Summer in London Theatre Guide

London Theatre in the summer is perfect for everyone, since there’s so much going on all the time. I’ve always loved theatre and I’ve been an avid theatre-goer since I was 10. Moving to London has only helped me cultivate that interest even more fully. This past year, my favorite London shows have been The Color Purple, Midsummer Night’s DreamCandide, Madame Butterfly, Kiss Me Figaro! and The Knight of the Burning Pestle. I’m up for any kind of theatre performance, and there’s so much in London. Here’s a guide to the best theatre in London during this summer. With so many options, you’re bound to find something you love on this list!

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

until September 13

Twelfth Night (until July 12), The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (until Aug 23), To Kill A Mockingbird (until Sep 13)

The Open Air Theatre is the perfect outing for the summer! Stroll around the park before the show, enjoy the outside air and the settle in for this award winning event.

Hidden Gem: A possibility for a picnic before the show, with plenty of restaurants and space to eat.

Nearest Tube: Baker Street, Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street

£15-£55. Varied running times.

http://openairtheatre.com/

1984

until August 23

Adapted from George Orwell’s 1984, this show incorporates the phenomenal plot with captivating visuals and performance to form a cohesive and dramatic 1984. It follows the story of Winston Smith, a worker for the Ministry of Truth in a dystopian London, and his quest to find the truth in a world of lies.

Hidden Gem: The audience is almost brought to insanity with Winston, through the use of neon lights and sporadic lighting.

Playhouse Theatre

Nearest Tube: Embankment, Charing Cross

£8-£32. Runs 1hr 41mins (no interval)

http://www.playhousetheatrelondon.com/1984-play/

The Pajama Game

until September 13

The Pajama Game centers around the labour troubles of the Sleep Tite Pajama factory where the demands for a seven and a half cents raise are ignored. This musical carries the audience through the woes and hopes of these workers, with a little romance in between.

Hidden Gem: Not only is it directed by Richard Eyre, who directed Guys and Dolls in its 1982 production, but has many parallels to the 50s musical.

Shaftesbury Theatre

Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn

£20-£65. Runs 2hrs 45mins.

http://www.shaftesbury-theatre.co.uk/The-Pajama-Game.html

Billy Elliot

through 2015

Since 2005, Billy Elliot has been one of the most popular musicals in the West End: an inspiring story about a young boy, Billy, through his journey to become a dancer in the midst of the adversity. It will grow on you through its beautiful story arc and musical genius from the very beginning.

Hidden Gem: What I like to call “Billy’s Angry Dance” at the end of Act One.

Victoria Palace Theatre

Nearest Tube: Victoria

£19.50-£95. Runs 3hrs.

http://billyelliotthemusical.com/

Matilda the Musical

through 2015

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, this musical is not just appealing to children. Audiences of all ages will find beauty in the story of Matilda, her imagination and her quest to change her life.

Hidden Gem: When the children in the audience laugh at something that you wouldn’t find inherently funny. Amazing.

Cambridge Theatre

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

£24-£85. Runs 2hrs 40mins.

http://uk.matildathemusical.com/

Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies

until October 4

Both adapted from books written by Hilary Matel, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies are the historical fiction storytellings of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to power, while Bring Up the Bodies centers around the Henry VIII’s quest to find a wife to produce a male heir.

Hidden Gem: Production values of costume and set, meticulously placed set, perfect atmosphere.

Aldwych Theatre

Nearest Tube: Temple

£10-£59. Both run 3hrs.

Antony and Cleopatra

until September 1

A summer in London would not be complete without a trip to the Globe. The Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, falls for Mark Antony, one of three rulers of the Roman Empire. The story follows the power struggles and love affair of Antony and Cleopatra.

Hidden Gem: Actors may improv when a plane flies overhead, or a cell phone goes off, and point out the anachronism about the situation.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Nearest Tube: Mansion House, Bank, London Bridge (no direct way to get here)

£15-£42, £5 standing tickets. Runs 3hrs.

http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/globe-theatre/antony-and-cleopatra-2014

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

until September 20

Based on the PJ Wodehouse’s novel, The Code of the Woosters, this comedy is one of London’s current favorites. This hilarious story follows Jeeves, Wooster and their shenanigans on a weekend away at Totleigh Towers.

Hidden Gem: A slow-motion disaster scene. Top notch.

Duke of York Theatre

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

£15-£80 Runs 2hrs 10min.

http://www.jeevesandwoosterplay.com/

Skylight

until August 23

Through the phenomenal performances of Matthew Beard, Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, Skylight enthralls its audience through the brief story of Kyra Hollis. Her former lover, Tom Sergeant, comes to visit unexpectedly, after not seeing Kyra for three years.

Hidden (or not so hidden) Gem: Carey Mulligan is perfect. (And if you wait by the Stage Door at the back of the theatre for long enough, perhaps you’ll be able to meet her and Bill Nighy).

Wyndham’s Theatre

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

£15-£62.50. Runs 2hrs 40mins.

Let the Right One In

until September 27

Adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Swedish horror novel and film, Let the Right One In is the love story of two children, one of whom is actually a vampire. This chilling story is perfect for those who want a scare.

Hidden Gem: Many gory scenes; really makes the audience jump. However, £10 tickets are available for teenagers, which is cheaper than going to the cinema!

Apollo Theatre

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

£19.50-£49.50. Runs 2 hr 20mins.

http://www.apollotheatrelondon.co.uk/let-the-right-one-in/

Les Misérables

through 2015

The world’s longest running musical is still in its prime, as one of the greatest musicals of all time. Set in early 19th century revolutionary France, it follows the stories of Jean Valjean, a French peasant tracked by a police inspector, Javert. With award winning songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “One Day More” and “On My Own,” Les Misérables is a must-see.

Hidden Gem: Standing room tickets are available for £10 on weekdays and £12.50 on weekends if you have the courage! Only available when the show is sold out, but this is usually the case.

Queen’s Theatre

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square

£20–£95. Runs 3hrs.

http://www.lesmis.com/uk/

War Horse

through 2015

Adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse tell this entrancing story by bringing horses to life through puppets (by the renowned Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa). A deeply emotional play set on the battlefields of World War I. My grandmother repeatedly praises it by saying, “I wept!”

Hidden Gem: Small theatre, meaning practically every seat in the house is fantastic.

New London Theatre

Nearest Tube: Covent Garden, Holborn

£15-£62.50. Run 2hrs 35mins.

Book of Mormon

until September 20

This satirical musical has been sweeping the world for three years now, and is one of laughter and genius. It tells the story of two Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in Uganda and their trouble connecting to the locals. Deeply funny and very enticing.

Hidden Gem: Amazing synchronization of the actors just adds to the humor.

Prince of Wales Theatre

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

£37.50-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins.

http://bookofmormonlondon.com/

2 Responses to “Summer in London Theatre Guide”

  1. neil@londontheatre1.com' Neil says:

    Hi Emily,

    you may (or may not) wish to link to the official websites which are listed here

    https://www.londontheatre1.com/index.php/47440/official-london-west-end-theatres/

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing, Neil!

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