Welcome to the first instalment of our updated What’s On Stage In London series, where we’ll be looking at the month ahead to give you our pick of new openings. Organised by (very general) category and opening date, we hope this will allow you to browse and book ahead of time so you don’t miss out on seeing your favourite London shows. Useful? Missing something? Pile of crap? Please let us know.
They never go out of fashion: Shakespeare, Molière, Sophocles and Beckett.
4 Jan – Hamlet at New Diorama Theatre – Award-wining young theatre company The Faction take on this Shakespeare classic. £16/£13, until 22 Feb
7 Jan – Tartuffe at Lion and Unicorn Theatre - This adaptation of Jean-Baptiste Molière’s 17th century theatrical comedy surrounds a family up in arms over the presence of a new, mysterious “friend”. £15/£12, until 18 Jan
9 Jan – Thebes at New Diorama Theatre - The Faction also take on Oedipus’ Thebes, weaving together Sophocles and Aeschylus to present the full, bloody account. £16/£13, until 22 Feb
9 Jan – The Duchess of Malfi at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – Gemma Arterton plays the title role in this production, the first in the Globe’s new indoor theatre the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. £7/£5, until 16 Feb
13 Jan – Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby at Royal Court Theatre – Lisa Dwan returns to the Royal Court Theatre to perform a one-woman Samuel Beckett trilogy. £10-£25, until 18 Jan
14 Jan – Oedipus Retold at Tristan Bates Theatre – We’re back in Thebes for a retelling of Oedipus Tyrannos by Jeremy Kingston performed alongside Jeremy’s original work, Oedipus At The Crossroads. £16/£14, until 8 Feb
16 Jan – Othello: The Moor of Venice at Riverside Studios - Orangutan Productions bring Shakespeare to Hammersmith. £16/£14, until 8 Feb
19 Jan – Mapping Beckett at the Cockpit - Mapping Beckett looks at a range of writers from the Beckettian mind-map. The run starts with Shakespeare and is followed by an open discussion. £7, until 14 Sept
23 Jan – King Lear at National Theatre - The National Theatre does the classics beautifully, and we’re sure this production of King Lear, with Simon Russell Beale as the lead, will be no different. £12-£50, until 25 March
28 Jan – Hamlet at Barons Court Theatre - another Hamlet adaptation, this time by Nick Pelas. £12-£14, until 2 Feb
30 Jan - Happy Days at Young Vic – Olivier Award-winning stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson takes on one of the great roles in Samuel Beckett’s surreal masterpiece, directed by Natalie Abrahami. £10-£35, until 8 March
Bollywood, China Gansu Dance Troupe, flamenco and beautiful ballet.
9 Jan – Le Corsaire at London’s Coliseum (pictured) – Swashbuckling pirates, betrayals and ballet combine at this English National Ballet production. £45-£74.50, until 19 Jan
11 Jan – Silk Road at Peacock Theatre - Taking inspiration from the Dunhuang murals and the history of the Silk Road, the China Gansu Dance Troupe tell a story of friendship and peace between Chinese people and foreign merchants during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). £17.50-£40.50, until 12 Jan
18 Jan – Giselle at Royal Opera House - One of the greatest romantic ballets, Peter Wright’s production of Marius Petipa’s classic is a tale of betrayal, supernatural spirits and true love. £5-£95, until 10 Feb
30 Jan – What’s Become Of You? at Barbican - The story of one woman’s immersion into the world of flamenco, with accompanying traditional live vocals and guitar. £16-£28, until 1 Feb
30 Jan – Merchants of Bollywood at Peacock Theatre - Charting the history of the world’s largest and most prolific film industry, Bollywood is back at Peacock Theatre after an acclaimed international tour. £18-£45, until 15 Feb
30 Jan - Men in Motion at London’s Coliseum – For two nights only, Royal Ballet Principal bring Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion to London’s Coliseum, celebrating the male dancer’s ability and paying homage to works created for the male dancer over the last century. £65-£79, until 31 Jan
From Butlins to Downton Abbey.
9 Jan – Isy Suttie’s Love Letters at Pleasance Theatre - a work in progress show featuring love stories and song from musical comic and actress Isy Suttie. £5, until 17 Jan.
9 Jan – Don Gil of the Green Breeches at Arcola – a 17th century comedy by Tirso de Molina which blends mistaken identity, role-reversal, ghosts and green trousers. New translation by Sean O’Brien. £14-£18, until 15 March
21 Jan – The Ugly Sister at Soho Theatre - a “sinister and sensuous” cabaret that dares to tell the “real” story of Cinderella. £12.50-£20, until 2 Feb
22 Jan – Shang-a-Lang at King’s Head Theatre – A comic look at friendship and reaching “a certain age”, as two friends go for a pick-me-up weekend at Butlins. Written by Catherine Johnson, who also wrote international stage and screen smash Mamma Mia! £15-£25, until 15 Feb
28 Jan – The Only Way is Downton at Trafalgar Studios – Luke Kempner’s impressions comedy comes to London in a parody of Downton Abbey. £20-£30, until 22 Feb
31 Jan – Addicted to Everything at Soho Theatre – more Downton Abbey, this time from comedy duo Guilt & Shame and mixed up with sex, drugs, partying, pornography and, um, bestaility. Yikes.
Musicals & Opera
Treat your ears with Ivor Novello, Massenet and Britten.
5 Jan – Valley of Song at Finborough Theatre – Ivor Novello’s very last musical, Valley of Song, is an homage to his homeland, Wales, and the music of his youth. £18/£16, until 25 Jan
14 Jan – Manon at Royal Opera House – A young girl longing for love is corrupted by wealth and luxury in Massenet’s classic opera, directed by Laurent Pelly. £7-£160, until 4 Feb
29 Jan – Peter Grimes at London’s Coliseum – David Alden’s five-star sell-out production of Britten’s beautiful opera. Only £91-£125 tickets remaining, until 27 Feb
Think you’ve already seen it all? Give these more unusual productions a go.
6 Jan – Don Quijote at Camden People’s Theatre – An exploration of Cervantes’ novel, as part of Camden People’s Theatre’s Starting Blocks scheme. Combining visual imagery, anarchic performance and original music, each performance the title role will be played by a secret guest performer. £8/£10, until 25 Jan
8 Jan – The London International Mime Festival at various venues – We have included some of this annual festival’s shows elsewhere in this list (What’s Become Of You?, The Dead, Anatomia Publica) but the entire festival deserves a mention too. With over 25 days of contemporary theatre coming to London from around the world, there are plenty of unusual performances to choose from,. Until 1 Feb
10 Jan – The Day Shall Declare It at Theatre Delicatessen’s Marylebone space – Drawing on the lesser known short plays by Tennessee Williams, The Day Shall Declare It was created by LA theatre company Wilderness who create theatre in LA’s many abandoned spaces. Now the production will be performed in one of London’s own found spaces, the former BBC London premises at 35 Marylebone High Street. £15/£12, until 31 Jan
14 Jan – RETOLD at The Space – RETOLD presents darkly comic, thought-provoking, contemporary renditions of three traditional fairytales: Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White. £9/£7, until 18th Jan
21 Jan – Anatomia Publica at Barbican – Highly skilled performers use physical storytelling to tell the tale of a soldier, missing in action and presumed dead, who returns home to find his wife is remarried and living with another man. £16, until 25 Jan.
Focused, thoughtful or hard-hitting, these productions look set to provide high drama.
7 Jan – Women of Twilight at White Bear Theatre - Sylvia Rayman’s all-women play returns to the White Bear after a highly successful run in October of this year. £14/£10, until 26 Jan
8 Jan – Keepsake at Old Red Lion Theatre – The world premiere of award-winning American playwright Gregory Beam, Keepsake tells the story of two sisters who attempt to reconnect following their father’s suicide. £10-£16, until 25 Jan
10 Jan – Only Our Own at Arts Theatre – Follows the Irish war of independence, and one nation’s journey from a highly polarised society to a modern integrated one. £15-£29.50, until 1 Feb
14 Jan - Ciphers at Bush Theatre – director Blanche McIntyre reunites with Dawn King for this story of a sister who stumbles into a world of secrets following the death of her sister. £10/£15, until 8 Feb
14 Jan - Cuckoo at Unicorn Theatre - “Erica used to go on research trips to the Congo, now all she has is Woman’s Hour, Waitrose and wearisome dinner parties. Then one morning she discovers her daughter’s new and only friend sitting in the kitchen and life gets interesting”. £10-£16, until 25 Jan
14 Jan - Flight at Jack Studio Theatre – Mikhail Bulgakov’s play, adapted by Howard Colyer, follows the fate of a small group of Russians from the Crimea to Paris, as the Civil War comes to an end. It is a tragic comedy that was never staged during the life of its author due to the opposition of Stalin. £14/£11, until 1 Feb
16 Jan – Blurred Lines at The Shed - A journey through the minefield of contemporary gender politics, with songs, at National Theatre’s excellent pop-up venue. £12/£20, until 22 Feb
21 Jan – A Dolls House at The London Theatre – Bromley Little Theatre presents Samuel Adamson’s version of the most re-mastered play in history. £12.50, until 26 Jan
22 Jan – What The Women Did at Southwark Playhouse – A triple bill of short plays written during and about the First World War seen from the point of view of the women left to fight the war at home. £18/£16, until 15 Feb
25 Jan – The Robbers at New Diorama Theatre – The Faction are back again for a fierce, fast and furious exploration of modern masculinity. £16/£13, until 22 Feb
28 Jan – The Dead at Barbican – Published 100 years ago, The Dead is a James Joyce short story, now reinvented by Italian theatre-makers, Città di Ebla. £16, until 1 Feb
The more unusual subject matters: a ghost story, a personal look at social workers, a woman who gives birth to a grizzly bear. Hey, we said unusual.
16 Jan – The Weir at Wyndham’s Theatre – Following the critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Donmar Warehouse, this modern ghost story transfers to Wyndham’s Theatre for twelve weeks only. £12-£87, until 19 April
17 Jan – The Pass at Royal Court Theatre – A new story about sex, fame, football and how much you’re willing to lose in order to win. £20, until 1 March
22 Jan – Rapture, Blister, Burn at Hampstead Theatre – Gina Gionfriddo dissects modern gender politics in this breathtakingly witty and virtuosic comedy, starring Emilia Fox. £15-£32, until 22 Feb
28 Jan - Bear at Old Red Lion Theatre – “The tragedy of a woman who gave birth to a grizzly bear’, apparently. £15/£13, until 23 Feb
28 Jan - Carthage at Finborough Theatre - Carthage is a personal response by social worker and playwright Chris Thompson to ten years of managing risk and intervening in other people’s lives. £14-£18, until 22 Feb
29 Jan – Red Velvet at Tricycle Theatre – The multi award-winning production which became one of the must-see shows of 2012 returns to the Tricycle for a limited run prior to its New York transfer. We are really excited about this and there are only a few tickets remaining so book quick! £12-£30, until 15 March
And don’t forget about the brilliant Get Into London Theatre scheme which, between 1 January and 13 February 2014, offers heavily reduced tickets to over 45 top London shows, including The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Swan Lake.
What are you planning on seeing on stage in London this January? Any of the above tickle your fancy? Seeing something not listed here? Tell us in the comments below.