facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Aspects of autumn

First Published 6 September 2010, Last Updated 13 February 2012

With Simon Russell Beale in Deathtrap, Rory Kinnear taking on Hamlet and Derek Jacobi’s King Lear, not to mention Matt Willis in Flashdance, this autumn is shaping up to be a theatregoer’s paradise. However, unless you have the dedication of a theatre critic, the social life of Greta Garbo and the deep pockets of Aristotle Onassis, you are unlikely to catch every single theatrical treat in store this season. But take a look at the line-up below and you might just be tempted to try your best…


It is a bumper autumn for quality drama this year. Martin Shaw – hopefully recovered from recent illness – teams up with Judge John Deed colleague Jenny Seagrove for The Country Girl, Michael Gambon indulges in a spot of Beckett with Krapp’s Last Tape and Simon Russell Beale leads the cast of Matthew Warchus’s production of the thriller Deathtrap. As for new plays, expectations run high for the new venture by young playwright Nina Raine, Tribes, and the Chichester Festival Theatre transfer of Martin Sherman’s Onassis, starring Robert Lindsay as the Greek shipping magnate. But it is that anticipation-creator Trevor Nunn who has perhaps heaped the most expectation on himself, by directing the adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s hugely popular wartime novel Birdsong.


Noël Coward, Oscar Wilde, JB Priestley…and Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn? The long-gone masters of astringent social humour are joined by the writers of classic sitcom Yes, Prime Minister in the roster of autumn comedy. Coward’s relationship drama Design For Living brings style and substance to the Old Vic, real-life husband and wife Alexander Hanson and Samantha Bond face off in Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, and director Christopher Luscombe, whose comedy pedigree continues to rise, tackles matrimonial mix-ups in Priestley’s When We Are Married. It is left to Jay and Lynn to bring us the new comedy of the autumn, albeit one based on the much-loved political sitcom they created in the 80s. David Haig and Henry Goodman hope to have us in stitches as the PM and his Cabinet Secretary.


Song-and-dance shows may be not be dominating the autumn as they have in previous years, but the ones that are gracing the West End will certainly make an impact, and what a varied bunch they are. Spearheading the 80th birthday celebrations for composer Stephen Sondheim, the Donmar Warehouse is hoping for fireworks in Passion, which stars Argentinean Elena Roger in this tale of thwarted love; meanwhile an entirely different kind of Love Story will be told at the Duchess theatre as Erich Segal’s enormously popular 1970 romantic novel is recreated on stage. In November the National Theatre lends gravitas to the musical genre as it presents the Broadway transfer of Fela!, the true story of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, written by Spring Awakening’s Bill T Jones. But there is nothing like a good old big, bold, dancetastic musical and Flashdance promises just that with its tale of Alex: welder by day, flashdancer by night. Let’s hope the show can finally erase our memories of Robert Webb in that leotard…

Finally, one musical is celebrating a significant birthday this year: Les Misérables. While the original production of the French revolutionary tearjerker continues at the Queen’s theatre, a new production will enjoy a short stay at the Barbican in late September, while a one-off birthday party at the O2 on 3 October will parade past and present stars of the show.


Every actor has his time: Rory Kinnear, the Simon Russell Beale of his generation, is finally taking on Shakespeare’s greatest role for a young actor, Hamlet. After the recent Hamlet-off between David Tennant and Jude Law, Kinnear should be relieved that his turn as the procrastinating prince at the National Theatre has no current competition in London. Later this autumn the Donmar Warehouse sets up another must-see Shakespeare: Sir Derek Jacobi plays King Lear.

Off West End

The West End doesn’t have all the treats. Head to Islington to catch London stage regulars Amanda Drew and Nancy Carroll in David Mamet’s House Of Games at the Almeida theatre, or Kilburn for Antony Sher in Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass at the Tricycle theatre. The Barbican welcomes the return of the hugely acclaimed Iraq War drama Black Watch, based on interviews with real soldiers, while Ed Hall’s first season at the Hampstead theatre includes a rare directorial outing on these shores of South African playwright Athol Fugard, who directs his own play The Train Driver. Lastly, for a dash of New York jazz head to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which hosts Edinburgh Festival hit Five Guys Named Moe, with the show’s writer and star of The Wire, Clarke Peters, in the lead role. The West End might just get jealous…



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.