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15 theatre shows that finish before 10pm

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 23 April 2019, Last Updated 7 September 2022

Is there anything better than immersing yourself in some fantastic theatre, then having a stroll towards the train station, with hardly any crowds around you, feeling fully confident that you’ll comfortably make your train home?

But this scenario can only really happen if you see a show that finishes before 10pm. But luckily for you, we’ve found some productions that meet that criteria!

1. 2:22 A Ghost Story

2:22 A Ghost Story

Running time: 2h, finished by 9.30pm

Following two record-breaking seasons at the Noel Coward and Gielgud Theatre with a host of acclaimed star performances, this edge-of-your-seat, supernatural thriller now stars Love Island’s Laura Whitmore and Busted’s Matt Willis alongside Felix Scott and Tamsin Carroll.

You may be thankful of the early night, but we can’t guarantee you’ll be able to sleep when you get home….

2. The Choir Of Man

Men having drinks

Running time: 1h30 (no interval), finished by 9pm

The multi-talented cast of nine guys combine beautiful harmonies and foot-stomping singalongs with world-class tap dance and poetic meditations on the power of community. This is a riotously feel-good homage to that unique gathering place: the pub.

3. Come From Away

The cast sat on chairs on stage, one is taking a phone call

Running time: 1h40 (no interval), finished by 9.10pm

A new musical for the West End, Come from Away tells the incredible true story of 7,000 passengers, whose journeys to New York on 9/11 were redirected to Gander after the airspace closed. This show is a truly heart-warming story of friendship, kindness and love in times of crisis and hardship.

With such an emotional story to tell, there’s no interval in this show. Although you’ll be so wrapped up in the story and how it’s told, you won’t miss the ice cream or drink break.

4. Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing, photo Mark Senior

Running time: 2h10, finished by 9.40pm

Seen by millions across the globe this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.

See the hit film come to life before your eyes with this fantastic, emotional and triumphant live stage show.

5. The Gunpowder Plot

Running time: 1h40, various start times

An exciting new immersive experience in which you follow the plot of a group of men intent on bringing the government down. Be surrounded by the sounds, sights and even smells of 17th Century London and see if you can foil Guy Fawkes’ plan!

With times throughout the afternoon, the very latest you’ll emerge back blinking into the 21st century is 9pm!

6. Heathers The Musical


Running time: 2h20, finished by 9.50pm

Welcome to Westerberg High where Veronica Sawyer is just another nobody dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody…

7. Life Of Pi

After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, a sixteen year-old boy named Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Winner of 5 Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, Best Actor (Hiran Abeysekera), Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the seven actors who play the tiger (Fred Davies, Daisy Franks, Romina Hytten, Tom Larkin, Habib Nasib Nader, Tom Stacey and Scarlet Wilderink) – the first time puppet performers have been nominated in an Olivier Awards acting category, Best Set Design and Best Lighting Design.

8. The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe

A train being carried with smoke flowing out of it

Step through the wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia for the most mystical of adventures in a faraway land. Join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they wave goodbye to wartime Britain and say hello to a talking Faun, an unforgettable Lion and the coldest, cruellest White Witch.

9. Matilda The Musical

10. The Mousetrap

Running time: 2h20 (including interval)

Written by Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap is one of the most famous whodunnits in the world. Even after running for over 60 years, theatregoers are still trying to suss out the culprit! 

Will the police be able to solve the case before another “mouse” falls? This beloved and thrilling play will keep you on your toes the entire time but even with a twist ending, will still have you leaving before 10pm! 

11. The Play That Goes Wrong

Running time: 2h05 (including interval)

Watch out for falling scenery, misplaced props and unprepared actors in The Play That Goes Wrong.

One of the longer productions on this list, this slapstick show about an amateur dramatics group trying to put on a performance has previously won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. You’ll certainly be in for a side-splitting treat that’s for sure! (not literally of course…the scenery won’t fall on your head or anything)

12. Six The Musical


Running time: 1h20 (no interval), finished by 9.20pm

Because Six initial began as an Edinburgh Fringe show, it needed to keep to a tight time constraint of a one-hour performance (something expected of most shows during the Fringe). It may have picked up a few extra minutes along the way to its transfer at the Arts Theatre, but it’s still a concise, punchy show that you’ll be streaming from Spotify the minute the curtain call finishes.

And with over 3.5 million streams so far so you certainly won’t be alone as you try to stop yourself singing aloud on the train home.

13.  The Upstart Crow

14.Witness For The Prosecution

Running Time: 2h20 (including interval)

If you’re into murder mysteries or true crimes, step inside London’s County Hall for Agatha Christie’s gripping story of injustice, betrayal and passion.

Get ready for a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you witness first-hand the intensity of a fiercely contested trial where the stakes are high. When Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow, will he survive the shocking witness testimony or will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence? Grab your tickets to see if he escapes the hangman’s noose!

15. The Woman In Black

Running Time: 2h (including interval)

If you’re in the mood for something scary, then The Woman in Black will give you shivers until you get home. And not just because there are rumours that the Fortune Theatre is haunted!

One of Theatreland’s favourite ghost stories, the show is all about solicitor Arthur Kipps, who is sent to a creepy, isolated house (he should have spotted the red flags there, to be honest) to sort out paperwork of a recently deceased woman.

With tragedy around every corner, spooky goings on and scared locals who don’t want to talk, you’ll be surprised how a two-cast play with a small number of props that lasts under two hours can have such an impact on you.




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    9 to 5 come from away ghost stories showstopper! the improvised musical six the musical the comedy about a bank robbery the mousetrap the play that goes wrong thriller live Witness for the Prosecution

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