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September 26, 2022
Following the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, London’s theatres will continue with their performances but they will dim their lights and observe a minute’s silence as a mark of respect. The nation is in mourning. The national anthem will be played and books of condolences will be open before the performance starts.
“The theatre industry is thankful for all the support and patronage Her Majesty has shown throughout her lifetime”
(Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre).
“The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment...”
What would Noel Coward have made of today’s passion for immersive theatre? The kind of performance where actors promenade and audiences interact or explore; where there are electrifying virtual reality set pieces that mix technology with live action (think of “Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds” and its Martian invasion on Leadenhall Street).
Coward said that the main purpose of theatre was entertainment, so perhaps he would have embraced the thrills and spills. As long, of course, as it was done well. Coward was a professional. His advice to actors: “speak clearly, don’t bump into the furniture and if you must have motivation, think of your pay packet on Friday.”
These days the West End is bursting with productions to suit every taste, and East London has a new theatre in The Bridge, plus the well established Barbican and historic Wilton’s Music Hall.
South of the Thames there’s the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Old Vic. Punchdrunk Theatre has taken over a whole building in South East London (1 Cartridge Place, Woolwich SE18) to portray a dystopian world of gods and mortals, Troy after the battle is lost. Immersive theatre at its towering best.
Our actors are well established on the streets, too (look out for the Destination City festival this October with its open–air performances and entertainments in the Square Mile). If you are looking for event venues in London, close to the entertainment heart of the city, then Blue Orchid’s Tower Suites is handy for Destination City, and it lends itself to The Bridge, Wilton’s and the Barbican, all three of which have stellar shows on offer: Simon Russell Beale in Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman, The Wind in the Wilton’s (updated Ratty, Mole, Toad and Badger adventures) and the RSC’s My Neighbour Totoro, respectively.
London lives and breathes its theatre – classical and experimental. So here is a snapshot of the highlights on offer this Autumn.
2:22 A Ghost Story
Booking to: 8 Jan 2023
Fourth incarnation for this highly successful, award-winning chiller. Just in time for Halloween. Ages 14+ (theatre entrance faces Eros fountain).
A Single Man
Clifton Terrace N4
19 October to 26 November 2022
Close by Finsbury Park Station, stage version of Christopher Isherwood’s novel (also made into a moving film by Tom Ford).
Blues for an Alabama Sky
National Theatre (Lyttleton)
28 Sept to 5 Nov 2022
1930s Harlem. “To realise our dreams, we must wake up.”
Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Northumberland Avenue WC2
Booking to 7 Jan 2023
“Leave your troubles outside.” Based on the play by John van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood
The Cherry Orchard
The Yard Theatre
Until 22 Oct 2022
Vinay Patel’s all Asian cast sets The Cherry Orchard in outer space. Sci fi Chekhov. Intriguing.
City of London
15 October 2022
A free cultural and entertainment spectacle featuring theatre, games and performance with over 100 artists. Family friendly highlights include a mass treasure hunt with a “maze” of adventures featuring 16 doors through which to explore. Three carnival inspired fairs, street theatre and more. Major event from the City of London Corporation, the Square Mile as a leading leisure hub with iconic public spaces, secret hideaways and subterranean adventures. Step through one of the doors at Skyline London , rooftop restaurant and bar.
Duke of York’s Theatre
104 St Martin’s Lane WC2
29 Sept to 11 Dec 2022
West end transfer of Robert Icke’s Almeida show. Ethics, identity politics, and Juliet Stevenson in the lead role.
The Old Vic
103 The Cut SE1
Until 31 Oct 2023
Helen Hunt stars in comedy by Jonathan Spector. A play “for our age of disagreement.”
Harold Pinter Theatre
Panton Street SW1Y
6 Oct 6 to 24 Dec 24 2022
David Tennant delivers another nuanced character in this revival of CP Taylor’s 1982 play, Good. Directed by Dominic Cook.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Shaftesbury Avenue W1
Booking to: 30 July 2023
The movie actors have grown up, some have even left us for good, but the magic persists.
Until 21 Oct 2022
Late Shakespeare on Bankside.
Horrible Histories Live
Onboard! Terrible Thames
Tower Bridge Quay
Booking to: 1 Jan 2023
Horrible histories and its wicked river tour. Climb aboard.
Until 22 October
A brand new take on Joan of Arc, for a brand new age.
John Gabriel Borkman
The Bridge Theatre
Tower Bridge SE1
24 Sept to 26 Nov
Henrik Ibsen’s classic about a resentful, disgraced businessman who’s out to make a comeback. The always compelling Simon Russell Beale, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Lia Williams.
Life of Pi
36 Charing Cross Road WC2
Booking to 15 Jan 2023
The story of a shipwrecked boy and four animals, adapted for the stage by Lolita Chakrabarti. Stunning puppetry.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Gillian Lynne Theatre
166 Drury Lane WC2
Until 8 January 2023
One of the UK’s favourite stories returns: for ages 6 and up. “Spellbinding” (Telegraph), “Uplifting” (FT), “Magical” (Guardian).
Much Ado About Nothing
Until 23 October
Classic Shakespeare within Shakespeare’s original staging environment.
My Neighbour Totoro
Silk Street EC2
8 Oct to 21Jan 2023
The magic of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli transfers to the Barbican stage courtesy of the RSC. The music, the enduring appeal of the creatures including Totoro, protector of the forest. Puppets and actors. Grown-ups and children. Irresistible.
Peter Pan’s Labyrinth
Entrance via Launcelot Street SE1
18 October to 17 January
Peter Pan has quit Neverland and he needs the help of David Bowie (who lives at the centre of the labyrinth) to rescue him from his Big Lebowski look. Comedy mash up from The Sleeping Trees. JM Barrie meets Labyrinth. Map here.
The Wind in the Willows Wilton’s
Wilton’s Music Hall
Grace’s Alley E1
24 November to 31 December
Wiltons, the oldest Grand Music Hall in the world, is hosting another magical event from British children’s writer Piers Torday. His book The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (2014) and he has a powerful and inventive imagination. This year Torday has updated the Wind in the Willows and it’s set in modern–day London. As with his other works, there’s a message about the natural world here, but he’s never preachy. Songs, puppets and Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad: another five star winner for Torday and Wilton’s Christmas productions. Wilton’s is near Tower Hill Tube or Fenchurch St. Station.
Follow this link to the website booking page and use the discount code: BLUE15
The Woman in Black
Russell Street WC2
Until 29 April 2023
Susan Hill’s chilling tale of Eel Marsh House and the shadows the past. An audience of seven million have been scared by it so far.
Whether you want comedy, classical theatre or a matinee to share with the children, there are any number of top London hotel deals to make the magic last a little longer. And remember to check out musicals below for other children’s shows too.
Immersive and Technology
101 Queen Caroline Street W6
13 Sept to 1 Jan 2023
Live performance meets state of the art video and animation. THE hi–tech musical and Gothic romance that stunned Los Angeles – now in London. Riverside studios in Hammersmith chosen for the black box requirements of this technical feat.
The Great Gatsby
56 Davies Street W1
Until 30 October
The longest running immersive theatre production in London. Join Jay Gatsby’s crowd and get close to this gripping story of careless wealth and the ship of fools in its wake.
Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
56 Leadenhall Street EC3
The immersive Martian invasion of London in 1898! This production with its combination of live actors who guide you through 24 interactive scenes, plus Virtual Reality and the unexpected triumph of Jeff Wayne’s music, has consistently wowed the public. Three minutes away from Aldgate tube station, also Liverpool Street and Tower Hill nearby.
Secret Cinema: Guardians of the Galaxy
Booking up to 23 October 2022
Immersive indoor event, costume advice, food. Buckets of enthusiasm. We are told bookings extend into October.
If your dream night out is the sensory kaleidoscope of Cages, or the extreme cosplay of Guardians of the Galaxy, then we can recommend some hotels in London uk where you can kick back and relax afterwards. Alternatively, you just might like to recall what Jay said to Daisy over cocktails at Gatsby Mansions.
Pudding Mill Lane E15
Booking to: 28 May 2023
Abba avatars in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Back to the Future
409 - 412 Strand WC2
Booking to 12 Feb 2023
Musical Marty McFly.
Disney’s Lion King
Wellington Street WC2
Booking till 12 Feb 2023
The musical play based on the animated film. Fab costumes and puppetry.
From Here to Eternity
Charing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Villiers St WC2N 6NG
29 October to 17 December 2022
Musical. Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson.
Frozen The Musical
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Booking to 26 March 2023
Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical
29 Shaftesbury Avenue W1
Booking to 8 Jan 2023
Story of reggae legend Bob Marley. “Joyful.”
268-9 Tottenham Court Road W1
Until 29 October 2022
From gingham to leather.
Victoria Palace Theatre
Victoria Street SW1
A mix of song and rap, the winner of 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Much more than a hit musical.
Heathers The Musical
The Other Palace Theatre
12 Palace Street SW1
Until 19 Feb 2023
Alice bands and short tartan skirts in the home of new musical theatre.
Jersey Boys the Musical
Booking to 30 April 2023
Award winning musical. Story of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons.
Until 5 March 2023
Ornate Edwardian auditorium, the songs go on.
The Lion King Musical
21 Wellington Street WC2
Until 12 February 2023
Glorious sets, costumes and puppetry.
5 Aldwych WC2
Platform boots and flares. And all the Abba songs.
Prince Edward Theatre
Until 8 Jan 2023
Chim–chim–erney, Supercalifragilistic (etc) on stage.
Matilda the Musical
Earlham Street WC2
Until 28 May 2023
Muliti award–winning RSC production. Songs by Tim Minchin. Based on the deliciously subversive 1988 novel by Roald Dahl.
16 Denman Street W1
Until 7 Jan 2023
“Escapism of the highest order.” If you embraced Baz Luhrmann’s film (we did), then the belle epoque neon and “pop bangers” will entertain to the max.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
29 Shaftesbury Avenue
26 September, 24 October and 12 December 2022
Olivier award winners, comedy favourites. Audience suggestions (musical style, show title etc) rewired on the spot by the performers.
Apollo Victoria Theatre
17 Wilton Road W1
One of London’s longest–running musicals, Wicked turns the Wizard of Oz on its head. Seen by over 10 million people.
London’s theatre scene extends well beyond the West End. And now that London’s new Elizabeth underground line is open, the whole city is brought even closer together. An Autumn city break is easily within reach, whether you want a Tower hotel London, or a gentle stroll to St James’s Park.
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