eady, set… get booking! These are our picks for the best shows to see this season.
In what has unexpectedly become the year’s most controversial show before it even opens, playwright Charlie Josephine explores the story of Joan of Arc through a non-binary lens. Ilinca Radulian directs.
Max Webster directs this new adaptation of Sophocles’s Theban tragedy by Inua Ellams. If it’s anything like as thrilling a retelling as his version of Three Sisters at the National Theatre, we’re in for a treat.
Rising star Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s new play, directed by Monique Touko, is about a woman who asks a friend to help her end her life, but who is taken in by the family, who are determined to save her. That might not be as easy as they think.
Almeida, Sept 3 to Oct 1
The Cherry Orchard
A new adaptation of Chekhov’s final play by Vinay Patel (Murdered by My Father, Doctor Who), set on… a spaceship. And why not. James Macdonald direct.
Yard Theatre, Sept 5 to Oct 22
Helen Hunt stars in the European premiere of Jonathan Spector’s satire about the quest for consensus, set against the backdrop of a mumps outbreak at a progressive school in 2017 – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?
Old Vic, Sept 6 to Oct 31
Age is a feeling
One of the smash hits of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival, Haley McGee’s tear-jerking, beautiful solo show aims to paint a picture of a life, little more, but there’s so much to love within it. A real gem.
Soho Theatre, Sept 6-24
Walking with Ghosts
Hollywood stalwart Gabriel Byrne presents a meditative, autobiographical solo show – expect plenty of great tinseltown stories.
Apollo Theatre, Sept 6-17; buy tickets here
Who Killed My Father
Ivo van Hove (View from a Bridge, Lazarus) returns to London with this UK premiere of his one-man adaptation of Edouard Louis’s blistering, brutal bestselling book, performed by Hans Kesting.
Young Vic, Sept 7-24
The Snail House
The eminent director Richard Eyre finally fulfils his early promise as an original playwright (he also directs) about the goings-on at a government medical adviser’s birthday party. Sounds topical.
Hampstead Theatre, Sept 8 to Oct 15
The Two Popes
Anton Lesser and Nicholas Woodeson star in the papal roles taken on film by Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins on film, in Anthony (Bohemian Rhapsody) McCarten’s Vatican drama. James Dacre directs.
Rose Theatre, Sept 9-24; buy tickets here
The P Word
Waleed Akhtar’s play tells the tale of two gay Pakistanis in London, one who has fled homophobic persecution at home in Pakistan, one hurt by the reality of being a brown gay man in Britain.
Bush Theatre, Sept 9 to Oct 22
Lydnsey Turner directs The Crown’s Erin Doherty and Brendan Cowell (Yerma) in Arthur Miller’s explosive play about the devastating dangers of groupthink. Sounds… apt.
National Theatre, Sept 14 to Nov 5
Korean London writer Kyo Choi tackles the subject of the “comfort women” of WWII, from Korea and elsewhere, and the subsequent cover up of their exploitation. A co-production with New Earth and The North Wall.
Arcola Theatre, Sept 15 to Oct 8
Jews. In Their Own Words
Verbatim work about antisemitism in Britain by journalist Jonathan Freedland from an idea by Tracy Ann Oberman. Co-directed by Vicky Featherstone and Audrey Sheffield.
Royal Court, Sept 19 to Oct 22
Blues for an Alabama Sky
Bush Theatre artistic director Lynette Linton makes her NT debut with Pearl Cleage’s play, set in 1930 during the Harlem Renaissance, and featuring the wonderful Ronke Adekoluejo and Giles Terrera
National Theatre, from Sept 20 to Nov 5
Ben Elton’s Shakespeare sitcom, based on the hit TV show and starring David Mitchell as the neurotic playwright, returns to the West End at last after being curtailed by Covid.
Apollo Theatre, Sept 23 to Dec 3
A new political thriller written by Rona Munro, which follows Mary Queen of Scots’ adviser James Melville in his quest to find out the truth at a time of political turmoil. Directed by Roxana Silbert.
Hampstead Theatre, Sept 23 to Oct 29
The Band’s Visit
The Donmar’s artistic director Michael Longhurst heads this European premiere of the Tony and Grammy-winning musical by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses, about a group of Israeli musicians who visit a small Egyptian town.
Donmar Warehouse, Sept 24 to Dec 3
John Gabriel Borkman
Simon Russell Beale, Lia Williams and the mighty Clare Higgins star in a new version of Ibsen’s play by Lucinda Coxon directed by – can you guess? Yes, it’s the Bridge’s proprietor, Nicholas Hytner.
Bridge Theatre, Sept 24 to Nov 26; buy tickets here
Iphigenia in Splott
Sophie Melville is a gobby, flaming ball of rage in this extraordinary one-woman show by Gary Owen based on the sacrifice by men of a helpless girl. Rachel O’Riordan directs this returning production with aplomb.
Lyric Hammersmith, Sept 26 to Oct 22; buy tickets here
This new play by Rabiah Hussain is about the Downing Street press office dealing with fallout from a PM’s islamophobic statement on live TV. Directed by Nimmo Ismail.
Royal Court, Sept 28 to Nov 5
Robert Icke’s provocative play, very loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1912 work Professor Bernhardi, finally makes its transition from the Almeida, with its star Juliet Stevenson still, happily, in post.
Duke of York’s, Sept 29 to Dec 11; buy tickets here
A new version of Hedda Gabler by Roy Williams, this tells the story through a modern lens of racial identity, class divisions and addiction. Directed by Ola Ince.
Lyric Hammersmith, Sept 29 to Oct 29
The Boy With Two Hearts
This adaptation of Hamed and Hessam Amiri’s book on real life Afghan experience (including of the NHS) by Phil Porter is directed by Amit Sharma and features a cast of Afghan and Iranian performers.
National Theatre, Oct 1 to Nov 12
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Carrie Hope Fletcher (star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella) stars as Grusha in Brecht’s play, adapted by Steve Waters, with songs by Michael Henry. The Rose’s Christopher Haydon directs.
Rose Theatre, Oct 1-22; buy tickets here
David Tennant returns to the West End in this play set ahead of the Second World War about a ‘good’ man who becomes a Nazi even though his best friend, played by Elliot Levy, is Jewish. Directed by Dominic Cooke.
Harold Pinter Theatre, Oct 6 to Dec 2
My Neighbour Totoro
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s delightful coming-of-age story, exploring the fantasy world of childhood and the power of imagination.
Barbican Theatre, Oct 8 to Jan 21; buy tickets here
Something in the Air
Peter Gill – once described as an unsung hero of British theatre – writes, and co-directs, this story of a romance between two elderly men, remembering their youth in the 1960s.
Jermyn Street Theatre, Oct 13 to Nov 12
Reasons you Should(n’t) Love Me
Following its acclaimed run in 2021, Amy Trigg’s solo show returns following a UK tour. The Evening Standard’s critic called this joint winner of the Women’s Prize for Playwrighting in 2020 a “knock-out”.
Kiln Theatre, Nov 5-26
The debut play by Jasmine Naziha Jones is a coming-of-age story about a young British Iraqi girl realising her identity during the Gulf War in 1991, directed by Mili Bhatia.
Royal Court, Nov 18 to Dec 17
Clint Dyer directs Giles Terera, Olivier award winner for Hamilton, in the title role in what has been billed as an “extraordinary new vision” for one of Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedies.
National Theatre, Nov 23 to Jan 2
A new musical that tells the story of Mandela the man and the movement. Made in partnership with the great freedom fighter’s family, this tale of the sacrifice, determination and hope will be infused with the rhythms and spirit of South Africa.
Young Vic, Nov 28 to Feb 4
Newsies: The Musical
Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein’s Broadway musical about teenage newspaper sellers at the turn of the 20th century, who dream of a better life, finally makes it to London.
Troubadour Wembley Park, from Nov 29
Cold Feet’s Fay Ripley stars as a working-class Walthamstow restaurateur trying to make a success of the business without losing herself in the process, in April de Angelis’s new comedy, directed by Indhu Rubashingham,
National Theatre, Nov 30 to Jan 21
Alice’s Adventures Underground
November marks the return of the immersive show that sends audiences down the rabbit hole and gives them the chance to get up close and personal with the Mad Hatter and friends.
Labyrinth, from Nov 3; buy tickets here