The Best Plays in London

© Marc Brenner

THE BEST PLAYS IN LONDON From Wilde to Wade: theartsdesk's stage tips

London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty National Theatre to the West End, the small powerhouses of the Donmar Warehouse and the Almeida and out to the fringe theatres, it's hard to know which to turn. Our guide is here to help you sort the wheat from the chaff. Below is our selection of the best plays on in London right now, with links to our reviews for further elucidation.

Allelujah!, Bridge Theatre ★★★★ Alan Bennett's black comedy is a howl against the privatisation of death. Until 29 Sept

A Monster Calls, Old Vic ★★★★★ A fearlessly experimental, physically ingenious exploration of Patrick Ness's book. Until 25 Aug

Brief Encounter, Empire Cinema ★★★★ Poignant, hilarious revival of Emma Rice's lauded stage version returns with charm and inventiveness intact. Until 2 Sept

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre ★★★★★ The continuing story of JK Rowling's witches and wizards works its magic onstage

Home, I'm Darling, National Theatre ★★★★ Katherine Parkinson in career-best form as a Fifties fantastist. Until 5 Sep

Homos, or Everyone in America, Finborough Theatre ★★★★★ Jordan Seavey's picture of New York gay life is as moving as it is witty. Until 1 Sept

Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios ★★★★ Hitman-cop Orlando Bloom coolly rules Tracy Letts's gothically noir world. Until 18 Aug

King Lear, Duke of York's ★★★★ A towering Shakespeare swansong for Ian McKellen in a fast-paced, modern-dress production. Until 3 Nov

£¥€$ (LIES), Almeida Theatre ★★★★ Ontroerend Goed's latest offers a cunningly immersive take on capitalism. Until 18 Aug

Othello, Shakespeare's Globe ★★★★ André Holland shines in Claire van Kampen's big and bold production, but her Mark Rylance's Iago misses the mark Until 13 Oct

Pressure, Ambassador's Theatre ★★★★ David Haig is terrific in his own documentary drama about the weather on the eve of D-Day is a success. Until 1 Sep

The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre ★★★★ Sophie Thompson stars in Oscar Wilde's best-loved comedy with extra homo-erotic innuendo. Until 20 Oct

The Jungle, Playhouse Theatre ★★★★ Young Vic/National Theatre/Good Chance hit collaboration transfers to a redesigned West End house Until 3 Nov

The Lehman Trilogy, National Theatre ★★★★ A newly-minimalist Sam Mendes guides an expert cast to sublime heights. Until 20 Oct

The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noel Coward Theatre ★★★★ Aidan Turner's magnetic West End debut in gun-blazing Martin McDonagh revival Until 8 Sept