The best theatre to book in London in 2022, from Prima Facie to Henry V

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·8-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Jodie Comer
    Jodie Comer
    English actress
Our guide to the best theatre coming in 2022  ( )
Our guide to the best theatre coming in 2022 ( )

Onwards! London’s theatres have plenty of brilliant shows in store for audiences in 2022.

From star turns by Amy Adams, Kit Harington and Jodie Comer to long-awaited Broadway transfers, long wished for revivals and thrilling new writing, heres our guide to what not to miss in the new year...

The Glow

Ria Zmitrowicz will star in The Glow (Johan Persson)
Ria Zmitrowicz will star in The Glow (Johan Persson)

A spooky start to the year: Alistair McDowell’s long-awaited follow-up to X (which was set on a spaceship and made me scream) takes us back to an asylum in 1863, where a nameless woman is chosen to be a spiritualist medium’s assistant. Vicky Featherstone directs. Jessie Thompson

Royal Court, Jan 21 to March 5; royalcourttheatre.com

A Number

Paapa Essiedu (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
Paapa Essiedu (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

Aged 83 Caryl Churchill presented a new play this year: now January sees a revival of her most focused and accessible work, a study of the moral and emotional implications of cloning, with Lennie James and Paapa Essiedu as father and – maybe? – son, under Lyndsey Turner’s direction. Nick Curtis

Old Vic, Jan 24 to March 19; oldvictheatre.com

Our Generation

Alecky Blythe’s latest verbatim show will open at the NT
Alecky Blythe’s latest verbatim show will open at the NT

Teenage dreams, so hard to beat? Maybe not, if you’re inheriting a burning planet and a broken economy, but Alecky Blythe’s new verbatim show should give us an idea of how Gen Z are feeling. She’s collated five years’ worth of interviews with 12 young people from around the UK. JT

National Theatre, Dorfman, Feb 10 to April 9; nationaltheatre.org.uk

Henry V

Kit Harington (Getty Images for RFF)
Kit Harington (Getty Images for RFF)

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington returns to the stage following his 2016 Doctor Faustus and 2018 True West as Shakespeare’s martial king, in a production directed by Max Webster that promises to analyse what it means to be English and how we relate to Europe. Timely… NC

Donmar Warehouse, Feb 12 to April 9; donmarwarehouse.com

The Collaboration

Paul Bettany will play Andy Warhol at the Young Vic (Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
Paul Bettany will play Andy Warhol at the Young Vic (Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

A recurring role as The Vision in the Marvel Universe has kept Paul Bettany from the London stage for a while, but he’s back as Andy Warhol opposite Jeremy Pope as Jean-Michel Basquiat in a play examining artistic rivalry from NZ writer Antony ‘The Two Popes’ McCarten. NC

Young Vic, Feb 16 to April 2; youngvic.org

After the End

Dennis Kelly is a thrillingly anarchic playwright, so I can’t wait to see his take on the apocalypse. Directed by Lyndsey Turner, it’s about a pair of colleagues who wake up in a shelter after a nuclear blast, with only enough food and water to last another fortnight. And you thought Zoom meetings were bad. JT

Theatre Royal Stratford East, Feb 25 to March 26; stratfordeast.com

Cock

Taron Egerton (Getty Images for SBIFF)
Taron Egerton (Getty Images for SBIFF)

Aside from the simple enjoyment of watching West End audiences declare “hi, I’m here for Cock” at the front of the box office queue, this revival of Mike Bartlett’s battle of the sexes comedy should be tons of fun. Marianne Elliott directs a fab cast, featuring Taron Egerton, Jonathan “Anthony Bridgerton” Bailey, Jade Anouka and Phil Daniels. JT

Ambassadors, March 5 to June 4; atgtickets.com

The Human Voice

Ruth Wilson
Ruth Wilson

The divine Ruth Wilson reunites with visionary Dutch director Ivo van Hove – following their astonishing, modernised Hedda Gabler at the National in 2016 – for Jean Cocteau’s 1930 monologue, delivered by a woman on the phone. Thirty-one performances only. NC

Harold Pinter Theatre, March 17 to April 9; atgtickets.com

Straight Line Crazy

Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes

Having played David Hare in the writer’s account of having Covid, Beat the Devil, Ralph Fiennes returns to the Bridge as Robert Moses, the unelected, autocratic planner who mapped Manhattan, in Hare’s examination of the shortcomings of democracy. Nicholas Hytner directs. NC

Bridge Theatre, March 16 to June 18; bridgetheatre.co.uk

To Kill a Mockingbird

Rafe Spall (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
Rafe Spall (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

This adaptation of Harper Lee’s courtroom classic has faced a few legal wrangles of its own, including accusations that Aaron Sorkin’s version deviated too much from the book – the case was eventually settled. After a hit Broadway run, it finally arrives in the West End with Rafe Spall playing Atticus Finch. JT

Gielgud, March 10 to Aug 13; tokillamockingbird.co.uk

Daddy

UK audiences have been waiting patiently to get acquainted with the work of Jeremy O. Harris, described by GQ as “one of the most exciting voices of his generation”. Finally, nearly two years after it was due to open, we’ll get to see his play Daddy – about a young black artist and an older white art collector – in its UK premiere at the Almeida. JT

Almeida Theatre, March 26 to Apr 30; almeida.co.uk

The Corn is Green

Nicola Walker
Nicola Walker

The brilliant Nicola Walker plays the inspirational teacher in Emlyn Williams’s play about the power of literacy, a role last played in London by Patricia Routledge in 1991. Dominic Cooke’s production promises to revamp what was seen as a warhorse. NC

National Theatre, Lyttelton, April 7 to June 11; nationaltheatre.org.uk

Scandaltown

For his latest play, Mike Bartlett appears to have turned the merciless world of online cancel culture into a restoration comedy. Sounds a bit Steve Buscemi in a baseball cap, but then again Bartlett’s blank verse imagining of the future of the royal family, King Charles III, ended up as one of the defining plays of the last decade, so. JT

Lyric Hammersmith, April 7 to May 14; lyric.co.uk

Marys Seacole

Anyone who saw Fairview at the Young Vic in 2019 will know that Jackie Sibblies Drury has a fearless fascination with reinventing form. Her latest sees her blow up the idea of biopic, taking the story of Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole and delving into ideas about whether anyone is really in charge of their own story. JT

Donmar Warehouse, April 15 to June 4; donmarwarehouse.com

The Burnt City

After spawning countless, inferior imitators here, and conquering New York, the finest proponents of immersive theatre, Punchdrunk, return for a show inspired by Greek myth and taking place in two listed buildings at Woolwich Arsenal. NC

One Cartridge Place, March 22 to Aug 28; punchdrunk.com

Jerusalem

It’s ridiculous to talk of ‘career-defining’ roles with Mark Rylance, but here the mercurial star returns to one of his finest: pagan roister-doister Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, in Jez Butterworth’s hymn to Albion. Mackenzie Crook and director Ian Rickson also return. NC

Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, April 16 to Aug 6; jerusalemtheplay.co.uk

Prima Facie

Jodie Comer
Jodie Comer

It’s a pretty baller move from Jodie Comer to star in a one-woman show as a West End debut. Still, if anyone can do it, it’s this fearless star, who has scooped up awards as Villanelle in Killing Eve and has now broken into Hollywood. She’ll play a criminal barrister who defends men accused of sexual assault – and then experiences it herself. JT

Harold Pinter Theatre, April 15 to June 18; primafacieplay.com

Middle

Back in 2017, David Eldridge’s Beginning – a top drawer rom-com about two stragglers at the tail end of a house party – won rave reviews and transferred to the West End. In joyous news, it turns out it was part of a trilogy: Middle, about an honest conversation between a married couple, will unite Eldridge with Beginning director Polly Findlay. JT

National Theatre, Dorfman, April 27 to June 18; nationaltheatre.org.uk

Oklahoma!

Oklahoma! The sexy version! Coming to London! Daniel Fish’s Tony-winning 2019 Broadway revival will open at the Young Vic next spring, in a stripped-back production that totally reimagines Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical. Buckle up cowboys, this looks to be a pretty big hit. JT

Young Vic, April 26 to June 25; youngvic.org

Grease

In Mexico it’s called ‘Vaselina’ but across the English-speaking world ‘Grease’ is the word. Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s 1971 high school musical began in a Chicago nightclub and conquered the world. This revival promises all the fave songs plus some of the original grit. NC

Dominion Theatre, from May 3; nederlander.co.uk

two Palestinians go dogging

I don’t know if the image invoked or the lower-case lettering of the title is meant to be more provocative, but Sami Ibrahim’s award-winning play is set in 2043 and features, well… two Palestinians about to go dogging. Omar Elerian directs. NC

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, May 6 to June 1; royalcourttheatre.com

House of Shades

Anne-Marie Duff (PA)
Anne-Marie Duff (PA)

Who doesn’t love a full-bodied family saga? This new play from Beth Steel, who won our Most Promising Playwright award in 2014 for her epic debut Wonderland, spans five decades in the lives of the Webster Family. With Anne Marie-Duff leading the cast, it will chart the changing fortunes of one working-class family against the backdrop of industrial decline. JT

Almeida, May 7 to June 18; almeida.co.uk

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady will come to the West End
My Fair Lady will come to the West End

Bartlett Sher’s multi award-winning Lincoln Center staging of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s evergreen musical transfers across the pond to its natural home. Can Henry Higgins transform cockney Eliza into a duchess? Gor blimey, just you wait and see… NC

London Coliseum, May 7 to Aug 27; myfairladymusical.co.uk

Legally Blonde

Programming this good should be illegal, quite frankly: Lucy Moss, co-creator of Six the Musical and the youngest woman to ever direct a show on Broadway, will lead the first major UK revival of Legally Blonde the Musical. Get ready to bend and snap your way to the front of the queue to the box office. JT

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, May 13 to July 2; openairtheatre.com

The Glass Menagerie

Amy Adams makes her West End debut
Amy Adams makes her West End debut

Amy Adams has come a long from her debut in dinner theatre: now the multiple Oscar-nominee and SAG/Golden Globe award winner makes her West End debut in Tennessee Williams’s heartstring-tugger. Jeremy Herrin directs. NC

Duke of York’s, May 23 to Aug 28; theglassmenageriewestend.com

The Seagull

Emilia Clarke in The Seagull, finally opening after a delay (Marc Brenner)
Emilia Clarke in The Seagull, finally opening after a delay (Marc Brenner)

Jamie Lloyd’s hotly anticipated, reworked Chekhov starring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke was about to open at the Playhouse when the first lockdown hit. Now it’s been resurrected with many of the original ensemble returning. Hallelujah. NC

Harold Pinter Theatre, June 29 to Sept 10; haroldpintertheatre.co.uk

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting