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The National Theatre’s War Horse on tour (Photo: Brikhoff & Moegenburg)

The National Theatre's War Horse on tour (Photo: Brikhoff & Moegenburg)

9 must-see plays returning to the London stage

Carly-Ann Clements

By Carly-Ann Clements First Published 25 April 2019, Last Updated 1 May 2019

We all love discovering new writers and new plays. But we’ll always have our favourites. That’s why we’re super excited about all the incredible productions returning to London stages this year.

From the great playwrights in history to award-winning works from the 21st century, London theatre is seeing the return of some incredible plays – many of which feature a famous face or two. So here’s your chance to see some incredible theatre once again – or for the first time if you’ve previously missed it.

Related Article: 10 theatre shows that finish before 10pm
Want to see a show but worried about missing the last train home? Here are 10 theatre shows that finish before 10pm, giving you plenty of time to get home.

All My Sons

All My Sons at The Old Vic

It was last seen in London in 2010 starring David Suchet and Zoë Wanamaker, and now, Arthur Miller’s seminal work is back fuelled by star power once again. Currently playing at The Old Vic, All My Sons stars the multi-award-winning Sally Fields and Bill Pullman. Appearing alongside them are Jenna Coleman and Colin Morgan. 

All My Sons is based on a true story Arthur Miller found in a newspaper. It tells of a couple who have it all – a beautiful home, two grown-up sons, and a thriving livelihood – who are about to lose everything when someone from their past turns up.

 

Betrayal

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

Often described as Harold Pinter‘s greatest and most moving play, it’s no surprise that London audiences haven’t been able to get enough of Betrayal. First produced in 1978 at the National Theatre, this drama based on Pinter’s own love affair with BBC presenter Joan Bakewell has seen numerous productions over the past 41 years.

Starring Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox, Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. 

 

Ghost Stories

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

Everyone loves a good ghost story, that’s why this collection of terrifying tales keeps returning to London. Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s petrifying play was first seen in 2010 and has since travelled the world making audiences in China, Australia, Canada and Europe jump with terror. 

In 2017, a film adaptation was released starring Martin Freeman but, as we all know, there’s nothing quite like a live audience to bring a spooky story come to life.

 

The Night Of The Iguana

The Night Of The Iguana tickets at the Noël Coward Theatre

Each year, we seem to have a Tenessee Williams masterpiece on the London stage. And this time, The Night Of The Iguana is coming back to town. Another play that always attracts a star cast, this drama has previously seen Alfred Molina and Woody Harrelson take the lead role in London. This time, Clive Owen is set to play Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon alongside Anna Gunn and Lia Williams.

Set in 1940s Mexico, a disgraced priest-turned-tourist guide and leader of a group of lost souls arrives at a run-down hotel where he is reunited with his long-term friend-turned-grieving widow, Maxine Faulk. As he struggles emotionally, the group are joined by spinster Hannah Jelkes and her 97-year-old poet grandfather, and chaos unfolds.

 

Noises Off

Noises Off tickets at the Lyric Hammersmith

After nearly 40 years, one of the funniest plays ever written, Noises Off, is making its way back to its original home, the Lyric Hammersmith, for a limited run this summer. Premiering in 1982, Noises Off quickly became a theatre-goers favourite. It transferred to the Savoy Theatre where it received rave reviews and ran until 1987, and since, it’s had major productions at the National Theatre, the Piccadilly Theatre, and The Old Vic. 

Noises Off follows a hopelessly unprepared cast as they rehearse and perform a farcical play called Nothing On. But missed cues, offstage shenanigans, personal relationships, forgotten lines, and romantic rivalries makes one thing clear: life in the theatre is nothing if not unpredictable!

 

Our Town

Our Town at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. Photo credit: Feast Creative

From prolific writer Thornton Wilder comes the Pulitzer Prize-winner, Our Town. The universal story about community and humanity is one of Wilder’s most performed works and has seen many productions worldwide. Now, it’s coming to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for a strictly limited run.

Our Town tells the story of two neighbours and childhood friends, George and Emily, who grow up together and fall in love. But when Emily dies during childbirth, the play takes on a new dimension as it explores the circle of life, from childhood through to adulthood, and finally, death.

 

Present Laughter

The Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

It seems as though 2019 is the year of theatre greats and megastars as Noël Coward’s Present Laughter will be playing at The Old Vic from June. The witty comedy is no stranger to star casting as previous actors have included Ian McKellen, Simon Callow, Peter O’Toole and Rik Mayall to name but a few. This time, Andrew Scott and Sophie Thompson will be taking to the stage for this much-anticipated production.

Garry Essendine is preparing to embark on a touring commitment in Africa but before he departs, he is confronted by young admirers, rumours of affairs, promises of auditions, eager new playwrights, a long-suffering secretary and his estranged wife, as events spiral to a climactic confrontation.

 

Vincent River

Louise Jameson (Anita) and Thomas Mahy (Davey) in Vincent River (Photo: David Monteith Hodge)

After 12 years, Philip Ridley’s Vincent River is returning to Trafalgar Studios. Since its first performance at the Hampstead Theatre in 2000, this powerful play about hate crime has been staged in London many times including a run at the Park Theatre last year.

Set in a dilapidated flat in Dagenham, Vincent River follows two characters: Davey, who has seen something he can never forget, and Anita, who has been forced to flee her home. Burdened by the events of the past, their meeting will change both of their lives forever.

 

War Horse

The National Theatre's War Horse on tour (Photo: Brikhoff & Moegenburg)

It’s not been long since War Horse galloped out of the West End, but it seems London audiences haven’t had enough of this remarkable and multi-award-winning play, so much so that it had to make a victorious return. Originally, it ran at the National Theatre in 2007. It was so popular it returned in 2008 before transferring to the West End. It opened at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (then named the New London Theatre) in 2009 where it stayed until 2016. Now, it’s coming to the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in October for a strictly limited run.

Based on Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book of the same name, War Horse tells the story of Joey – a horse that is sold and shipped to France during the First World War. His owner, Albert, goes on a mission to find his beloved horse by enlisting in the army. But will the pair be able to find each other?

 

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all my sons betrayal ghost stories noises off Our Town present laughter the night of the iguana vincent river war horse

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