The Best Plays in London

© Steve Tanner

BEST PLAYS IN LONDON From All's Well to Schiller's thriller: 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.

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

Frozen, Haymarket Theatre ★★★★ Suranne Jones, Jason Watkins and Nina Sosanya explore the reality of evil in revival of Bryony Lavery's play. Until 5 May

Hamlet, Hackney Empire ★★★★ - Paapa Essiedu's winning RSC Dane is well worth catchi ng anywhere en route. Until 31 Mar

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

Humble Boy, Orange Tree ★★★★ Spirited revival of Charlotte Jones's 2001 hit about love, death and science in Middle England buzzes with fun. Until 14 Apr

Julius Caesar, Bridge Theatre ★★★★ Nicholas Hytner’s superbly acted, rabble-rousing production pits the ruling elite against populism. Until 15 Apr

Mary Stuart, Duke of York's ★★★★★ Superb teamwork from Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams in Schiller thriller. Until 31 Mar

Network, National Theatre ★★★★ Bryan Cranston makes a searing London stage debut as the seminal 1976 film resonates anew. Until 24 Mar

Summer and Smoke, Almeida Theatre ★★★★★ Exquisite renaissance of Tennessee Williams's neglected play. Until 7 Apr

The Ferryman, Gielgud Theatre ★★★★ Jez Butterworth’s new epic is a breathtaking triumph of storytelling. Until 19 May

The Great Wave, National Theatre ★★★★ Brilliant, epic new thriller about Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. Until 14 Apr

The York Realist, Donmar Warehouse ★★★★★ Pitch-perfect revival of Peter Gill's miniaturist masterpiece
surpasses the original. Until 24 Mar and Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 27 Mar until 7 Apr