Review: Sleeping Beauty

If you care for ballet and you’re not in Covent Garden every month, see this.


Review: Turning the Screw

This six-hander is a 90-minute announcement of a major talent. An almost flawless play.


Review: King Lear

This smouldering production – fast-talking or timeless - fully engages with the play. It makes almost perfect sense: and two families’ DNA ring true as rarely before.


Review: Oliver!

You’re not going to see anything this special in most (if any) revivals, however luxury-cast. In stripping-back, then regrowing a complete ensemble with even lesser songs, this is the most complete Oliver! we’re likely to see.


Review: Just For One Day

Despite history’s caveats, O’Farrell’s core message isn’t about white saviours or pop stars but how ordinary people unite to change things.


Review: Before After

A pristine, heartwarming Valentine of a musical, it fully deserves its revival


Review: Till the Stars Come Down

Even this early, it’s safe to predict we’ll look back at the end of 2024 and proclaim it as one of the year’s finest.


Review: Othello

With institutional racism and trauma compounded in a feedback loop, this Othello’s a timely, and timeless broadside on everything toxic we inhale and expel as venom.


Review: For Entertainment Purposes Only

Philip Ayckbourn’s songs are the heart of this collection. It’d be thrilling to see a full musical here; and staged in London. Enthusiastically recommended, there’s gems, with more of Ayckbourn’s elegiac sensibility than I’ve ever seen. More of this please.


Review: Cowbois

Cranford’s gone Wild West, via the Court and RSC. Cowbois is of course daft. But it’s magnificent in its silliness, contains wonderful – and truthful – moments. Deadly serious can have you rolling in the aisles and still jump up for the revolution.


Review: Boy In Da Korma

A necessary, engaging, original variation on finding your voice: and a theatrical coup. Acting, writing, directing, video, lighting and tech support, indeed singing are first class. A gem.


Review: The Good John Proctor

A valuable corrective to anticipate both real events and Arthur Miller’s take on Abigail Williams


Review: Protest Song

Tim Price’s magnificent one-man play reminds us – yells at us - how much we’re all connected, and unless we stand together, how much we lose.


Review: Cold War

Cold War ends with a draining-out of hope in Anya Chalotra and Luke Thallon; a desolate beauty the cast certainly earn.


Review: Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz

Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz is neither complex or fiendishly plotted. But it’s very witty, linguistically inventive and light-hearted: so its downside is highlighted.


Review: Tom’s Midnight Garden

An absolutely first-rate ensemble and they tell the story with all the wide-eyed wonder of a real enchantment, beyond Christmas, beyond, perhaps time. A gem.


Review: Odyssey: A Heroic Pantomime

This compact one hour 45 show must run again. The most inventive, best-written and possibly best-sung panto in Town.


Review: Oh What a Lovely War

Musically directed by Ellie Verkerk the six-strong cast play instruments throughout. They’re a phenomenal team, singing beautifully a capella or in solo. With six young actors mostly fresh out of drama school absolutely at the top of their first game, we’re treated to acting both hungry to prove and yet touched by the world they’ve entered. This is an outstanding production.


Review: She Stoops to Conquer

Tom Littler’s team reveal rare mettle and sincerity in a classic that can take some (if not all) updating. The 1930s must prove the very limits of belief in such class confusion, but this triumphs with the snap of a cracker, or (as here) the smash of Wedgwood. Outstanding.


Review: Mates in Chelsea

Mates in Chelsea is definitely worth seeing, and apart from adaptations surely the best thing this writer’s produced in a decade. Royal Court Theatre


Review: Passing

A mesmerising play, one that won’t fade and whose topicality will only reverberate more. The dialogue’s consummate and touching, the gradual reveals of blindness – and blandness - to racism on a memory-trip with a disastrous family album, releases a slow detonation of all that’s wrong still. One of my comedies of the year. Pretty outstanding.


Review: Greatest Days

It’s a one-stop night out to spot upcoming with established talent. Everything from costume-change to curtain-call is a kaleidoscope.


Review: Blood Brothers

This reinvigorated classic has overwhelming impact: as story, as lyric fable, as terrible moral for these distracted times.


Review: This Way For The Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

Based on the writing of poet Tadeusz Borowski and the paintings of Arnold Daghani This Way For The Gas bears explosive witness to shape the pulse of that post-Holocaust world. Bill Smith, Angi Mariano and their colleagues have wrought an enormous service. In the last great reprise of 'Never' we realise we're seeing the finale of an emerging masterpiece.


Review: Neil Crossland Piano Recital

Neil Crossland’s piano recital at the Unitarian Church, New Road Brighton is on another level. A programme of a Kuhlau Sonatina, Chopin late Polonaises, transcriptions of two Rachmaninov songs, a transcription of Mussorgski’s Night on a Bare Mountain; and encore by Manuel Ponce.


Review: Humble Boy

A revelatory production of what we must now think of as a small masterpiece, where Ayckbourn and Chekhov echoes recede to Charlotte Jones’ uniqueness. Jones really deserves her place in the forefront of contemporary dramatists. Humble Boy confirms its own place, pivotal to her oeuvre which has grown more robustly and cleverly than the flora or indeed bees that ululate to the end.


Review: Infamous

Emma Hamilton, mother and ward. Expect spats. Nine months since her National Theatre Kerry Jackson opened, April de Angelis arrives at Jermyn Street with the three-hander Infamous, directed by Michael Oakley, till October 7th. Even though the earlier play was staged in the smaller Dorfman, Infamous is chamber music by comparison. As in Kerry Jackson, De Angelis avoids tragedy where it clearly offers itself. The final two scenes though offer more; it’s piquant, momentarily uplifting, a little sad. And dramatically right it’s expressed in dance.


Review: As You Like It

It’s the trio of cousins and lover who ensure this production enjoys its fathoms-deep in love. An As You Like It with an inviting new prologue by Travis Alabanza, underscoring the forest’s healing as well as magical inversions; but shorn of its Epilogue. When you see how that Epilogue’s so rich in queerness and transgression it seems an own goal to the fluffier part of this production’s vibes.


Review: Henry V

A satisfying seasonal finale: a clear, engaging, visceral production with nothing vital lost. It’s as straight-down-the-martial line as outdoor productions of Henry V need to be.


Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist

The adage that farce is tragedy speeded up met its greatest progenitor in Dario Fo. In a ferocious new version by Tom Basden of Franca Rame’s and Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, directed by Daniel Raggett in a stunning production now at the Haymarket, the target here is squarely the London Met. And if you slowed down Basden’s brilliant, no-holds-unbludgeoned telling, details prove tragic enough.


Review: Romeo and Juliet

One of the finest OFS productions. Its velocity, tumbling comedy and bawdy, tragedy through lightning brawls, rapier-wit foiled in quicksilver, rapiers foiling wit, headlong teen despair, the exaltation of love flown in lyric sonnets and defying stars: it’s all here, principally because of three outstanding actors. The Romeo of newcomer Isabella Leung, who’s never played Shakespeare in her life, the return of Catie Ridewood as Juliet. And the return from that golden season of 2021: David Samson as Mercutio.


Review: A Mirror

This is a far more ambitious work than Sam Holcroft’s Rules For Living, and grounded in things she’s wished to write for a decade. It’s ingenious, necessary and occasionally at the end needs a tweak more to land. It’s still unmissable.


Review: Shakespeare in Love

You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James’ music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room – seamlessly transferred to an ampitheatre.


Review: The Taming of the Shrew

A slowly evolving, involving reading. Alex Louise can certainly develop this to a full-scale production. She just needs to take care of the script’s truth, though it seems contradictory. Confidence and imagination will soon sort that.


Review: The Oxford Gargoyles

University of Oxford jazz a cappella ensemble in an hour of impressive singing and joyful presentation


Review: The Imitator

Julián Fontalvo imitates the voices 70 famous singers as he tells his life story.


Review: Macbeth

The strangeness of this Macbeth wraps in those three Witches/Murderers plus Seyton, slowly perambulating their trolleys around. The eerie, in Schmool’s sustained chords, remains. The horror, elsewhere.


Review: Shakespeare in Love

You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James' music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room.


Review: When Winston Went to War With the Wireless

An absorbing, layered, superbly entertaining two-and-a-half hours that couldn’t be more relevant. Set against The Motive and the Cue, it also proves how history allows Jack Thorne to be even more versatile than we imagined.


Review: The Sound of Music

This is a top, not just first-rate cast; a riveting, rethought revival. There’s not a weak link - and some vocal surprises. The end is almost unbearably moving. Some still come over mountains as here, some in small boats. You might not feel the same about something you thought you knew. An outstanding revival.


Review: The Wind and the Rain

An outstanding must-see, and with Dancing at Lughnasa and, to a lesser extent Watch on the Rhine, The Wind and the Rain is the finest 20th century revival I’ve seen this year.


Review: The Madness of George III

Surely the Sarah Mann Company’s finest hour, overcoming the BOAT’s wondrous yet treacherous acoustics – and weather. Alan Bennet’s 1991 The Madness of George III is their most ambitious, most jaw-dropping production. This magnificent revival poses even more urgent questions. A twitch on the thread for all of us.


Review: Karen Wong and Lance Mok Flute and Piano Recital

Karen Wong’s strong rounded tone is beautifully centred. Lance Mok's playing of Prokofiev and Hindemith is rightly celebrated, as are both artists’ curiosity and desire to probe untapped repertoire.


Review: Then, Now and Next

The Book and Lyrics are peerless for this scale, or indeed anywhere: and we can only look forward to much more from Orton and Robyns. This is a heart-rending, heart-warming piece. Laughter certainly, tears, yes those too. The must-see musical of the summer.


Review: The Accrington Pals

Actors and director can take pride in mounting this intensely moving play, especially in the sheer flow they all bring to Act Two, blazing an arc of ever-growing tensions. It could carry anywhere. ACT did it some service, and must know it.


Review: Goodbye Jolene

A gentle tribute to singing, its people and touching disabilities that affect us all (in this case one in seven), it’s a major sixth in Siobhan Nicholas’ own augmented chord of plays. If you’re attracted by any of the themes, it’s a must-see, but it’s worth anyone’s 90 minutes.


Review: The Swell

An absorbing play, as breathtaking as one of its surfing epiphanies. The Swell will break over your head. Let it. You’ll come up for air changed. A small masterpiece.


Review: Dear England

There’s a sacramental thrill as you enter the NT’s Olivier: both sci-fi and ancient Greek. James Graham Dear England, directed by Rupert Goold, is like that: tackling something seen as almost too sacred, at once transcendent for many; but so impacted by nationalist hubris it’s become sclerotic. We enter the game at a historically pivotal moment. Where English football will never be the same. Outstanding.


Review: Tony!

There’s no doubt this is an offbeat, brilliant, rude, absolutely necessary musical. Its acid test will come from younger Millennials and Zoomers. But then that’s the point: the winners rewrite history. History has just struck back, and it’s a blast.


Review: Des Kapital

Revolutionary songs sung by a lusty audience in the heart of Hove. A revolution in itself. If you’ve any sympathy, antipathy or subversive sense of humour towards a way at laughing at history’s atrocities, and thinking there must be a better way - this is the show for you.


Review: Surfing the Holyland

A profoundly joyous and a joyously profound show, touching on all those issues of assimilation, marriage drift and acceptance; as well as self-discovery. For most of all as Erin Hunter brings out with sparkling wit and straight looks, this is about women’s agency. Dive in, you’ll surface with a whoop.


Review: I Love Michael Ball

Alexander Millington’s I Love Michael Ball is, in the words of one director, the absolute spirit of the Fringe. That is, brilliantly oddball, in fact deranged. Millington, wholly in command, is winningly able to return us to the sanity of sheer good singing. So make a date.


Review: A Brief List of Everyone Who Died

“Death is the most natural thing in the world.” Not to five—year-old Gracie, whose life of resistance as Gracie, Grace but mostly Graciela Jacob Marx Rice traces in A Brief List of Everyone Who Died. Yet again Finborough have mounted – and nurtured – a first-class work miles from larger fare that fades. Do rush to see it.


Review: Under the Kunde Tree

There’s much to learn here, and as theatrical spectacle this is the intimate intimating the epic. Clarisse Makundul has given us a powerful work, and I’d urge you to see it.


Review: Tony!

There’s no doubt this is an offbeat, brilliant, rude, absolutely necessary musical. Its acid test will come from younger Millennials and Zoomers. But then that’s the point: the winners rewrite history. History has just struck back, and it’s a blast.


Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

This is certainly the best attempt yet to revive this musical with a new accent, and the way to see this musical. With such a company, see it anyway. It’ll prod you with questions and send you singing for answers.


Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Enough questions with the child, cruelty and othering, to raise questions that don’t dissolve in a dream. Yet there’s light enough to resolve this too. A warmth between the lovers somehow drags us out from the mask of branches Terry revealingly doffs at the end. Absorbing and a must-see.


Review: The Way Old Friends Do

In a show celebrating the revival of friendship, twice, through the love of a non-binary ABBA tribute band, it’s good to know who you can rely on. You can rely on this scintillating, bittersweet play too. Absolutely recommended.


Review: Dancing at Lughnasa

A flawless cast and creative team gather to a point in Josie Rourke’s often meticulously faithful revival, and disperse. This is the only play this year I’d willingly see again soon. Outstanding.


Review: Strike!

An important work, not just for historical reasons; you’ll leave cheering.


Review: And Then They Came For Me

A multi-genre piece that can play anywhere, and needed now more than ever. Both to challenge denialists and most of all to illustrate the inhumanity of governments like ours towards refugees


Review: Sugar Coat

Essential theatre. Five singer-actors, memorably punchy music, witty and heartbreaking – most of all groundbreaking – storytelling. 90 minutes of this and you’ll know just what to do with the patriarchy.


Review: The Winter’s Tale

An enormously satisfying reading that happens to be groundbreaking. It’s Sean Holmes’ finest production yet.


Review: Heathers

Rethought, rejigged, bright with humour and shadowed with plangency, this is the Heathers we’re meant to have


Review: The Journey to Venice

Wiebke Green possesses the measure and tempo as well as delicacy of Bjorn Vik’s work. An exquisite gem worth seeing more than many larger, longer, louder shows.


Review: Titus Andronicus

One of the Globe’s most lucid recent productions; and the most consistently-realised aesthetic. It knows what it is: a stunningly thought-through, musically inspired production.


Review: Duet For One

Kempinski has crafted an enduring drama of what it’s like to lose the joy of a life worth living.


Review: Watch on the Rhine

Hellman’s uneasy drama, reaching out to our own quandaries, has answers that stay news. A must-see.


Review: Rocky Horror Show

The most lucid-voiced Rocky I’ve seen and on balance strongest cast for a long time. Two great reasons to return, or adventure for your first awakening on Planet Transexual.


Review: James and the Giant Peach

With memorable music and ensemble singing added to a first-rate BLT production, there’s no better Christmas show in town.


Review: Mother Goose

This is more than panto: it’s an affirmation of something that panto here welcomes in, in our time uniquely invoking layers as only Elizabethan/Jacobean drama can.


Review: 12:37

The Finborough produces marvels, though this one, without losing its dazzling, tight DNA, deserves the widest possible transfer.


Review: Henry V

Bracing, fresh, wholly re-thought in every line, emerging with gleaming power, menace and wit. And I defy anyone not to smile at this new take on Shakespeare’s downbeat ending.


Review: David Copperfield

A paean to live theatre; soaring seasonal spirit, struck with tenderness, joy, sorrow, plangent affirmation.


Review: Dinner With Groucho

McGuinness produces one of his finest works wrought from the sawdust of others and rendered it the burst of stars that irradiate the end.


Review: From Here to Eternity

Grabs you from the towards the close of Act One and doesn’t let go: from here to curtain we’re in heart-stopping eternity.


Review: Pericles

Kelly Hunter’s team have wrought a miracle of flight, realised by an outstanding cast who here at least, make us rank Pericles with Shakespeare’s other late Romances.