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10 theatre shows that finish before 10pm

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 23 April 2019, Last Updated 6 January 2020

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!


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.

A Christmas Carol

The cast of A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Running time: 2h05 (including interval)

If you’re desperate to squeeze in some Christmas cheer, but don’t want to lose sleep over it, then this is the perfect show for you. Back for the third year running by popular demand, Matthew Warchus’ version of A Christmas Carol is running at The Old Vic over the festive period.

With just over a 2-hour running time, you can be transported all through time and space, following Scrooge’s epic journey to self-discovery and still be home in time for a decent night’s sleep.

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.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery at Criterion Theatre (Photo: Robert Day)

Running time: 2h20 (including interval)

Another side-splitting production from Mischeif Theatre (The Play That Goes Wrong, Magic Goes Wrong) this hilarious tale of one massive diamond, eight terrible crooks and a very sleepy security guard is a riot from start to finish. Think Oceans Eleven as performed by the Marx brothers.

Finishing at 9.50pm, you’ll still be chuckling to yourself on the last train home.

Ghost Stories

Garry Cooper in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith (Photo: Chris Payne)

Running time: 1h20 (no interval)

We challenge you to last any longer than 80 minutes to be perfectly honest! Filled with jumps, thrills and surprises, information and imagery from Ghost Stories is kept deliberately sparse, so that no one knows what to expect.

One thing that can be guaranteed, though, is a rollercoaster night full of shocks. And while you might be home early (the play finished before 9pm!) you might not be getting that much sleep that night…

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.

The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap at St Martin's Theatre

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! 

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)

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.

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, 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:



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9 to 5 a christmas carol come from away ghost stories noises off 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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