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DON'T MISS: This Week's TOP 10 New London Shows


1. The End of Longing, Playhouse Theatre

Could there BE any more Chandler? FRIENDS actor Matthew Perry isn't just starring in this black comedy, he's also making his playwriting debut. This is Perry's first trip to the West End since 2003's Sexual Perversity In Chicago, which was also helmed by his current director, Lindsay Posner. Until May 14.

2. Uncle Vanya, Almeida Theatre

A searing reimagining of Oresteia has rightly earned Robert Icke his directorial debut at the National Theatre in October with David Hare's new play. But first up is another classic - what will he make of Chekhov's melancholic masterpiece? Paul Rhys and Jessica Brown Findlay star. Until March 26.

3. Hand to God, Vaudeville Theatre

Robert Askins' pitch-black comedy, which made a splash on Broadway last year, takes on fundamentalist Christianity in small-town Texas via racy humour and a Satanic hand puppet. Janie Dee, Neil Pearson, Harry Melling and Jemima Rooper star. One for the AVENUE Q and BOOK OF MORMON fans. Until June 11.

4. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, National Theatre

August Wilson's examination of racial and artistic power struggles in the 1920s music industry gets a first-rate revival from Dominic Cooke, with standout turns, among a superb ensemble, from O-T Fagbenle, Lucian Msamati and Sharon D Clarke as the 'mother of the blues'. Until May 18.

5. Nell Gwynn, Apollo Theatre

Jessica Swale's rollicking play about the celebrated Restoration actress, whose rags-to-riches journey led her from Coal Yard Alley to Charles II's bedchamber, gets a West End transfer from the Globe. Gemma Arterton takes over the title role in the Christopher Luscombe-helmed production. Until April 30.

6. The Master Builder, Old Vic

Ralph Fiennes is mesmeric in Ibsen's complex epic, which combines realism and myth in its tale of an architect in midlife crisis inspired by the appearance of a mysterious young woman. Old Vic head honcho Matthew Warchus directs. Until March 19.

7. Red Velvet, Garrick Theatre

The sole transfer in Kenneth Branagh's resident Garrick season is Lolita Chakrabarti's slice of theatrical history, starring her husband Adrian Lester as Ira Aldridge, the first black actor to play Othello on the London stage. A must-see performance in a piece with searing contemporary resonance. Until February 27.

8. The Winter's Tale, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

A jealous king, a lost child, and an astonishing reunion. The intimate confines of the atmospheric, candlelit Sam Wanamaker prove a magical setting for Shakespeare's schizophrenic problem play in Michael Longhurst's confident new production. John Light, Rachael Stirling and Niamh Cusack star. Until April 22.

9. The Mother, Tricycle Theatre

French playwright Florian Zeller, whose THE FATHER stunned British theatregoers in 2015, is back with another fractured, immersively dislocated farce. It's actually Zeller's earlier piece, and marginally less shattering, but Gina McKee provides a memorable portrait of maternal breakdown. Until March 12.

10. Rabbit Hole, Hampstead Theatre

David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winner is a grief-stricken family drama mercifully free of mawkishness. Like THE MOTHER, it transfers to London out of order, and is somewhat overshadowed by Lindsay-Abaire's later GOOD PEOPLE, a 2014 Hampstead smash. But Claire Skinner and Tom Goodman-Hill lead a beautifully touching Edward Hall production. Until March 5.

Photo credit: Mark Douet

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