Back to Top

A Summer of Theatre

 Friday, 30th June, 2017

Theatre critic Mark Shenton convinces us to go indoors for a summer of theatrical entertainment.

I know it's hard sometimes to want to go indoors during the precious summer months. But here are 10 shows that could tempt you.... (or rather nine, with one taking place outdoors already!)

1) An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre)
There isn't a better summer musical delight than An American in Paris, a gorgeously choreographed and danced musical based on the 1951 Gene Kelly film of the same name that uses the Gershwin score from that film plus others from elsewhere in his immortal catalogue. Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheedlon, a former principal with the Royal Ballet who has also been resident choreographer for New York city Ballet, it is an ecstatic celebration of movement and music.

2) 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
Another great dance-based musical, also based on an earlier film from 1931 but this time celebrating the precision timing of tap dancing, 42nd Street has returned to its original London home the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in a thrilling production that recreates it in all its glory.

3) Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Wyndham's Theatre)
The very long overdue London stage debut of Broadway's Audra McDonald -- winner of six Tony awards to date -- sees her reprise the latest of those award winning roles in a play that recreates a concert from the last year of the life of turbulent blues star Billie Holiday. It's just stunning: a transfixing act of total transformation. Booking to September 9.

4) Angels in America (National Theatre)
One of the toughest-to-get tickets in London, the National's extraordinary revival of Tony Kushner's two part epic of life in America in the age of AIDS is superbly cast with actors that include Nathan Lane, Andrew Garfield, Russell Tovey and Denise Gough. It runs to August 19 only. Good luck trying to get tickets!

5) The Ferryman (Gielgud Theatre)
Jez Butterworth's latest is a shattering account of an extended Irish family and the terrible legacy of its involvement with the IRA. Spellbindingly directed by Sam Mendes in a rare return to the theatrical stage, it features a real baby, a bunny rabbit and even a live goose. It has just extended bookings to January 18, 2018.

6) Hamlet (Harold Pinter Theatre)
Two years after Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch played the troubled Danish prince in a production at the Barbican, it's now the turn of his Sherlock co-star Andrew Scott to step in the part. This production, transferred from the Almeida to the West End, is staged by Robert Icke as an exercise in mass surveillance with video and CCTV cameras watching and recording every move. It is booking to September 2.

7) The Tempest (Barbican Theatre)
One of Britain's greatest classical actors Simon Russell Beale plays Prospero in a transfer of the RSC production from Stratford-upon-Avon, that features a video-animated Ariel. Booking to August 18.

8) Follies (National Theatre)
Sondheim's absolutely glorious 1971 musical Follies is revived at the National, with a cast led by Imelda Staunton, Philip Quast, Janie Dee and Petter Forbes. It begins performances on August 22 prior to an official opening on September 6 and is booking to November 4.

9) Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre)
A return run for last summer's hit outdoors production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical, with Declan Bennett and Tyrone Huntley both returning to reprise their performances in the title role and Judas. It begins performances August 11 for a run to September 23.

10) Yerma (Young Vic)
Olivier and Critics Circle Award winner Billie Piper reprises her performance from last year as a childless woman yearning for a child in this blistering production, running July 26 to August 31. 

You can your tickets to our NT Live screening of the SOLD OUT Angels in America on 20th July, and part 2 on 27th July here.