Best Musicals in London 2014

May 9, 2015
Top ten West End theatre shows
Rice vs Webber 1/102/10
© Uli Weber

There's only one really big comedy this autumn, but it looks to be a crowd-pleasing doozy: Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan star as Jeeves and Wooster in the first ever stage adaptation of PG Wodehouse's timeless comic novels. Master of the big West End laugh Sean Foley ('The Ladykillers', 'I Can't Sing') will direct.


There's a glut of interesting British musicals this season, but here's an equally fascinating one from the States. Nominated for 12 Tony awards, 'The Scottsboro Boys' was the final musical written by the great Kander and Ebb ('Chicago', 'Cabaret') and concerns the famous case of nine young black men falsely accused of rape in 1930s Alabama. The cast of this UK premiere is headed by originial Broadway stars Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon.


Perfect Nonsense (© Uli Weber)The first of three male screen superstars taking on a Shakespeare play this season, Jude Law takes the lead in the final production of Michael Grandage's blockbuster West End run at the Noël Coward. Law appears to be cashing in on his still youthful looks to take a belated stab at the Bard's impetuous rabble-rouser monarch, King Harry.


David Tennant playing Shakespeare's doomed, fragile king would be a big deal at the best of times. But this 'Richard II' comes with even greater expectations: it's the flagship production in director Greg Doran's first season at the helm of the RSC, plus the first time the RSC has performed at its old London home the Barbican since the two institutions fell out a decade ago.

© Kevin Cummins

Jez Butterworth's 'real' follow up to his barnstorming play-of-a-generation 'Jerusalem' was last year's exquisite 'The River' a lovely, haunting piece that almost nobody got to see by dint of the fact it played in the tiny Royal Court Upstairs.The Scottsboro Boys For the regular theatregoer, here's something closer to a follow up you can actually see, as Butterworth's regular director Ian Rickson gathers together a starry cast of Ben Whishaw, Rupert Grint, Brendan Coyle and Daniel Mays to offer the first major revival of Butterworth's classic 1995 gangster drama (which Rickson directed at the Royal Court the first time around).


It's all about the leftfield musicals this season – and they really don't get much more leftfield than this: an electro-pop adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's gory yuppie satire 'American Psycho'. It's being directed by Rupert Goold, probably the only man on the planet who could possibly pull this off – it's his final production for his company Headlong, but also his first as Almeida artistic director. After the tremendous success of 'Chimerica', all eyes are on Goold to provide his new home with another youth-friendly hit.


There are a loooooooot of new musicals doing the rounds this season, and all of them look interesting. But this is the one we're backing for the top: veteran pop star Tori Amos's National Theatre debut about a princess cursed with permanent floating. With any other team we'd describe the show – which has already been postponed a year – as 'troubled', but given director Marianne Elliott's perfectionism, the fact she's ready to go ahead now suggests she's finally cracked it.

Tips from the Time Out theatre team for the best new plays that will be coming to London this season. You can buy tickets to recommended theatre shows and reviews and star ratings will be added once the shows have opened.

Let the Right One In Henry V Coriolanus Richard II
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