We’ve rounded up the best Fringe Theatre shows to see in June. I hope this list inspires you to go to the theatre and support the arts – especially these smaller venues! There is something for everyone on this list of 30 shows!
Wilton’s Music Hall: 1st June – 25th June
‘What if Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet had told a different story? Tybalt and Mercutio. Sworn enemies. Secret lovers. Separated by family feuds but drawn together by an unexpected love and passion that cannot be ignored…or admitted. This critically-acclaimed play by Rachel Garnet brings a whole new life to the tale of the starcrossed lovers. This is Shakespeare like you’ve never seen!’
THE CONCRETE JUNGLE BOOK
The Pleasance: 1st June – 11th June
‘An explosive and energetic hip hop musical which catapults Rudyard Kipling’s classic story into inner-city Britain with live rap music, grime, reggae, spoken word and big personality. As the jungle’s trees become tower blocks, Mo(wgli) navigates her way through relationships, unstable housing conditions and hostile creatures, trying to find the parental figures she has always longed for. Back after a smash hit run in 2021, updated and expanded to showcase the diverse talents of HighRise’s NewGens company, this is The Jungle Book like you’ve never imagine’.
LINE OF FIRE
The CRYPT: 1st June – 5th June
‘Line of Fire is a new immersive experience that allows you to step into the golden age of detective fiction. Become one of a handful of elite operatives whose mission it is to discover who killed Peter Walker and why. What was he up to? Why was he found as he was? And what was he worth killing for? Your mind is the best weapon we have. Discover clues and deduce the truth.’
Arcola Theatre: 1st June – 18th June
‘Rainer is a solitary bicycle delivery rider, whizzing across London, delivering food to whoever will summon her. From luxury flats to leafy suburbs, she loves to create stories in her head, re-imagining the city as one of her favourite sci-fi films or Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. She loves her life, until her one-time lover disappears, and reality starts to slip. After receiving standing ovations and glowing reviews last year, RAINER returns to the Arcola Theatre’s Outside Space this June for a limited three-week run.’
THE HAUNTING OF SUSAN A
Kings Head Theatre: 1st June – 28th June
The World Premiere of this play written by the Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre, Mark Ravenhill. The play is the story of London’s Oldest Theatre pub. It’s a sit responsive piece which invites the audience to become a part of local history. *Not for the easily frightened.
TONY! [THE TONY BLAIR ROCK OPERA]
Park Theatre: 2nd June – 9th July
Park Theatre hosts the world premiere of Tony! The Rock Opera, by Harry Hill and Steve Brown. A reckless reappraisal of the life of former Ugly Rumours front man and Britain’s first pop Prime Minister Tony Blair. The story of how one man went from a peace-loving, long-haired hippy and would-be pop star to warmongering multi-millionaire in just a couple of decades. It’s bound to be hilarious!
THE STILL ROOM
Park Theatre: 1st June – 25th June
‘Janice is a banquet waitress in a small, struggling hotel that is readying itself to host the ‘Miss North West’ competition in a bid to revive their floundering fortunes. In the still room, where the waiters wait, Janice also waits for her O Level results… if she gets less than four, her father says she has to move out. Bored to death and struggling to see how she can leave her home town, everything changes when a new waitress arrives.’
The Still Room focuses on a young woman trapped by her class, gender and education and asks, ‘how far would you go to change the path of your life?’
Omnibus Theatre: 6th – 11th June
‘To dream 發夢 : a 2019 Hong Kong euphemism for attending a protest. Don’t say you protested, say ‘I dreamed I was out on the street last night’ and by keeping it at that remove, in the real unreal, maybe you can talk about what happened without paying a price for it. The price was paid: the introduction of the National Security Law by the Beijing government in 2020 saw the destruction of the free press, mass arrests of the democratic opposition and the seeming end to a 30 year tradition of holding a public vigil for Tiananmen.’
What of the dreamers, and their dreams, now?
BEFORE I WAS A BEAR
Soho Theatre: 6th June – 11th June
‘She is a bear now, but she wasn’t always. Before, she had sports days, complicated friendships, sex (good and bad) & Tesco energy drinks mixed with cheap vodka. She was just like you, before. Then one night Cally is at a pub in Finsbury Park, and someone walks in. Someone you wouldn’t believe. Anyone would have done it. Even you.’
After a successful run at the well-loved Bunker Theatre in 2019, Before I Was A Bear, Eleanor Tindall’s Stage Debut Award-nominated play directed by Aneesha Srinivasan and starring Jacoba Williams returns. Don’t miss this funny, brutal & compelling coming-of-age story about friendship, mistakes and all-consuming celebrity crushes.
BENDELACREME IS…READY TO BE COMMITTED
Leicester Square Theatre: 7th June – 11th June
‘Global drag icon BenDeLaCreme, presents her latest critically-acclaimed narrative cabaret show, “BenDeLaCreme is…READY TO BE COMMITTED”: a hilarious and heartfelt spectacular that blends burlesque, comedy, and original music with her signature Terminally Delightful charm. After years of people asking the aggressively effervescent queen if she “can please settle down,” BenDeLaCreme is finally ready to tie the knot in something besides her corset. Now all she needs is a potential spouse. And a dress. And a cake. And the ability to consider others. Join the blushing bride as she tackles the pitfalls of love, marriage and romance. It’s a relay race to the altar as DeLa dodges pervy Grindr suiters, bitchy wedding cake toppers, and a visit from cupid himself in a limited engagement about the limitations of engagements. Written, directed, and produced by BenDeLaCreme, “BenDeLaCreme is…READY TO BE COMMITTED” showcases the superstar’s brilliance at its best, leading to sold-out residencies of the show in New York City and Provincetown in 2019.’
Lion and Unicorn Theatre: 7th June – 11th June
‘Beth and Jools are two twenty-something legal secretaries working Monday to Friday, nine to five with a pension package they’ll probably never see (but it’s a nice thought)…’
In an age of Instagram, veganism and eagerly waiting for ‘Friyay’, this comedic story of an unlikely friendship explores the highs and lows of being a woman in 2022.
THE PENIS APOLOGY
Etcetera Theatre: 7th June – 12th June
‘One night. One room. A man. A cat…a murder. One hell of an apology. MAN, a screenwriter, has to build his confidence to admit to and apologise for…accidentally killing his actor girlfriends’ pet cat, just as she’s about to return home from a stressful day at her job. Through a frenzy of panicked thoughts, MAN meanders in and out of some of the hot topic issues in society today such as progressivism, politics, fear, racism, the movie industry and sex, and ultimately finds himself diminishing against the rising tide of feminism’.
LET’S PAUSE THERE
King’s Head Theatre: 7th June – 18th June
Even therapists have bad days. Sebastian would know.
Added to his own troubles are two new clients bringing two new challenges. Summer: a new-age Californian with childhood trauma, and Babatunde: a stand up comic and survivor from war-torn Sierra Leone.
If he can just get through the day to see the love of his life then surely she will make it all better. Because she loves him as well…right?
A dark, funny and unpredictable new play about therapy, self-awareness and coping with your problems.
Above The Stag: 8th June – 3rd July
The Convert premiered at Above The Stag’s CONTACT festival, and now returns with a full production. Written by Ben Kavanagh, The Convert follows Alix and Marcus as they are brought to The Facility to be ‘corrected’. The play is informed by real techniques used against members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Upstairs at the Gatehouse: 8th June – 3rd July
Based on the Best-selling Novel by Paula Hawkins and a Blockbuster film starring Emily Blunt. The Girl on the Train tells the story of Rachel Watson. Rachel spends her train journey to work people-watching. When a woman that she watches from the train goes missing, Rachel finds herself tangled up in the mystery.
Camden Peoples Theatre: 10th & 11th June
‘Two women talk about childbirth, sing about violence and dance about menopause. Everywhere they look things are still not equal and maybe they never will be.’
YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS
Soho Theatre: 14th June – 18th June
Before sexts there were hand-written letters. And loads of them were proper filthy. With the help of the internet, friends and two sexologists, Rachel has unearthed missives dating back centuries. Triangulating these sex and love letters of long dead artists with contemporary sexts and a meditation on the construction of the queer female body, the show is a tender and surprising hour that asks – how do we write ourselves and for whom? Come! Take pleasure in James Joyce’s passion for arse, find out who sneaked her gay lover into the White House, hear from Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mozart and bear witness to the best/worst sexts ever sent.
White Bear Theatre: 14th June – 18th June
Laura has it all… She comes from a loving, wealthy family, is well educated, has a good job and owns her own apartment in Wimbledon. She is engaged to Michael, the man of her dreams… or so she thought! Life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a visitor bearing some distressing news. Forsaking Others provokes us to question those things we might be afraid to ask ourselves. How well do we know those we become closest to? Who can we really trust in life? In an age where we all too often rely on the internet and social media for answers, can they always be found there?
Soho Theatre: 14th June – 2nd July
It’s club night and the tracks are spinning. Two headliners crossfade between stories of love, sex, and losing their creative spark – set against a backdrop of precarious lives in urban London – as an ever-present DJ shapes their lives with banger after banger. Cardboard Citizens presents this new play from Danusia Samal, who stars as Aria, alongside Darragh Hand as Clef and Duramaney Kamara as the DJ. Featuring original tracks inspired by early noughties and present-day R&B and Garage, Bangers follows the highs and lows of two strangers as they struggle with their own pasts, while hurtling towards each other’s futures.
Old Red Lion Theatre: 14th June – 2nd July
‘Diversifications’ is a female centric play, about three women who meet in the waiting room to receive the results of their genetic testing. With emotions running high and the clock ticking, they share their most intimate thoughts and yearnings and soon realise that each of them have something the other one craves: children, career, freedom. Three women. Three generations. Same desire: change. By the end of their encounter, they decide to walk out of the clinic without getting the results. Playing ‘genetic roulette’, they start living by new rules and follow their dreams. However, their decision has dire consequences. A year after they have passed, their husbands / partners meet to try and understand the logic behind that spontaneous, yet fatal decision.
WONDER IN ALICELAND
Hen and Chickens Theatre: 16th June – 18th June
Wonder in Aliceland is a semi autobiographical piece about two close female friends, navigating life through their late 20s to early 40s. It deals with relationships, both romantic and plutonic. At times a dark comedic view on the perils of dating in the modern world. It touches upon the metoo movement as the friends discuss the banalities of life and dating through to boundaries of consensual sex and rape with the ease of friends who are close. Its a look into their lives and views from a women’s’ perspective post #MeToo. Within the journeys of these two women are the realities of dating; how dating changes with age; the real conundrums facing women dating online; the dangers and realities of going on dates; pregnancy and miscarriage but all discussed with humour and warmth. It calls attention to the prejudices towards women in today’s society, and shines a light on an often-ignored age in a woman’s life.
Lion and Unicorn Theatre: 20th June – 22nd June
A Labour MP is in trouble and the factions are circling. Does she know who her friends are? Do we ever have friends in politics? Or just comrades – in arms one moment and at each other’s throats the next. We follow Sally Finch – MP for the fictional seat of Hollingsdeane through a contentious vote in Parliament and a local educational dispute that pits local members against each other through a series of decisions by her local members to seek her deselection. We also meet Jim – Chair of the local branch of Momentum and leader of those who would depose Sally. But Jim is also one of the striking members Sally has been supporting. And then there is Safia – A moderate voice in defence of Sally, but against the strike. What are their motivations and how far will either go to get what they really want? This fictional account of the deselection of an MP exposes the brutal and most human element of politics. Where ambition for self and a genuine desire to do good come together and support our best and worst behaviours and instincts. It reminds us all that all politics is essentially about human beings making human choices.
BLACK IS THE COLOUR OF MY VOICE
Kings Head Theatre: 21st June – 10th July
Inspired by the life of Nina Simone, and featuring many of her most iconic songs performed live. Apphia Campbell’s acclaimed play follows a successful singer and civil rights activist as she seeks redemption after the untimely death of her father. She reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy destined for a life in the service of the church, to a renowned jazz vocalist at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. This extensive national tour follows a sell-out UK tour earlier in 2022, and sell-out seasons in Shanghai, New York, Edinburgh, and in the West End of London.
THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF SMACK AND CRACK
Riverside Studios: 21st June – 25th June
A twisted love story between two life-long addicts.
Tracing their own lives from the epicentre of the civil uprisings in 1981 to their present-day survival on the streets, Mandy and Neil chronicle the fallout for communities crushed by the heroin epidemic at the height of Thatcherism.
Inspired by the playwright’s own experience in jail and rehab, The Political History of Smack and Crack is a riotous and tender portrayal of two addicts shot through with home truths about the road to recovery.
Southwark Playhouse: 23rd June – 16th July
There are a few things that we know about Evelyn: we know what she did, we know that we hate her, and we know that she’s still out there. Somewhere. She’s just not Evelyn anymore. She could be anyone. Even you.
Britain is on the hunt, it has been for years. Walton is on high alert… and Sandra’s just arrived.
Inspired by real life events, Evelyn is a story of mob-justice in modern day Britain that interrogates the question: when is justice really served?
Chelsea Theatre: 24th June & 2nd July
A long-term relationship between two Uni sweethearts has reached a fork in the road. After 10 years together, one party is seemingly all in while the other toys with the idea of starting a new life.
Should she commit to this man that she’s spent her whole adult life with? Is she the person he truly wants to start a family with? Have her lies finally caught up with her conscience? Are his unspoken truths on the table too? Do they both love each other enough to make a life-long commitment? They must today, now, make that decision.
Should they stay or should they go? That is up to you, the audience.
The Pleasance: 28th June – 17th July
Rosy, Tommy and Kit are clued-up, kinky and queer as f*ck – until safe spaces fracture and identities start to shift. As events in the present bring past traumas bubbling to the surface, the bonds within this chosen family must shudder and transform if they are to survive.
A vibrant portrait of community, power and healing set in contemporary London.
Rapture is the debut show from Pink Sky, an emerging collective of LGBTQIA+ artists taking an interdisciplinary approach to making queer theatre.
THE MAKING OF PINOCCHIO
Battersea Arts Centre: 29th June – 2nd July
A true tale of love and transition told through the story of Pinocchio.
Join two artists on a fantastical journey through a real-life story as they make a new trans version of Pinocchio.
Set in a fictional film studio, you’re invited behind the scenes of Cade & MacAskill’s creative process and their relationship, to question what it takes to tell your truth.
Artists and lovers Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill have created The Making of Pinocchio alongside and in response to Ivor’s gender transition. In this playful theatrical and cinematic spectacular, their tender, complex autobiographical experience meets the magical story of the lying puppet who wants to be a ‘real boy’.
AMICI’S ONE WORLD: WEALTH OF THE COMMON PEOPLE
Lyric Hammersmith: 29th June – 2nd July
Amici Dance Theatre Company celebrate their 40th anniversary, albeit a little late due to the world-wide Covid pandemic, with a full-company production which tells the personal and sometimes harrowing stories of just a few of the refugees and displaced people in the world today.
With over 80 disabled and non-disabled performers on stage, many specially invited from all over the world, this festival of colour and music, tragedy and comedy will be Amici’s biggest production to date.
Tower Theatre: 29th June – 9th July
Queers is a collection of monologues curated by Mark Gatiss, originally commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. This act decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men over the age of twenty-one and was a considerable milestone in achieving homosexual law reform. Poignant and personal, funny and tragic, these monologues are deeply affecting and personal rites-of-passage stories. Our production of Queers consists of four of the original eight monologues, which celebrate the first half century of evolving social attitudes and political milestones in British gay history.
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- A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACESpine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
- A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
- PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATREPeter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
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- INTERVIEW – REBECCA LOCK FROM ELFEllie chats to Rebecca Lock, currently starring in Elf at the Dominion Theatre. Firstly, how are you feeling ahead of opening? I’m excited! I can’t wait to get in front of the Christmas audiences. All those excited children!! It’s magic! How have you found working with this cast? Quite a few cast members from last … More INTERVIEW – REBECCA LOCK FROM ELF