West End

West End Guide: The Best Plays in London 2019

There’s something about watching live theatre that no other experience can match up to. From the masterful flourish with which each actor performs on stage to the elaborate sets and numerous costume changes, each theatre production is truly special. Speaking of theatre, one of the finest and most popular performance centers in the world is, of course, London’s West End. “Theatreland” houses over 40 venues where both theatre veterans and young newcomers come together to create musicals and plays that are relevant, funny, and poignant in equal measures. While West End showmusicals portray a heightened sense of reality, what with all the song and dance, plays are more authentic and true-to-life.

The best plays in London — some originals and others being Broadway transfers — are truly unmissable. On your next trip to London, take some time out and experience the magic of live theatre in West End. Here’s our handy selection of the best plays in London you can watch on your trip.

West End Plays

1

The Mousetrap

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under £50

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the mousetrap 3

The story follows a young couple, Mollie and Giles Ralston, who set up a country guest house at their home and invite guests over. A murder in the neighbourhood sets a chain of events in motion, ending with a twist ending no one can see coming. Fans of Agatha Christie will love the experience of watching one of her classic stories play out on stage.

If you’re after a quintessentially British experience or a taste of times gone by then this is the show for you. The Mousetrap is based on a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie and holds the honor of being the longest running show in the world! The play first premiered on West End in 1952 and has been running continuously since.

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins

2

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under £50

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery 1
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery 2
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery 3

Described as the “funniest show in West End”, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is set in Minneapolis City Bank, which has been entrusted with a priceless diamond. An escaped convict is dead set on pocketing the gem with the help of his screwball sidekick, trickster girlfriend, and the maintenance man. With mistaken identities, love triangles and hidden agendas, even the most reputable can’t be trusted.

A comedy about a robbery might seem outlandish, but that’s exactly what makes this show a hoot. Produced by the Mischief Theatre Company (of The Play That Goes Wrong fame), the show stars Sam Fogell, Mark Hammersley, Sean Kearns, and Chris Leask.

Duration: 2 hours 20 mins

3

The Play That Goes Wrong

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under £50

The Play That Goes Wrong 1
The Play That Goes Wrong 2
The Play That Goes Wrong 3

The Play That Goes Wrong is an Olivier Award winning show that takes the concept of “playception” a step further with errors within errors in the play within a play. Disarmingly funny and well-acted, this show is a definite must-watch if high-concept comedies are your thing.

The show mounted a production at the Duchess Theatre in 2014 and following a very successful run, also moved to Broadway in 2017. The West End production is led by a stellar cast including Lindsey Scott, Daniel Poyser, Jack Baldwin, and Fred Gray.

Duration: 2 hours 5 mins

4

The Woman in Black

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under £50

The Woman in Black 1
The Woman in Black 2
The Woman in Black 3

Premiering in 1989, The Woman in Black is one of the most unique theatre experiences in the world, involving a heady blend of suspense, drama, and bold stagecraft. Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story is brought to life on stage in Stephen Mallatratt’s effectively eerie adaptation. The terrifying show employs just two actors to create the haunting atmosphere.

Taking the form of a play within a play, an old man employs an initially skeptical young actor to help him tell a story that "must be told." The two men set about rehearsing the story of The Woman in Black with the younger actor playing Arthur Kipps and the older actor playing all the other characters.

Duration: 2 hours

5

Witness For The Prosecution

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under £50

Witness for the Prosecution 1
Witness for the Prosecution 2
Witness for the Prosecution 3

Witness for the Prosecution is a critically acclaimed crime drama that will have you at the edge of your seat. Written by renowned author Agatha Christie, the play brings to you an intriguing story of justice, passion, and betrayal, that unfolds in a tense courtroom setting. Leonard Vole has been accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. With compelling evidence against him and shocking witness testimonies, Leonard faces the death sentence unless he can convince the jury of his innocence.

Directed by Lucy Bailey, the play will be staged in a unique courtroom setting inside County Hall, where the audience will be placed at the centre of the action within the courtroom. The play originally opened in October 2017, and opened again on 10th April 2019, and will run till 29th March 2020.

Duration: 2 hours 15 mins

6

As You Like It

Run Time

26 Oct 2019 - 18 Jan 2020

Price

£51 - £100

As You Like It 1
As You Like It 2
As You Like It 3

As You Like It is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, brought to life at London’s West End. A romantic drama ideal for your date nights, it is filled with romance, politics, injustice, and forgiveness. Directed by Kimberly Sykes, who captures the joy of falling in love, along with comedy, and some puppetry and storytelling, very passionately on the stage.

The cast includes David Ajao as Orlando and Lucy Phelp playing Rosalind. The story begins with Duke Frederick banishing Duke Senior from his kingdom, into the Forest of Arden. We then discover how the Forest of Arden plays an important site where all the characters reunite and the rest of the story unfolds. This play will surely leave you in splits!

Duration: 2 hours 56 minutes

7

Touching the Void

Run Time

9 Nov 2019 - 29 Feb 2020

Price

Under £50

Touching the Void 1
Touching the Void 2
Touching the Void 3

The famous book named ‘Touching the Void’ was written by a mountaineer, Joe Simpson in 1985. It talks about the tales of despair and bravery as Joe and Simon Yates escape from their misery amdist the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. It has everything from moral anguish and incredible fortitude, as the characters battle the odds and survive.

Fifteen years later, David Greig converted this story into a documentary which won the Best British Film award at the 2003 BAFTAs. Tom Norris is the director of this play, showcasing his unique style in this story and the tense atmosphere leaves the audience on the edge of their seats!

Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes

Location

Duke of York's Theatre
Seating Plan ›

8

The Man in the White Suit

Run Time

26 Sep 2019 - 11 Jan 2020

Price

Under £50

The Man in the White Suit
 1
The Man in the White Suit 2
The Man in the White Suit 3

The original Man in the White Suit movie was 1951’s most critically acclaimed satirical comedy film. It was even nominated for an Academy Award. This movie stirred up an entire generation after its release. Sean Foley, an incredibly talented director, brought forth this movie as a fabulous stage adaptation.

Starring award-winning actors, Kara Tointon playing Daphne’s role and Stephen Mangan as Sidney Stratton. With Stratton playing a former Cambridge scholar and research chemist, it revolves around the idea of a common man like himself battling the establishment. What follows is a truly sublime story that asks important questions about human greed, the role of science, and our responsibility as consumers.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes


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