So many shows, so little time! It’s not always easy to keep your finger on the theatrical pulse in London – new plays, musicals, comedies, dance and opera shows open across the city every day. But there’s no feeling quite like being one of the first people to see a new show (no spoilers, obvs).
And with exactly one month left of our New Year Sale – in which tickets are reduced to just £10, £20, £30 or £40 for select performances until 15 February – being the early bird to catch the show is pretty straightforward this year.
You heard it here first, folks: here’s a list of all the shows in Official London Theatre’s New Year Sale that (as of Tuesday 15 January) are yet to start their runs.
Manon (English National Ballet)
First performance: 16 January at the London Coliseum
What’s it about?: World-class performance and exquisite technique. The English National Ballet stage Kenneth MacMillan’s full-blooded ballet of passion, Manon, which will transport you from worlds of privilege and opulence to desolate Louisiana swamps and gambling dens – and all from the comfort of a London Coliseum seat.
We can’t wait to see it first because: We’ll be waxing lyrical about the English National Ballet performers, and their mastery of some of the most challenging roles in ballet. Do not try these moves at home.
First performance: 16 January at Theatre Royal Stratford East
What’s it about?: The effect that war has on young lives – and what coming home really means. If ever there were a theatre company well-equipped to tell a series of such tender tales, it’s Frantic Assembly – whose celebrated and unique style is sure to trigger many a shed tear at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
We can’t wait to see it first because: Frantic Assembly’s productions are continually awe-inspiring and imaginative – and The Unreturning promises to be no different.
Leave To Remain
First performance: 18 January at the Lyric Hammersmith
What’s it about?: A young gay couple whose future is suddenly thrown into doubt – as one of them requires a visa. An exciting new play with songs by Matt Jones and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Leave To Remain sees Obi (Olivier Award nominee Tyrone Huntley) and Alex (Billy Cullum) explore the option of marriage and, in doing so, the need to confront their families and pasts.
We can’t wait to see it first because: Okereke’s songs – and Huntley’s angelic voice, for that matter – will almost certainly require a repeat visit on our part, so it’s best to get the first trip booked in now.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
First performance: 21 January at The Other Palace
What’s it about?: A showcase of improvisation, invention, and musical genius. Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is the Olivier Award-winning, off-the-top-of-their-heads spectacular; each performance is completely different to the last. And with the audience able to influence the title, setting and musical styles, you can come with plenty of suggestions in mind!
We can’t wait to see it first because: Every show marks an opportunity to witness the musical – okay, musicals – of our dreams!
Dad’s Army Radio Show
First performance: 22 January at Wilton’s Music Hall
What’s it about?: One of the nation’s favourite TV series of all-time, brilliantly staged in front of your own eyes. Performed by two acclaimed comics, David Benson and Jack Lane, Dad’s Army Radio Show puts on three classic radio episodes, based on favourite scripts from the show. Consider us enlisted!
We can’t wait to see it first because: It’ll get us quoting Dad’s Army to our family and friends all over again – “Don’t tell him, Pike!”
Notre Dame De Paris
First performance: 23 January at the London Coliseum
What’s it about?: A musical account of the love between hunchbacked bell-ringer, Quasimodo, and the gypsy, Esmeralda. You’ll do well to keep your jaw from dropping, as you marvel at extraordinary singers, dancers, acrobats, sets and costumes. 20 years after its debut in Paris, and almost 5000 shows later, Notre Dame De Paris continues to attract acclaim from across the globe.
We can’t wait to see it first because: It’s only here for six performances (until 27 January) – so the first theatregoers to see this world-famous musical will also be among the last!
Home, I’m Darling
First performance: 28 January at Duke of York’s Theatre
What’s it about?: One woman’s quest to become the perfect 1950s housewife. This inspired comedy from Laura Wade (who also wrote Posh, later on screen as The Riot Club) was nominated for a UK Theatre Award last year for Best New Play, before a celebrated National Theatre run. Now, it’s in the West End, asking: how happily married are the happily married?
We can’t wait to see it first because: Whisper it quietly, but rumours abound that there’s an utterly brilliant twist near the start of the show… a twist we can’t wait to knowingly nod about. *unknowingly nods*
German Cornejo’s Tango Fire
First performance: 29 January at Peacock Theatre
What’s it about?: Scorching speedy footwork and tantalisingly tight twirling. Tango Fire sizzles with authentic Argentinean tango courtesy of superstars German Cornejo, Gisela Galeassi, their fellow cast members, and the accompanying Tango Fuego Quartet. Cool-down interval ice-cream advised.
We can’t wait to see it first because: We’re looking forward to dazzling our friends by recreating some of Cornejo’s jaw-dropping moves. Or, at least, dazzle them by trying…
Come From Away
First performance: 30 January at the Phoenix Theatre
What’s it about?: Goodwill galore. Come From Away tells the story of 7000 lost souls; air passengers unexpectedly grounded in Canada, following the events of 9/11. But despite initial nerves and tensions, the small community of Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed them in with open arms – and so a number of heart-warming tales, told in this uplifting musical, were born.
We can’t wait to see it first because: All signs point towards this being a cherished West End mainstay for years to come. From its 7 Tony Award nominations on Broadway, to its acclaimed recent run across the Irish Sea in Dublin, Come From Away has picked up fans all over the world – and we’re looking forward to being amongst the first here in London.
The American Clock
First performance: 4 February at The Old Vic
What’s it about?: Arthur Miller’s writing at its finest. The American Clock is all about one family’s unwavering faith in capitalism – even as everything crumbles around them. Backed by a soundtrack which fuses 1920s swing and jazz with contemporary sounds, The American Clock will spin up a world of financial crisis and salvation.
We can’t wait to see it first because: Its director Rachel Chavkin is a genius. She’s stunned Broadway with Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812 – only the 12 Tony Award nominations – and now the West End with Hadestown at the National Theatre. So we can’t wait to witness her interpretation of an Arthur Miller play…
First performance: 5 February at Wyndham’s Theatre
What’s it about?: David Suchet. Brendan Coyle. A riveting revival of an affecting play. What’s not to love? The Price centres on a veteran appraiser (Suchet), who looks to secure the best possible price for two brothers’ inherited family home and possessions. But what’s the true price that both brothers have paid… over their whole lives?
We can’t wait to see it first because: With dramatic revelations aplenty, The Price is the kind of twisting, turning show you simply have to be amongst the first attendees of.
First performance: 15 February at Theatre Royal Stratford East
What’s it about?: A dark case for psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart, whose newest patient, seventeen year-old Alan Strang, blinded six horses with a metal spike. As Dysart digs further and further into Strang’s psyche, he begins to call his own sense of purpose into question, as harrowing themes of religion, relationships and societal foundations come to the fore.
We can’t wait to see it first because: It’s all too rarely revived. Peter Shaffer’s play is a knockout psychological thriller – and this exciting new production promises to pull no punches.
There are plenty more shows opening in 2019. To find out more, visit our London theatre tickets page.