The 21 best new plays and musicals you can book tickets for in spring 2024

Dujonna Gift in Two Strangers (carry a cake through New York) – Marc Brenner

Withnail and me

Bruce Robinson has adapted his own beloved 1987 Brit film, about two squiffy, on-their-upstairs actors from the 1960s. Robert Sheehan plays the acerbic Richard E Grant role of Withnail, Adonis Siddique is his fresh-faced friend Marwood and Malcolm Sinclair plays the voluptuous Uncle Monty.

Sean Foley directs. Birmingham representative (, previews from May 3 to May 25

Viola’s room

Compelling pioneers Punchdrunk turn their London base into a laboratory, starting with a version of Barry Pain’s 1901 short story The Moon-Slave (adapted by Booker-shortlisted Daisy Johnson); groups of up to six people “find their way barefoot through a maze-like installation.”

One cartridge location, London SE18 (, May 22 to August 18

The Constituent

James Corden returns to the stage for the first time since his mega-success with One Man, Two Guvnors (2011) – and subsequent stardom in the United States – playing ‘a man in crisis’ who becomes an alarming presence in the life and constituency of an opposition MP (Anna Maxwell Martin). Matthew Warchus directs Joe “Blue/Orange” Penhall’s timely latest, which deals with the “landscape of increasing threat.”

Old Vic, London SE1 (, June 25 to August 10

A long day’s journey into the night

Jeremy Herrin revives Eugene O’Neill’s posthumously published masterpiece – an autobiographical portrait of an accusatory Connecticut family – with the coup casting of Succession star Brian Cox in the patriarchal role of fading actor James Tyrone, and Emmy-winning Patricia Clarkson as his morphine-addled wife Mary.

Wyndham’s Theatre, London, WC2 (, April 2 to June 8

Player Kings

Sir Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player KingsSir Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings

Sir Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings – Manuel Harlan

Robert Icke adapts Shakespeare’s exuberant, epic histories Henry IV, Parts I and II, starring Sir Ian McKellen – who played Falstaff at the age of 84 – and 26-year-old Toheeb Jimoh (who made his breakthrough in the BBC series Anthony), Playing Prince Hal.

Noel Coward, London WC2 (, previews from April 1 to June 22

London tide

Ben Power adapts Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, with songs by PJ Harvey and himself, directed by Ian Rickson. “This romantic and propulsive thriller is a hymn to London and the river that flows through it,” we are told.

National’s Lyttelton Theatre, London SE1 (, April 14 to June 22

The labor of love is lost

Love's Labor lost at the RSCLove's Labor lost at the RSC

Love’s Labor lost at the RSC

Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey’s first season as RSC Artistic Director offers bags to see, including a play about the 1997 Kyoto Summit. But first Emily Burns brings to life Shakespeare’s youthful comedy about unsustainable sexual abstinence, with Luke Thompson from Bridgerton makes his RSC debut as Berowne.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (, April 18 to May 18

Two strangers (carry a cake through New York)

This quirky, clever rom-com musical (by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan), which played at the Kiln last year, stars Dujonna Gift and Sam Tutty as the bride’s sister and the groom’s wide-eyed son . luggage to unpack as they cross the Big Apple with, yes, a wedding cake.

Criterion, London W1 (, April 23 to July 14

Minority report

Minority reportMinority report

Minority Report – Marc Brenner

David Haig (My Boy Jack) has had the commercially smart, thematically timely idea to stage Philip K Dick’s futuristic vision of pre-crime suspects (as made famous on screen by Spielberg/Cruise). Max Webster (Life of Pi) directs. The cast includes Jodie McNee and Nick Fletcher.

Text Hammersmith, London W6 (, April 24 to May 18

The deep blue sea

Tamsin Greig plays one of Terence Rattigan’s great roles: Hester Collyer, the preacher’s daughter and the judge’s wife, made miserable by a love affair with a restless ex-Battle of Britain pilot.

Lindsay Posner directs. Ustinov Studio, Theater Royal Bath (, May 1 to June 1

The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry OrchardThe Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard

Australian director Benedict Andrews of Firebrand has moved The Seagull to a holiday cabin Down Under and planted Three Sisters in a wasteland. Now he turns his attention to Chekhov’s last play, in which Nina Hoss (Tár), the doyenne of German theater and film, makes her London debut as actress Ranevskaya.

Donmar Warehouse, London WC2 (, May 2 to June 22

Much ado about nothing

There’s been a lot of buzz about Globe artistic director Michelle Terry playing Richard III this season, but first Ekow Quartey and Amalia Vitale star as Benedick and Beatrice in an “Elizabethan gown production that will transform the Globe into a luxurious paradise,” directed by Sean. Holmes.

Shakespeare’s Globe, London SE1 (, May 3 to August 24

Ghostly away

After the success of My Neighbor Totoro, London gets another stage version of a Studio Ghibli hit, this is Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful 2001 blockbuster about a young girl trapped in the spirit world. John Caird directs a Japanese cast (English surtitles).

London Coliseum, London WC2 (, May 7 to August 24


This new one from James Graham – starring Julie Hesmondhalgh, directed by Adam Penford – looks at the real-life case of a Nottingham teenager who struck a fatal blow and the quest for justice and forgiveness afterwards.

Nottingham playhouse (, May 9 to May 25

Romeo and Juliet

Tom “Spiderman” Holland returns to the West End for the first time since making his debut in the 2008 musical Billy Elliot and becoming a Hollywood A-lister; the run for Jamie Lloyd’s production sold out in just over two hours, despite casting for Juliet not yet being announced (yet to be determined).

Duke of York’s, London WC2 (, May 23 to August 3

Boys from the Blackstuff

James Graham has transformed Alan Bleasdale’s era-defining Liverpool drama about a pair of job-seeking workmen into “a brilliantly honed two-and-a-half hours of theatre,” our critic thought at its Merseyside premiere last year. Kate Wasserberg directs. Barry Sloane plays Yosser ‘gizza job’ Hughes.

National’s Olivier Theatre, London SE1 (, May 29 to June 8

The caregiver

Ian McDiarmid in The CaretakerIan McDiarmid in The Caretaker

Ian McDiarmid in The Caretaker

New Festival Theater Artistic Director Justin Audibert directs Pinter’s groundbreaking play in which Ian McDiarmid takes on the mantle of the increasingly territorial wanderer who is absorbed into the unhealthy orbit of Aston and his brother Mick (Adam Gillen and Jack Riddiford).

Minerva Studio, Chichester (, June 13 to July 13

Kiss me Kate

Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me KateAdrian Dunbar and Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me Kate

Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me Kate

British TV star Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty) and American stage star Stephanie J Block join forces for Cole Porter’s backstage musical spin on Shakespeare’s sex war comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Bartlett Sher directs.

Barbican Centre, London, EC2 (, June 18 to September 14

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Edwardian classic of childhood discovery and restoration in a Yorkshire garden reserve flourishes again in the hands of Holly Robinson (writer) and Anna Himali Howard (director).

Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park London NW1 (, June 25 to July 20

Besides Normal

Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Besides NormalEleanor Worthington-Cox in Next to Normal

Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Besides Normal – Marc Brenner

The unlikely-sounding 2009 Broadway musical, about a mother struggling with bipolar disorder, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Michael Longhurst’s belated British premiere – initially at the Donmar – did it proud. Caissie Levy and Jamie Parker lead the cast.

Wyndham’s Theatre, London WC2 (, June 26 to September 21

Starlight Express

Forty years after its West End premiere and a generation after the end of that first series, director Luke Sheppard revives Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wackiest musical, in which a child’s train carriage comes to life; a cast of 40 people roller skates their hearts out through a special immersive auditorium.

Troubadour, Wembley Park, London, HA9 (, previews from June 8, booking until February 16

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