A stunning Swan Song: King Lear, Duke of York's Theatre ★★★★★
If you only see one Shakespeare, make it this: the almighty Ian McKellen plays King Lear in Jonathan Munby's triumphant production
Perfect housewife: Home, I'm Darling, National Theatre ★★★★★
Both fabulously funny and a revealing dissection of womanhood, Home, I'm Darling scrutinises the fabricated image of domestic goddesses from the 1950s, and what it means to be female today post the #MeToo movement.
Brutally brilliant: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noel Coward Theatre ★★★★★
Poldark's Aidan Turner makes his West End debut as a crazed, cat-loving terrorist in Michael Grandage's revival of The Lieutenant Of Inishmore.
Family thrills: A Monster Calls, The Old Vic ★★★★★
Director Sally Cookson's stage adaptation of Patrick Ness's novel about a teenager and a monster is an exquisite, brave and deft exploration of grief that makes for a powerful statement for younger audiences.
Hard-hitting tragedy: Othello, Shakespeare's Globe ★★★★★
Mark Rylance returns to the Globe as the villainous Iago in wife Claire van Kampen's excellent production.
A trivial comedy for serious people: The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre ★★★★★
Oscar Wilde's best-known play is revived in the final chapter of Dominic Dromgoole's year-long season, with an abundance of charm, wit, and satire.
State-of-the-nation: Allelujah!, The Bridge Theatre ★★★★★
Alan Bennett returns after a five-year hiatus from the stage, alongside long-standing creative partner, Nicholas Hytner, with a relevant, sharp-witted, and at times surreal hospital drama, set in a geriatric ward.
Resplendent revival: The King and I, Palladium Theatre ★★★★★
This resplendent revival of The King and I captures all the charm and escapist glamour of Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic 1951 musical, with enough intelligence to reconcile the problematic imperialist undertones.
The unmissable: Fun Home, Young Vic Theatre ★★★★★
A comic tragedy: the musical theatre adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s (the Bechdel test - named after her - aims to highlight gender inequality in the arts) graphic novel Fun Home is a vital, life-affirming show that's not to be missed.
Epic: Imperium, Gielgud Theatre ★★★★★
Brace yourself for a seven-hour epic as the RSC's celebrated two-part Cicero thriller transfers to London after sell-out success in Stratford.
Killer plant: Little Shop of Horrors, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre ★★★★★
Drag queen Vicky Vox is a killer plant to root for as Little Shop of Horrors is revived 'Somewhere that's Green' this summer.
Wild house party: Julie, National Theatre ★★★★★
Vanessa Kirby plays wild party girl in this highly anticipated contemporary re-imagining of Miss Julie.
D-Day Drama: Pressure, Ambassadors Theatre ★★★★★
David Haig's tribute to the meteorologists of WWII has transferred to the West End. A nostalgic play which examines an important part of history.
Screen meets stage: Brief Encounter, Empire Cinema ★★★★★
A cinematic throwback repackaged: Kneehigh Theatre's celebrated stage version of Brief Encounter comes to life at the Empire Cinema.
The London transfer of Lin-Manuel Miranda's magnificent hip-hop music is every bit as brilliant as we had hoped. Make it your mission to get tickets.
Courtroom drama: Witness for the Prosecution, London County Hall ★★★★★
You are invited into an actual courtroom to witness the dramas of a trial murder trial as they unfold in a new site-specific production of Agatha Christie's classic crime story.
Party with Gatsby: The Great Gatsby immersive theatre ★★★★★
The roaring twenties come to life with sparkle, drama and a large yet intimate party in this immersive production of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
Pure magic: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre ★★★★★
Whether or not you approve of the script (no spoilers here) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is every bit as magical as we'd hoped on stage. The sheer theatrical spectacle is enough to make you wonder if maybe, just maybe, there might be some wizards involved. Performances and staging are of the superlative quality you'd expect and the atmosphere as the story unfolds is electric. Unfortunately, tickets are about as elusive as a Hogwarts letter.
Delightful disaster: The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre ★★★★★
Slapstick silliness reigns supreme in this behind-the-scene play about an ill-fated production. Even those who are fearful of farce will find themselves won over by the infectious comic talents of Mischief Theatre Company.
And Mischief Theatre's follow up show, A Comedy About A Bank Robbery which is now running at the Criterion Theatre, is more of the same irresistible silliness. It would be a crime to miss it.
Best foot forward: Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre ★★★★★
Sequins, stilettos and a sexy songbook: Kinky Boots the musical brings all the sass and spirit of the hit film to the stage. We defy even the dourest of audience members to leave without wanting to don his dancing shoes.
Mini miracle: Matilda, Cambridge Theatre ★★★★★
Roald Dahl’s story of a child genius with magic powers who brings anarchy then justice upon her little world is, it turns out, perfectly adapted for the stage. This production, underpinned by the likes of Tim Minchin and playwright Dennis Kelly, has raked in the awards, from a few Tonys in its New York run to a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most Olivier Award wins (seven in 2012).
|What||London Theatre Guide: best plays on now in London, 2018|