at 2:22. 

Book your tickets here

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

Harold Pinter Theatre

Until 18th March 2023

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons 

Lemons is a tender rom-com taking the stage at the Harold Pinter Theatre follows the blossoming but unlikely romance of a young couple. They’re getting along swimmingly when they have the ability to speak taken away from them. 

How do you communicate with someone you’re falling in love with without words? Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots, As You Like It) is on direction for this sweet, easy-to-watch staging of a play from Sam Steiner (Fingernails, You Stupid Darkness!). 

Book tickets here

A Little Life

Harold Pinter Theatre

From the 25th of March – 18th of June

The Booker Prize shortlisted novel A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is so long and complicated we’re not surprised that it’s put a few people off reading it.

Perhaps then an adaptation for the stage is a more manageable way of hearing a story that is also arguably worth all the trouble reading it presents. Perhaps. 

This adaptation by Ivo van Hove – a Belgian legend of the contemporary stage – pulls together a star-studded cast to tell the story of four broke, vagabond classmates as they move to New York in search of a better life. 

Beware the 3 and a half hour run time. 

Book tickets here

Standing at the Sky’s Edge

National Theatre

Until 25th March 

The long-awaited London staging of this musical number from Richard Hawley and Chris Bush that took the north by storm back in 2019 is finally happening. 

Standing at the Sky’s Edge follows life on a Sheffield housing estate through the eyes of several generations of the people that live there. Some people want to escape to the big city, others want to make the estate home . 

The six decades of life that follow make up a heartwarming play that looks at themes of community, and asks the question: what makes a home?

Book tickets here

Operation Mincemeat

The Fortune Theatre

29th March – 8th July 

Making its West End debut is this small-but-mighty satirical musical about a real-life operation to throw the Germans off the scent of the Allies’ plans to invade Europe. It’s also been made into a feature length film with Colin Firth. 

Though the real life subject matter is little to laugh about, this staging is full of comic relief and mickey-taking at the tropes of the era. This is all made even more hilarious when you realise the near-ridiculous plan depicted in the play is actually the way Operation Mincemeat went down. 

We’re excited for this one, even though it signals goodbye for one of London’s longest running shows – Woman in Black

Book tickets here

Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead

Barbican Centre 

From 15th March – 3rd April 

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Nobel Prize winning author Olga Tokarczuk, the play follows a lonely woman in a Polish border-town. Her sleepy hamlet becomes a hotbed for murder and intrigue when dead bodies mysteriously start appearing.

Our protagonist thinks she knows what’s going on and sets out to confirm her suspicions.

The show is the first stage return of the Complicite Theatre Company after their smash hit The Encounter – which we loved – and naturally we’re all pretty excited about that. 

Book tickets here


National Theatre

Until 8th April 2023

This Greek myth getting a staging at the national theatre has been directed by some of the most iconic names in theatre. Euripides, Seneca and Racine have all had a shot at putting Phaedra on the stage. 

Following in their lofty footsteps is Australian film and theatre director Simon Stone with his National Theatre debut. Janet McTeer plays the lead in this tragedy about a Cretian queen who begins to lust after her stepson, and in doing so incurs the wrath of the gods. 

Book tickets here

Titus Andronicus 

Shakespeare’s Globe 

​​12th February – 15th April 2023

The bard’s nearest play to what would nowadays be called a slasher is getting a staging at the Globe Theatre under the direction of Jude Christian. 

Telling the story of Roman General Titus Andronicus who returns from a ten-year long campaign against the Goths (tribe, not subculture of black-clad rockers) with their queen and her sons as captive and promptly begins to take revenge on a nation that betrayed him.

The play is a brutal look at the dark edges of man’s inhumanity to man. 

Book tickets here


Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

29th November – 31st December 2022


Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award nominee Matt Cole, Newsies is coming to the UK for the very first time at the very end of 2022. 

The musical follows a group of New York newspaper salesmen who go on strike to fight back against oppression. 

Why should you be excited? 

Well, the original production of Newsies opened on Broadway in 2012 and was only scheduled for 100 performances – though it soon went on to play more than 1,000.

Oh, and win two Tony Awards. No biggie, then. 

Book your tickets here.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane


24th January – 15th April 2023

Based on the incredible book by Neil Gaiman, (the genius behind Coraline and The Sandman), The Ocean at the End of The Lane is returning to London very briefly in early 2023. 

It sold out as a National Theatre Production, and it’s now bouncing around theatres across the city for 3-4 day stints. 

The story is one filled with fantasy and myth as a man returns to his childhood home and is transported back to his 12th birthday. 

He is then plunged into a fantastical world, where friendship and teamwork are key to overcoming the ancient forces wreaking havoc.

The cast is yet to be announced, but the production looks set to be an explosive tale that both kids and adults will love alike.

Book your tickets here

The Unfriend 

Criterion Theatre

15th January – 16th of April

Stephen Moffat (you saw him in Dr. Who and Sherlock) makes his stage debut in the Unfriend early next year. 

This deeply dark satire about British manners revolves around a middle class family that unwittingly takes in a Trump-loving American as a house guest. 

As you can imagine, hilarity ensues. 

But what unfolds is a close look at the dangers of Britain’s obsession with appearances, and the lengths we’ll go to in order to just appear nice. 

Book your tickets here

The Lehman Trilogy 

National Theatre

Until the 20th of May 

Film director Sam Mendes takes another shot at the world of theatre with the return of hyper-popular The Lehman Trilogy after it took Broadway by storm in 2022. 

The play follows the lives and stories of three Jewish immigrants to the US that would change the way the country, and arguably the world, runs. 

The Lehman brothers’ empire is then given a full treatment on stage in this play that holds the lens up to the firm that is largely responsible for the largest financial crash in history. 

Book tickets here

To Kill a Mockingbird

Gielgud Theatre

Until November 2022

Located on the iconic Shaftesbury Avenue, the Gielgud Theatre is home to The National Theatre’s Production of To Kill a Mockingbird until November 2022. 

Aaron Sorkin has moulded the story into dazzling production for the stage – and it’s every bit as heartbreaking as the famous book by Harper Lee.

Rafe Spall is taking on one of the leading roles as Atticus Finch, a lawyer who’s working on a racially motivated case involving a black man falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman. 

The story follows Atticus’ children Jem and Scout as they watch their father defend the innocent man.

Book your tickets here

Peaky Blinders: The Rise

The Camden Garrison

Until the 12th of February 2023 

Peaky Blinders The Rise

More interactive performance than classic in-your-seat-show, Peaky Blinders: The Rise puts you right in the middle of intrigue surrounding Birmingham’s most dapper gang. 

In this one the driver’s seat is all yours. You’ll walk the performance as it happens around you and interact with the actors (who we’re assuming are experts at improv).

Play your cards right and Tommy might even enlist you into the gang, by order of the Peaky Blinders…. 

Book your tickets here

August in England 

Bush Theatre

Until the 10th of June 2023

August Henderson is a charming, flawed and all round decent guy of Jamaican origin who has built himself a life in West Bromwich. 

His wife-to-be, his three kids, the fruit and veg shop he part owns, it’s all on the line when he faces deportation to a country he can barely remember. 

This tale of the evils of the windrush scandal is a good mix of touching and hilarious. 

Oh, and it’s also the playwriting debut of national treasure Lenny Henry. He wrote it himself, and he’s performing it himself – a one man show. Bold. 

Book your tickets here.

The Pillowman

Duke of York’s Theatre

10th June – 2nd September 2023

The Pillowman is an old London favourite that originally took to the National Theatre with David Tennent at its casting helm, and the hearts of London’s theatre goers with it. 

It’s since been stateside with Jeff Goldblum acting a major role, and has now made its way back to London – this time to the West End. 

None other than Lily Allen will be starring in this play about a writer in an authoritarian state who is brought under suspicion when a slew of nasty murders begin to occur – and they are all too similar to the ones in her stories. 

Book tickets here


Victoria Palace

Until March 2023 

Widely agreed to be one of the best musicals in London. Hamilton came from Broadway and took the West End by storm. 

Such a storm in fact, that they decided to extend it until March. 

The big-hitter retells the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton through rap, R&B, jazz, and blues.

We’re pretty into Hamilton’s story-of-then, music-of-now vibe. And after all, sell out seats don’t lie. 

Book your tickets here.

Les Misérables

Sondheim Theatre


If you’re visiting London for the very first time and watching a West End musical is high on your bucket list (as it should be), there’s simply none better than the classic Les Mis

Not only is it one of the best musicals in London 2022, but of all time.

Located on Shaftesbury Avenue,  the Sondheim Theatre is named after the late king of musicals, Stephen Sondheim.  

It will be instantly recognisable thanks to the huge Les Mis posters that flank the outside of the building. 

Buckle up: Cameron Mackintosh’s production will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions as the story of the French Revolution plays out in front of you. 

Not to mention an actual barricade is built before your eyes on stage in the lead up to an explosive finale.

Book your tickets here.

How to Buy London Theatre Tickets 

Hit those links, but there are also plenty of online sites selling official London Theatre Tickets, though these are the ones we recommend:

Practical Tips for Seeing the Best London Theatre 

  • For last minute tickets, heading to TKTS booth on Leicester Square could save you a pretty penny – the booth sells any leftover tickets for up to half price for same-day shows. 
  • Alternatively, heading directly to the theatre’s box office for standby tickets is another option, though popular shows will sell out well in advance.
  • If you’re visiting the city to see a show, the majority of London theatres are in the capital’s West End area. Hotels in this area are often a little bit more expensive, but it can be worth the splurge if you’re attending an evening performance. Otherwise, staying in a hotel near a tube station on the Central or Piccadilly line is generally a good idea. 

London Theatre: Map 

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