10 Theatre Shows To Catch In London's West End - Summer 2022

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 22 months ago
10 Theatre Shows To Catch In London's West End - Summer 2022

A look ahead to the big shows on the London stage this summer. This article includes some affiliate links.

1. My Fair Lady, London Coliseum

Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins and Amara Okereke as Eliza Doolittle grinning, back to back
Amara Okereke stars as Eliza Doolittle, and Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins. Image: Hugo Glendinning.

Amara Okereke plays plucky Cocker-ney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, who proves more than a match for the pompous elocutionist Henry Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton) in this fresh-off-Broadway production of the Lerner/Loewe musical. Expect a Disneyfied London with top hats and wheelbarrows galore — plus some absolutely loverly tunes. London Coliseum, tickets from £24, until 27 August 2022

2. Henry VIII, Shakespeare's Globe

A poster for Henry VIII with a baby playing with a mace and crown
Shakespeare through the eyes of women.

Shakespeare's tale of a self-serving king wreaking havoc across the country for the sake of a child heir, is told from a female perspective this summer — thanks to additional writing from Hannah Khalil, direction from Amy Hodge, and a cast including Bea Segura as Queen Katharine, Natasha Cottriall as Princess Mary and Janet Etuk as Anne Bullen. A very special version is staged on 18 June, to mark 25 years of the theatre (well, the modern replica anyway). Shakespeare's Globe, tickets from £8, until 21 October 2022

3. Grease The Musical, Dominion Theatre

Peter Andre in a leopardskin coat on stage with the cast of Grease
You can almost smell the Brylcreem. Image: Manuel Harlan

Tell me more, tell me more... OK we will! You can almost smell the Brylcreem, as this 1950s-era musical struts into town, like Sandy in that leather jacket. Nikolai Foster's production of Grease proffers no less than Mr Peter Andre making his West End debut as the slimy Vince Fontaine. Critics may ah and um, but longtime fans will be unable to stay seated while doing the high notes for Summer Nights. Dominion Theatre, tickets from £18, until 29 October 2022

4. The Glass Menagerie, Duke of York's Theatre

Poster bill for the show featuring Amy Adams
Hollywood comes to the West End, courtesy of Amy Adams.

Tennessee Williams' debut play, as told through the recollections of the narrator, Tom, comes to Duke of York's Theatre — with Amy Adams in the role of Amanda Wingfield, a jaded Southern belle obsessed with finding her daughter a suitor. Williams' most autobiographical play lingers with all the wonderfully pent-up emotion/awkwardness you could want. Duke of York's Theatre, tickets from £24, 23 May-17 August 2022

5. Mad House, Ambassadors Theatre

Two men in dressing gowns - one lights a cigarette for the other (who is also on a drip)
David Harbour and Bill Pullman star in Mad House.

Theresa Rebeck's new black comedy about a man who returns home to look after his dying father (and by look after, we mean provide him with smokes), followed by his money-grabbing siblings, attracted the talents of David Harbour and Bill Pullman. They play the son and father, respectively in this much-awaited staging. Ambassadors Theatre, tickets from £30, 15 June-4 September 2022

6. Disney's Beauty and the Beast, London Palladium

Belle and the Beast raise glasses across the table
Image: Johan Persson

The latest Disney stalwart to get the West End stage treatment, Beauty and the Beast pulls together members of the original Broadway creative team (it was first staged in NYC almost 30 years ago), who invite Londoners to 'be our guest'. This is a touring show — also hitting Manchester, Bristol and Dublin — so maybe don't expect the swoonworthy genius of, say, the Lion King. But the kids will be waltzing round the kitchen (and talking to candlesticks) for weeks after. London Palladium, tickets from £20, 24 June-17 September 2022

7. The Seagull, Harold Pinter Theatre

Close ups of the actors in the plays, including Emilia Clarke
Creatives struggle to find inner peace in The Seagull.

There's more A-lister power on the bill for The Seagull, with Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke taking on the role of Nina — one of the writer/actor characters struggling to find happiness in Anton Chekhov's masterpiece. Tom Rhys Harries, Daniel Monks and Sophie Wu also appear in this bleak landscape of broken dreams and shattered hearts. (maybe go and watch Grease afterwards to cheer yourself up.) Harold Pinter Theatre, tickets from £18, 29 June-10 September

8. The Southbury Child, Bridge Theatre

Alex Jennings in glasses and a dog collar
Alex Jennings plays a maverick vicar in Stephen Beresford's darkly comic play.

A maverick vicar finds himself ostracised from the community and his family, after an incident involving novelty balloons at a family funeral. The role of the boozy, quick-witted man of the cloth, is taken on by Alex Jennings — who you might recognise as the slick Mr Lockhart in the BBC's This Is Going To Hurt. The premise of this oddball script by Stephen Beresford (who penned the film Pride) has certainly got our attention... Bridge Theatre, tickets from £15, 1 July-27 August

9. Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show, The Roundhouse

A couple of figures is bright costumes with feather plumes
A cabaret-esque romp through the career of Jean Paul Gaultier. Image: Luke Austin.

This autobiographical cabaret-esque romp through the career of French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier was last on stage at the Southbank Centre in 2019. Now, it's back in beefed-up form — this time at the Roundhouse in Camden — bristling with an orgy of models, actors, circus acts, dancers — anyone vibrant enough to partake in this joyously flamboyant parade. Note: you probably don't come to this sort of thing for the cleverly-crafted plot. The Roundhouse, tickets from £18, 15 July-28 August

10. Sister Act: The Musical, Eventim Apollo London

The cast in their habits
Beverley Knight leads a heavenly cast in Sister Act.

We almost fell off our pew when we heard Whoopi Goldberg was set to reprise her role as sassy nightclub singer-turned-nun, Deloris Van Cartier. Alas, the pandemic put the kibosh on that, but Deloris will now be played by the mega talented soul singer Beverley Knight — and with comical backup featuring the likes of Jennifer Saunders and Lesley Joseph, this could be a heavenly stage production of everyone's fave 1990s singing nun caper. Eventim Apollo London, tickets from £32, 19 July-28 August 2022

Last Updated 06 June 2022

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