Best plays in London: from Macbeth to An Enemy of the People

Best plays in London View Of Empty Chairs In Auditorium

by Arabella Horspool |
Updated on

Don’t fancy watching a musical in London? Well, London's West End has plenty of theatrical experiences to offer. Here, at Yours, we’re sharing the best plays in London right now. You have a dazzling evening ahead of you. We have included our favourite hits: from long-running plays like Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap to must-see shows with limited seasons like An Enemy of the People and Plaza Suite.

When you visit the theatre, you will join stars like James Norton, Cush Jumbo and Matt Smith on the West End.

It’s important to support shows and theatres when you can. Sorely missed throughout the pandemic, theatre, as an industry, has undoubtedly had a tough few years. Luckily, the West End has a fabulous selection of plays open currently, as well as some exciting productions that are scheduled to open soon. We couldn’t resist putting them in here either.

Maybe you'll find something you'll really love or revisit an adaption of a timeless classic.

The best plays in London 2024

Faulty Towers

©London Theatre Direct

If you grew up watching Fawlty Towers, you can relive your youth and catch Basil and the gang in one of the best comedy plays in London. It has been adapted by John Cleese (aka Basil Fawlty himself).

It's on at the Apollo Theatre and tickets are available for just £25. You can visit between the 4th May 2024 to the 28th September 2024.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

©Manuel Harlan

Harry Potter returns! 19 years after the battle of Hogwarts in the second wizarding war, this play marks itself as the official continuation of the beloved story of Harry and his friends. Coming in two parts, this show sees the characters we know as adults. Now, Harry is now an employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three children. Whilst Harry struggles with work and his past, his son struggles to be part of a family legacy. Then, the darkness comes.

One reviewer said: "Totally worth it. Worth the time and the money. The production, music and the stage design resembles the story with the lights and elements coming out everywhere in the theatre, not only the stage. It is without a doubt the best play I have ever seen."

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing at the Palace Theatre, booking until March 2025. Tickets start from £32.

My Neighbour Totoro

You will not want to miss the world premiere of this incredible stage adaptation from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Based on the cult classic animated Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro, this new production comes to London’s Barbican for a limited 15-week run. Tickets for this stunning new adaptation are expected to be in high demand. My Neighbour Totoro tells the story of sisters Satsuki and Mei and one remarkable summer in their lives.

One reviewer said: "An utterly breathtaking production. Undeniably the best theatre experience ever, this show is attributable to all ages ranges. I defy anyone not to fall in love with Totoro!"

My Neighbour Totoro is playing at the Barbican until March 2024. Tickets start from £33.

Witness for the Prosecution

©Ellie Kurttz

If you've seen The Mousetrap already, why not catch another Christie mystery? Agatha Christie's stage play follows protagonist Leonard Vole, who has been accused of killing a widow. A lot is at stake in this court case and only time will tell whether Leonard can convince the jury and you, the audience, that he is an innocent man.

Looks like you've been summoned for jury duty...

One reviewer said: "From the moment that the players take to the stage, you are gripped by the characters. As time progresses and the scenes in and out of the court unfold, you are on the edge of your seat. Everything and everyone is so compelling. An amazing experience."

Witness for the Prosecution is playing at London County Hall until 30th March 2025. Tickets start from £15.

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong has won so many awards, including the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. So successful, they've made a second theatre show - and TV show. The Play That Goes Wrong is a must-see, smash-hit. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery. But, everything that can go wrong... does! The actors fight against all odds to make it through to take their final bows - with hilarious consequences in-store.

One reviewer said: "We laughed so hard! What a fun night! I’m hoarse this morning from laughing so much! That is the only disadvantage! We were in the fourth row in the stalls so we could see all the action vividly. An excellent night of theatre!"

The Play That Goes Wrong is at the Duchess Theatre, booking from June 2021 until the 4 May 2025. Tickets start from £19.


©ATG Tickets

David Tennant and Cush Jumbo (who have previously worked together on the Channel 4 drama, Deadwater Fell) star in the return of Macbeth, which has transferred over from its Donmar Theatre run in 2023. Directed by Max Webster, the story has been refreshed and masterfully partnered with immersive sound design and live Celtic folk music, which is played through headphones that the theatre will provide you with.

It's running from the 1st October to the 14 Dec 2024 and you can get tickets here, but you better be quick!

A Raisin in the Sun


When the Younger family's father dies, each person has a different idea about how the life insurance policy could change their lives and help them to escape the confines of a segregated society.

This is one of the best cheap plays in London right now. Go and see it at the Lyric Hammersmith, where tickets start from just £12. It's running in October and November 2024.

An Enemy of the People

Best plays in London
©ATG Tickets

Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) stars in this modern reimagining of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, by Thomas Ostermeier.

When Dr. Stockmann makes a scientific discovery about the so-called healing waters of the local baths, he holds the town's future in his hands. He must go up against those with everything to lose as the battle goes beyond contaminated water.

Smith's co-stars include Jessica Brown Findlay, Paul Hilton, Priyanga Burford, Zachary Hart, Shubham Saraf and Nigel Lindsay, as well as a super-cute Alsatian!

Reviewed by our Commercial Content Writer, Arabella Horspool: "One thing I would take from this production is the use of music - I currently have David Bowie's 'Changes' and Stand By Me' by Oasis stuck in my head - as well as the way they smoothly and efficiently changed the set. The interactive element was an excellent addition, as it forced us as an audience to ponder political and moral questions and made us part of the play, rather than innocent bystanders."



Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List, Harry Potter) and Indira Varma (Game Of Thrones, Obsession) star in a new production of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Initially in Liverpool, Edinburgh and Washington DC, it is now back in the capital as one of the best plays to see in London.

If you'd like to catch this play, it's at Dock X from the 10th February to the 30th March 2024.

Plaza Suite


This romantic comedy play stars Hollywood legend Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who play three different couples who stay at an iconic hotel.

Find this play at the Savoy Hotel from the 17th January to 13th April 2024.

The Motive and the Cue

©Mark Douet

Sam Mendes (1917, Spectre) directs The Motive and the Cue, a production about what happened behind the scenes in one of the best theatre plays in London - Richard Burton and John Gielgud’s Hamlet.

It was previously on at the National Theatre, but you can now watch it at the Noel Coward Theatre from 9th December until 23 March 2024. It's suitable for ages 12+.

A reviewer said: "The performances were outstanding. Two very familiar speeches from Hamlet, To Be or Not to Be and Speak the Speech, were both given freshness and vitality from Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss respectively. Gatiss’s performance in particular was incredibly moving, with a painful vulnerability. Flynn’s Burton was spot on, without ever turning into a caricature. In fact, both of the leads stopped being the actors they are and became the actors they were playing instead—Gielgud and Burton."

Best plays in the UK

If you live outside of the capital or you're unable to see any of the best plays on in London, there are plenty of great theatrical experiences to be had elsewhere in the country. Here are some of our favourites:

Love's Labour's Lost

©Royal Shakespeare Company

Four men decide to commit to a vow of abstinence, study and self-improvement to reach their full potential - that is, until a Princess and her friends arrive and the temptation of love and companionship pushes their original plan to its limits...

It was very fitting seeing this play in Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace) during the weekend that his birthday was being celebrated as it certainly added to the atmosphere. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the play, I have to say that the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is absolutely stunning, especially the auditorium.

It's a whimsical production with fantastic set design, snazzy costumes and humour a-plenty. Berowne is played by Bridgerton's Luke Thompson, who seems to recite Shakespeare's verse with such naturalness as if it were written by him himself. Other standout performances include Melanie-Joyce Bermudez as the Princess, as well as Jack Bardoe as the passionate Don Armado and Iskander Eaton (Moth) who are an upbeat comedy duo.

You don't have to know much about Shakespeare before watching this modern retelling of one of his earliest comedies. this refreshingly contemporary take will be playing from the 11th April to the 18th May 2024. Tickets range from £8 to £67.60.

Where can I watch the best plays in London?

Not everyone is able to get to the West End to witness fantastic theatre, perhaps due to costs or long travel times, but thankfully, there are other ways to see the best theatrical plays in London.

National Theatre Live

You can witness some the best plays in London's West End on the big screen, thanks to National Theatre Live. It's a great service that allows fans of theatre to watch live recordings of sold-out runs and popular shows in a cinema, whilst still maintaining that magic and sense of community that comes with a theatre visit.

National Theatre Home

If you prefer to watch shows from the comfort of your own home, the National Theatre run a service called National Theatre Home, where you can sign up and subscribe to watch pre-recorded shows from years gone-by. It includes the likes of Nicola Walker in The Corn is Green (which we watched at the Lyttelton Theatre and absolutely loved), Fleabag and King Lear with Ian McKellen.

It's a great educational tool too, particularly for students who are studying plays which aren't currently running in any theatres near them.

Our favourite plays of 2023

A Little Life

Best plays in London
©Jan Versweyveld

Dubbed the most heart-breaking book of all time, Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life was adapted for the stage. Set in New York, it followed the story of four college friends as they went through the ups and (mainly) downs of life, their worlds pivoting together through their love of Jude St. Francis, a man shrouded in mystery.

It starred a stellar cast, including James Norton as Jude, Luke Thompson as Willem, Omari Douglas as JB and Zach Wyatt as Malcom.

Reviewed by our Commercial Content Writer, Arabella Horspool: "Running at 3 hours and 40 minutes with lots of graphic scenes, this play isn't for everyone. However, if you have read up on the trigger warnings and feel comfortable going, you'll witness some of the best on-stage performances that the West End has to offer. Putting themselves through such a physical and emotionally demanding show 8 times a week must be no easy feat, but the cast seems to do this with such poise. The onstage seating was incredible; to be within touching distance from the characters you love so much was very surreal and it stays true to the text. Don't forget to bring your tissues!"


plays in london
©ATG tickets

The king of theatreland, Andrew Scott returned to the stage with Vanya, a one-man play based on the work of famous playwright Anton Chekhov. He took on all of the roles, which was no mean feat and it was certainly not a play that avid theatre fans should've missed!

Reviewed by our Commercial Content Writer, Arabella Horspool: "Walking into the theatre, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, I had researched what the play was about but was intrigued as to how one man would logistically play all eight characters."

"Safe to say, after a few minutes, I was hooked. Each character has their own little quirks and voice, which Andrew Scott seems to flit between effortlessly, and you strangely find yourself looking at the blank space as if there were a real person he was talking to."

The Crucible

Best plays in London

A visual masterpiece, this tragedy was set in Salem as a witch hunt begins, after life-altering accusations have been made. If you're a fan of stark and shocking theatre, you should've seen this stunning Arthur Miller reimagining.

Reviewed by our Commercial Content Writer, Arabella Horspool: "When making your way to your seat and sat waiting for the show to start, you cannot help but be transfixed by the shower of water that cascades in front of the stage. It is extremely immersive and sets the scene for what's to come.

The play itself was very intense, with characters turning against each other left, right and centre. Although the subject matter is rather grim, there are a few comedic lines which provide light relief."


Best plays in London

Kristin Scott Thomas played Elaine, a talented but reclusive actress who stepped away from it all in mysterious circumstances. 30 years later, she was ready to tell her story and she summoned Kate, a young film executive (played by Lily James) to help her with her comeback.

The Pillowman

Best plays in London

Those who are enthralled by black comedies will want to see The Pillowman. Set in a totalitarian state, some murders take place which are strikingly similar to the words of a writer.

After recently making her West End debut, Lily Allen starred in this revival of the Olivier-winning play with Steve Pemberton.

The Great Gatsby

A trip back in time to the roaring twenties! Jay Gatsby invited you to one of his parties. In this immersive experience, lots of drama unfolded in the hottest show in town. Visitors were encouraged to dress to the nines and immerse themselves into this adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald’s popular story.

Arabella Horspool is a Commercial Content Writer for Yours at Bauer Media. She's a bookworm who enjoys cooking and spending time with her many pets.

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