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10 theatre shows that finish before 10pm

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 23 April 2019, Last Updated 3 May 2019

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!

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Photo: Karla Gowett)

Running time: 1h50 (including interval)

Imagine not only seeing a musical where you’re out by 10pm, but a musical no one other audience would ever see again. Sounds like we’re making things up right? We’re actually describing the premise of Showstopper!

This Olivier Award-winning show asks the audience for not just a little bit of help, but for the complete inspiration for a musical each night…no pressure or anything! A show full of laughter, unpredictable songs, very last-minute choreography and hilarious results, you’ve never seen anything like Showstopper! The Improvised Musical…literally.

9 To 5 The Musical

Louise Redknapp in 9 To 5 The Musical (Photo: Simon Turtle)

Running time: 2h15 (including interval)

Based on the cult film, 9 To 5 tells the story of three employees who want to turn the tables on their sexist boss. They’ve dreamed up a scheme to bring him down and make the office as it should be and things are going well until the CEO unexpectedly arrives and things begin to unravel.

Running until 9.45pm and located just a few minutes from Charing Cross station, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get home in time for a nice cuppa before your bedtime.


Zawe Ashton, Charlie Cox and Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre (Photo: Marc Brenner)

Running time: 1h30 (no interval)

International superstar Tom Hiddleston stars alongside Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. Often described as Pinter’s greatest and most moving play, it tells the story of a seven-year romance in reverse chronological order.

Betrayal is the final instalment of Jamie Lloyds Pinter At The Pinter season which has seen more stars than the Hubble telescope.

All About Eve

Julian Ovenden and Gillian Anderson in All About Eve at the Noël Coward Theatre (Photo: Jan Versweyveld)

Running time: 2h (no interval)

It seems the West End is currently being run on star power as yet more famous faces can be spotted in All About Eve. This stage adaptation of the iconic 1950 Oscar-winning film stars Gillian Anderson and Lily James, plus BAFTA and Olivier Award-winner Monica Dolan.

It tells a story of obsession and betrayal as a fading star meets her biggest fan – a young woman who dreams of becoming a stage actress – and possibly her own demise.

Come From Away

Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre (Photo: Matthew Murphy)


Running time: 1h40 (no interval)

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.

Related Article: Come From Away, Company and The Inheritance lead the way at the Olivier Awards 2019
A broad variety of shows were celebrated at this year’s Olivier Awards 2019, with Come From Away, Company and The Inheritance taking home four awards each.

Six The Musical

Six The Musical - Photo by Idil Sukan
Running time: 1h15 (no interval)

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.

On Your Feet!

On Your Feet! at London Coliseum

Running time: 2h15 (including interval)

Straight from its smash-hit run on Broadway, Get On Your Feet is about to knock your socks off – and have you at home in bed at a reasonable hour.

Telling the true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s love story, Get On Your feet travels from Cuba to Miami and charts Gloria’s incredible career. Featuring the duo’s biggest hits including Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Conga, Get On Your Feet, Don’t Want To Lose You Now, and 1-2-3, you can party the night away – well, not the whole night. It finishes before 10pm, remember.

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

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)

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – The Musical

Benjamin Lewis as Adrian in The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ - The Musical (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Your favourite childhood book is headed to the West End as a musical so your bedtime reading can become bedtime watching, even on a school night.

Based on Sue Townsend’s timeless book of the same name, the show follows Adrian, an awkward teenager experiencing family struggles, unrequited love, misunderstandings, homework, and everything else in between. Seeing himself as a tortured soul and an intellectual with no one to intellectually challenge him, Adrian’s not-so-secret diary gives an insight into his world.

The Woman In Black

Richard Hope and Mark Hawkins in The Woman In Black (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Running Time: 2h, (including interval)

If you’re in the mood for something scary and a little bit darker, 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.


Other shows that finish before 10pm include:

First published 10 January 2019; Last updated 23 April 2019


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9 to 5 all about eve betrayal come from away on your feet! showstopper! the improvised musical six the musical the play that goes wrong The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical

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