It’s all change in London’s Theatreland this September, with plenty of world-class shows setting up shop in the West End for the onrushing Autumn season. We’ve picked out some of September’s unmissable plays and musicals.
The cast of Five Guys Named Moe at Marble Arch Theatre (Photo: Graham Michael)
Now previewing, press night 14 September; Marble Arch Theatre
Rachel: Five Guys Named Moe is the first show in the brand new pop-up theatre in Marble Arch. Even more excitingly, the theatre has been designed specifically for the show, promising to transport audiences back to the engrossing jazz bars of 1940s New Orleans. Oh, and did I mention there will be an authentic 40s cocktail bar? Mine’s a Sidecar.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story (Photo: Jacqui Wilson)
4 September, 2 October, 6 November, 4 December; Lyric Theatre
Dan: Given their prickly relationship, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get to see Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sharing a stage anytime soon, so fans should snap up tickets for The Simon & Garfunkel Story. Anyone heading to the Lyric Theatre is in for a treat as two hugely accomplished talents perform one of pop music’s finest back catalogues – they’re even good enough to banish the memories of The Vamps’ 2014 interpretation of “Cecilia”.
Previews from 5 September, press night 7 September; Arts Theatre
Sinead: The wait is over! Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece, Waiting For Godot, comes to the Arts Theatre this month, the home of the original 1955 production. For a plot where famously very little happens, you will leave pondering the big things in life: happiness and hope to name but two! This production has been entertaining audiences since 2005… so what are you waiting for?!
Lydia Leonard and Toby Stephens in rehearsal for Oslo (Photo: Brinkhoff/Mögenberg)
Plays at the National Theatre 5-23 September; transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre from 2 October
Jim: Oslo triumphantly won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play, and deservedly so. This show is perfect for big thinkers and lovers of political history. The script is wrapped with eccentric (real) characters and heightened drama as the world watches this historical meeting of the minds in Oslo. When accepting the Tony Award, Lincoln Center Theater’s André Bishop said we are in a Golden Age of American playwriting, and you’ll see why when you see this unstoppable show.
Bertie Carvel (Rupert Murdoch) and Richard Coyle (Larry Lamb) in Ink at the Almeida Theatre (Photo: Marc Brenner)
Previews from 9 September, press night 19 September; Duke of York’s Theatre
Rachel: Read all about it! The Almeida transfer is only at the Duke of York’s for a limited season, and arrives on a wave of glowing reviews, so you’ll need to move quickly to snap up tickets. Starring the wonderful Bertie Carvel as a young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch, Ink is a ruthless new play from James Graham, charting the rise of The Sun on 1960s Fleet Street.
Plays from 11 September; Playhouse Theatre
Dan: Not sure if I consciously picked this show or I’ve received some subliminal messages, but either way prepare to have your mind blown as Derren Brown returns to the West End. Arguably Britain’s greatest showman, I’ve seen Derren dozens of times and every time I’ve been left completely flummoxed.
Gareth Gates as Willard in Footloose (Photo: Matt Martin)
Plays from 12-30 September; Peacock Theatre
Robin: The British Summer may be behind us, but the Peacock Theatre’s giving us no excuse for the post-holiday hump; Footloose heralds a guaranteed grin on your face. Even if you somehow resist the temptation to belt along with Holdin’ Out For A Hero, you’ll still be bowled over by classic 80s dance tunes, stars like Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan, and just the sheer feelgood fun of it all. Warn your housemates in advance: shower karaoke is about to step up a notch.
N.Y.T. Rep Season (Othello & Jekyll And Hyde)
National Youth Theatre – Jekyll And Hyde (Photo: Helen Maybanks)
Plays in repertory from 26 September; Ambassadors Theatre
Robin: What common thread connects the likes of Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Derek Jacobi, Matt Smith… well, you’ve probably guessed by now: they’re all alumni of the National Youth Theatre. I can’t wait to see the stars of tomorrow own the West End stage in their repertory season, comprising a thrillingly ambitious collaboration with physical theatre pioneers Frantic Assembly in Othello, and a strikingly pertinent female-led Jekyll And Hyde.
The Toxic Avenger at West End LIVE 2017 (Photo: Pamela Raith)
Previews from 28 September, press night 2 October; Arts Theatre
Jim: Evil Villains, beware! You’re in for a big, toxic punch in the heart with this brand new musical coming to the Arts Theatre. I saw one of its first incarnations back in New Jersey and I loved it. The Toxic Avenger is really a classic giant, ugly green toxic crime-fighting boy meets girl story. You can’t miss this hilarious and sweet new musical from the team that brought you Memphis!
Previews from 28 September, press night 10 October; Garrick Theatre
Sinead: Legends of screen and stage, Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman, bring the new musical comedy Young Frankenstein to London – and I for one cannot wait! If a musical based on the hilarious 1974 film isn’t enough to sway you, then the fact that the cast includes the wonderfully funny Lesley Joseph and stand up comedian Ross Noble should definitely do the trick.