With the Fringe done and dusted for another year, lots of exciting shows are popping up around London – here are 25 shows to see in the Capital during September!
Charing Cross Theatre; 25th August – 17th September
This new musical by Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams, directed by Sarah Meadows, charts one woman’s radical act and explores the lies we tell to escape ourselves. RIDE gears up for its first full
production for a limited run at London’s Charing Cross Theatre.
It’s 1895 and Annie Londonderry has returned victorious to America, hailed as the first woman ever to cycle around the world. She’s pioneering, she’s plucky, and she’s pitching her story to the men who run the newspapers. From the infamous wager that set her journey in motion, to her freewheeling adventures with captains, cowboys, and customs officials, Annie just knows her tales will spin readers into a frenzy. But as she approaches rough terrain, and unexpected paths throw her off balance, can Annie regain her footing, or will she confront the past she left behind?
Riverside Studios; 30th August – 24th September
Ian Hallard’s new show ‘Horse-Play’ is a hilarious new comedy exploring the kinkier side of life.
After ten years of married life, Tom and Tim decide to spice up their sex life by booking an evening in a dungeon with a gorgeous male escort. Meanwhile, crime-busting superhero, the Stallion, and his intrepid side-kick, Butterfly, have been lured to the secret lair of their arch-nemesis: the dastardly Villainor. But what connects these two seemingly random events? One thing’s for sure: a bump on the head and a faulty door lock result in a night none of them will ever forget – for all the wrong reasons!
GARY BARLOW A DIFFERENT STAGE
Duke of York’s Theatre; 30th August – 25th September
Acclaimed singer, songwriter, composer and producer, Gary Barlow brings his theatrical one man stage show, A Different Stage, to London’s West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a three week season only.
REHAB THE MUSICAL
Playground Theatre; 1st – 17th September
Rehab The Musical a rock-bottom-to-redemption journey of the soul filled with thumpingly memorable songs, premieres at The Playground Theatre.
It’s 1999 and jaded 26-year-old pop star, Kid Pop, finds himself in court, after being caught red
handed in a drug fuelled tabloid sting. An understanding judge gives Kid the choice between jail time or six weeks in a rehabilitation centre. It seems a no-brainer: rehab will be a holiday. But how could Kid have got it so wrong?
Southwark Playhouse; 1st September – 1st October
Christopher Marlowe’s extraordinary, theatrical and fantastical Doctor Faustus comes to the stage in this all-new ensemble production.
John Faustus in search of complete fulfilment sells his soul to the Devil in return for 24 years of unlimited knowledge, power and fame, as the clock strikes 12 on his final day, Mephistopheles enters, repayment is due.
Open Air Theatre; 3rd September – 24th September
A blistering retelling of the epic story by Sophocles, from the writer of Barber Shop Chronicles, Inua Ellams.A torn family. A hostile state. One heroic brother. One misguided son. One conflicted sister, and the second is on the run.
Almeida Theatre; 3rd September – 1st October
The Clinic is a fiercely political and lyrical play by “seriously exciting new talent” (Evening Standard) Dipo Baruwa-Etti (An unfinished man, The Yard), written during a twelve-month residency with the Almeida as part of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ bursary.
Wumni is tired of the fight. When her world collapses, she turns to Ore for help. Ore resolves to save Wunmi, providing sanctuary in her parents’ home – a family of charity workers, therapists and politicians, dedicated to serving their community. Wunmi’s presence soon disrupts familiar patterns – cracks start to widen and bad blood thickens. As these pillars of society crumble, Wunmi wonders whether she’s walked into a refuge or a trap?
Applecart Arts; 5th – 9th September
Kit Sinclair and Tom Blake bring to life this gig-theatre show, playing multiple characters with dark humour and skill. Blake, composer and actor-musician, underscores Sinclair’s writing with original music. Sinclair, is a commissioned, award-winning writer and performer who brings our relatable heroine, Gigi, to life with a mixture of poetry and prose.
In this adult fairy tale, singer Gigi Star (Sinclair), makes a pact with the Devil in the hunt for success. Join her, the voice of Doubt (Blake) and a squad of bizarre rebels on a mission to get her voice back and learn some hard truths. With the western world removing women’s rights, Gigi Star highlights what it means to be a silenced woman today.
Orange Tree Theatre; 5th September – 8th October
Twenty years after it premièred and received a Pulitzer Prize nomination, Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, set in the 1960s Deep South, is a moving and deeply pertinent play for now.
Alma and Eugene have grown up together. Alma, an African American woman, dreams of a life beyond the confines of their small town. But when her friendship with the light-skinned Eugene develops into something more serious, his fate becomes tragically intertwined with hers and they can’t escape the legacy of racism and the tensions within their own community.
HELP! WE ARE STILL ALIVE
Seven Dials Playhouse; 5th September – 15th October
Help! We are Still Alive, Book & Lyrics by Imogen Palmer (She/They) Music & Lyrics by Tim Gilvin (He/Him) is a hilarious, gig-style queer, comedy musical about keeping the romance alive when everything else is dead as a doornail.
Jass and Finn have survived the apocalypse – but can their relationship take the strain? What do you do when the last person on earth no longer floats your boat?It’s ‘28 Days Later’ meets ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with catchy and heart-breaking songs.
Old Vic; 6th September – 31st October
Jonathan Spector’s timely and hysterical comedy, polite debate descends into ideological warfare, as a democratic utopia tears itself apart. Starring Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, The Sessions, Mad About You).
Every child is welcomed at the progressive Eureka Day school in Berkeley, California – it’s a point of pride for the parents on the Executive Committee. But when a public health scare erupts, it turns out tolerance and togetherness are no match for mumps… ‘If consensus was easy, everyone would do it.‘
WALKING WITH GHOSTS
Apollo Theatre; 6th – 17th September
Adapted from his bestselling memoir, Walking with Ghosts is a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies. Growing up on the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and a commentary on stardom in Hollywood and on Broadway, he reflects on a life’s journey.
A Landmark production presented by Neal Street and Playful Productions, Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne makes his West End debut for a strictly limited season of just 14 performances from 6 – 17 September before a New York transfer.
Omnibus Theatre; 6th – 25th September
As the afternoon sun hits BBC Broadcasting House in London, photographer James Barnor meets broadcaster Mike Eghan for the very first time. Thrown together by lives built far from home, the two rising Ghanaian creatives must manoeuvre through their perception of identity, success, assimilation and home. This joyful and poignant fiction fuses storytelling, music and dance with archival material to capture a unique snapshot of London in the swinging sixties.
WHO KILLED MY FATHER
Young Vic; 7th September – 24th September
This UK premiere is adapted and directed by the award-winning Ivo van Hove from the anger-soaked, internationally acclaimed book by Édouard Louis. Who Killed My Father is a furious indictment of the political elite, and a son’s declaration of love. This is a rare opportunity to see Hans Kestingperform the production in English.
Returning home to the small, conservative town in the north of France where he grew up as a gay teenager, a son finds his dying father virtually unrecognisable from years of alcoholism, social deprivation and grueling manual labour. He starts to wonder: who’s responsible?
THE SNAIL HOUSE
Hampstead Theatre; 8th September – 15th October
Richard Eyre is a vastly experienced director of theatre, opera, film and television who was Artistic Director of the National Theatre from 1988 to 1997. His previous productions at Hampstead have included The Last of the Duchess and Mr Foote’s Other Leg. A writer and regular adaptor of other people’s work for the stage, The Snail House is his first completely original play.
Sir Neil Marriot had a ‘good pandemic’, becoming familiar to millions from his TV appearances as a government medical advisor. His service even earned him a knighthood, and he is now rewarding himself with a lavish birthday party in the hallowed surroundings of his son’s alma mater. But, amidst the oak panelling, the champagne and the silver service, his family are at one another’s throats again, and he thinks there’s something familiar – and somehow unsettling – about one of the catering staff…
HERO & LEANDER, OR, I LOVE YOU, BUT EVERYTHING’S UNDER WATER
Southbank Centre; 11th September
After delighting audiences of all ages on a 2021 UK tour, Jack Dean & Company are back with their gig-theatre retelling of the Greek myth Hero & Leander, staged in their own bandstand. The love story is performed through songs inspired by folk, indie, sea shanties and choral music, by six multi-instrumentalists who create tragic atmosphere and stormy seas with cello, violin, guitars, trumpet, percussion and an accordion.
Two towns, one rich and one poor, stand separated by a narrow strip of ocean. When the borders close and ships stop sailing between them, two lovers are left stranded on either side. Unphased, Leander takes to swimming across the channel to meet Hero, guided by the light of the lighthouse where she lives. But the jealous and vengeful God Hephaestus, carrying an ancient grudge, plots to separate them with a flood like neither town has ever seen.
Park Theatre; 13th September – 15th October
Following a hugely successful award-winning online run, which was later broadcast on Sky Arts, Dame Maureen Lipman returns to the title role of Rose for a new production starting on the stage on which it was filmed.
From a tiny Ukrainian village, through the Warsaw ghettos to the boardwalks of Atlantic City, the play is a reminder of some of the harrowing events of the 20th century through a Jewish woman’s eyes. Blending the personal with the political,Rose traces one woman’s story from the devastation of Nazi-ruled Europe to conquering the American dream.
Southwark Playhouse; 15th September – 8th October
The Prince weaves through Henry IV Part One and other of the Bard’s works providing fun for the audience whether they be Shakespeare scholars or verse virgins. Swordfighting, lesbianism, denial, disappointed parents, and a magical doorway, The Prince has all this and more.
QUEENZ – THE SHOW WITH BALLS
Clapham Grand; 16th September
The trailblazing, life affirming drag extravaganza taking the UK by storm. Featuring mind blowing LIVE vocals, and not a lip-sync in sight! Join these death-dropping divas as they slay the biggest hits of all time and serve up the sequin-clad pop party we’ve all been gagging for!
Starring X Factor & Union J pop sensation Jaymi Hensley, get ready to singalong to reimagined classics from The Spice Girls, Lady Gaga, Little Mix, Britney, Whitney, and everything in between. Queenz is drag like you’ve never HEARD it before!
THE WITCHES OF OZ
The Vaults – 21st September – 17th January
Citizens of the Emerald City! Your presence is requested at The Wonderful Feast of Oz. So don your green-est glam for the most wicked show of the year, as The Vaults returns with their newest, gravity-defying immersive night.
Following the sellout success of Mulan Rouge, ShayShay has dreamed up another technicolor wonder, inspired by L. Frank Baum’s iconic world of witches, rainbows and magical slippers – that’ll leave you dancing through life.
The Emerald City is in a state of glittering turmoil. It’s Good vs. Wicked in a fierce battle to be crowned the next Witch of Oz and you have been invited to cast your vote.
But when Dorothey is drag-ged back to the scene, will their homecoming turn the tide for Good or Wicked? And will their return help the Witches finally see over the rainbow, where good comes in killer heels.
So follow the yellow brick road down to The Vaults, to help Dorothey show old friends that being yourself is the new pop-u-lar.
Park Theatre; 21st September – 15th October
Set on the eve of Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1979, Barrie Keeffe’s play about a young Black man detained and brutalised by the police for a crime he has no knowledge of is a powerful dramatisation of a true story. Originally staged in 1979, it shows audiences a shocking depiction of institutional racism through the eyes of Delroy, who has been brought to a South London police station on what he thinks is SUS – suspect under suspicion – the law now commonly known as Stop and Search. Unbeknownst to him, two white male police detectives are tasked with drawing a confession for an unspeakable crime, and they go about it in the most brutal of ways.
A NIGHT AT THE KABUKI
Sadlers Wells; 22nd – 24th September
It’s the tale you know, but not as you know it. Set to the original recordings of Queen’s A Night at the Opera and inspired by Freddie Mercury’s love of Japan, A Night at the Kabuki is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet created by acclaimed Japanese theatre maker Hideki Noda OBE.
When two sets of Romeo and Juliet’s intercept one another’s fates, the well-known story of everyone’s favourite star-crossed lovers takes both comic and tragic turns.
Featuring the original recordings of Queen’s masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody, Love of My Life and You’re My Best Friend, and many more from the album; A Night at the Kabuki beautifully intertwines music, storytelling and Japanese stagecraft to create a wholly unique and unmissable show.
Apollo Theatre; 23rd September – 3rd December
The Upstart Crow opened at the Gielgud Theatre in February 2020 to an array of glowing reviews and sold out performances. The Daily Telegraph described the show as “just the hey nonny-nonny nonsense the doctor ordered with much to crow about.” Then Covid hit and theatres were forced to close for the first lockdown.
Now, one plague and an Olivier Award nomination later, this all-new comedy is back, starring David Mitchell who will resume his West End debut in Ben Elton’s stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed BBC TV sitcom, Upstart Crow. Rejoining Mitchell on stage will be Gemma Whelan (DI Ray, Game of Thrones, Gentleman Jack) as the sweet and fragrant Kate, along with a troupe of players to be announced.
THE BAND’S VISIT
Donmar Warehouse; 24th September – 3rd December
Artistic Director Michael Longhurst directs the European premiere of a brand new production of The Band’s Visit, his next musical following his Broadway-transferring smash hit Caroline, or Change, nominated for three Tony Awards. Winner of 10 Tony Awards and a Grammy for best Musical Theatre Album, The Band’s Visit rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together.
In a quiet desert town way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost. As they wait for the next bus out, these unexpected visitors bring the town to life in surprising ways, proving that even the briefest visit can stay with you forever.
Duke of York’s Theatre; 29th September – 11th December
The latest smash-hit by “Britain’s best director” (Telegraph) Robert Icke’s sold-out, five-star Almeida Theatre production transfers to London’s Duke of York’s Theatre from 29th September 2022.
On an ordinary day, at a private hospital, a young woman fights for her life. A priest arrives to save her soul. Her doctor refuses him entry.
What are you planning to see this month?