The 21 best new plays and musicals to book tickets for in Spring 2024

Dujonna Gift in Two Strangers (Carry a cake across New York)
Dujonna Gift in Two Strangers (Carry a cake across New York) - Marc Brenner
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Withnail and I

Bruce Robinson has adapted his own adored 1987 Brit-flick about two squiffy, on-their-uppers Sixties actors. Robert Sheehan takes the acerbic Richard E Grant role of Withnail, Adonis Siddique is his fresh-faced pal Marwood and Malcolm Sinclair plays lascivious Uncle Monty.

Sean Foley directs. Birmingham Rep (, previews from May 3, until May 25

Viola’s Room

Immersive pioneers Punchdrunk turn their London base into a laboratory, beginning with a version of Barry Pain’s 1901 short-story The Moon-Slave (adapted by Booker-shortlisted Daisy Johnson); barefoot groups of up to six “feel their way through a maze-like installation”.

One Cartridge Place, London SE18 (, May 22 until August 18

The Constituent

James Corden returns to the stage for the first time since his mega-success with One Man, Two Guvnors (2011) – and ensuing stardom Stateside – playing “a man in crisis” who becomes an alarming presence in the life and constituency office of an opposition backbench MP (Anna Maxwell Martin). Matthew Warchus directs the topical latest from Joe “Blue/Orange” Penhall, dealing with the “landscape of increasing threat”.

Old Vic, London SE1 (, June 25 until Aug 10

Long Day’s Journey into Night

Jeremy Herrin revives Eugene O’Neill’s posthumously published masterpiece – an autobiographical portrait of a recriminating Connecticut family – with the coup-casting of Succession star Brian Cox in the patriarchal role of fading actor James Tyrone, and Emmy-winning Patricia Clarkson as his morphine-addled wife Mary.

Wyndham’s Theatre, London, WC2 (, April 2 until June 8

Player Kings

Sir Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings
Sir Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings - Manuel Harlan

Robert Icke adapts Shakespeare’s ebullient, epic histories Henry IV, Parts I & II with a star billing for Sir Ian McKellen – playing Falstaff at the age of 84 – and 26-year-old Toheeb Jimoh (who broke through in the BBC’s Anthony), playing Prince Hal.

Noel Coward, London WC2 (, previews from April 1, until June 22; then touring throughout July

London Tide

Ben Power adapts Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, with songs by PJ Harvey and himself, with Ian Rickson directing. “This romantic and propulsive thriller is a hymn to London and the river that runs through it”, we’re told.

National’s Lyttelton Theatre, London SE1 (, April 14 until 22 June

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Love's Labour's Lost at the RSC
Love's Labour's Lost at the RSC

Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey’s inaugural season as RSC artistic directors offers bags to see, including a play about the 1997 Kyoto summit. But first off Emily Burns revives Shakespeare’s youthful comedy of unsustainable sexual abstinence, with Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson making his RSC debut as Berowne.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (, April 18 until May 18

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

As seen at the Kiln last year, this quirky, clever rom-com musical (by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan) stars Dujonna Gift and Sam Tutty as the sister of the bride and the wide-eyed son of the bridegroom, with a lot of baggage to unpack as they traverse the Big Apple carrying, yup, a wedding cake.

Criterion, London W1 (, April 23 until July 14

Minority Report

Minority Report
Minority Report - Marc Brenner

David Haig (My Boy Jack) has had the commercially canny, thematically timely idea of stage-adapting Philip K Dick’s futuristic vision of pre-crime suspects (as made famous on screen by Spielberg/ Cruise). Max Webster (Life of Pi) directs. The cast includes Jodie McNee and Nick Fletcher.

Lyric Hammersmith, London W6 (, April 24 until May 18

The Deep Blue Sea

Tamsin Greig plays one of Terence Rattigan’s great roles: Hester Collyer, the clergyman’s daughter and judge’s wife rendered wretched by a love-affair with a restless ex-Battle of Britain pilot.

Lindsay Posner directs. Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath (, May 2 until June 1

The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard

Firebrand Australian director Benedict Andrews has relocated The Seagull to a holiday shack Down Under and planted Three Sisters in a wasteland. Now he turns his attention to Chekhov’s final play, with doyenne of German stage and screen Nina Hoss (Tár) making her London debut as the actress Ranevskaya.

Donmar Warehouse, London WC2 (, May 2 until June 22

Much Ado About Nothing

There’s been much ado about Globe artistic director Michelle Terry playing Richard III this season, but first off Ekow Quartey and Amalia Vitale star as Benedick and Beatrice in an “Elizabethan-dress production which will transform the Globe into a luxurious paradise,” directed by Sean Holmes.

Shakespeare’s Globe, London SE1 (, May 3 until Aug 24

Spirited Away

Following the success of My Neighbour Totoro, London gets another stage version of a Studio Ghibli hit, this one Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful 2001 blockbuster about a young girl trapped in the spirit world. John Caird directs a Japanese cast (English surtitles).

London Coliseum, London WC2 (, May 7 until August 24


This new one from James Graham – starring Julie Hesmondhalgh, directed by Adam Penford – looks at the real-life case of a Nottingham teenager who threw a fatal punch and the search for justice and forgiveness thereafter.

Nottingham Playhouse (, May 9 until May 25

Romeo and Juliet

Tom “Spiderman” Holland returns to the West End for the first time since making his debut in 2008 in Billy Elliot the musical and becoming a Hollywood A-lister; the run for Jamie Lloyd’s production sold out in just over two hours, despite the casting for Juliet not being announced (still tbc).

Duke of York’s, London WC2 (, May 23 until Aug 3

Boys from the Blackstuff

James Graham has turned Alan Bleasdale’s era-defining Liverpudlian drama series about a bunch of job-seeking workmen into “a brilliantly honed two-and-a-half hours of theatre”, or so our critic thought at the Merseyside premiere last year. Kate Wasserberg directs. Barry Sloane plays Yosser “gizza job” Hughes.

National’s Olivier Theatre, London SE1 (, May 29 until June 8

The Caretaker

Ian McDiarmid in The Caretaker
Ian McDiarmid in The Caretaker

New Festival Theatre artistic director Justin Audibert directs Pinter’s breakthrough play with Ian McDiarmid taking on the mantle of the increasingly territorial tramp who is inducted into the insalubrious orbit of Aston and his brother Mick (Adam Gillen and Jack Riddiford).

Minerva Studio, Chichester (, June 13 until July 13

Kiss Me Kate

Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me Kate
Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J. Block in Kiss Me Kate

British TV star Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty) and American stage stalwart Stephanie J Block join forces for Cole Porter’s backstage musical spin on Shakespeare’s sex-war comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Bartlett Sher directs.

Barbican Centre, London, EC2 (, June 18 until Sept 14

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Edwardian classic of childhood discovery and restoration in a garden sanctuary in Yorkshire flowers again in the hands of Holly Robinson (writer) and Anna Himali Howard (director).

Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park London NW1 (, June 25 until July 20

Next to Normal

Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Next to Normal
Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Next to Normal - Marc Brenner

The unlikely-sounding 2009 Broadway musical about a mother contending with bipolar disorder won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Michael Longhurst’s belated UK premiere – initially seen at the Donmar – has done it proud. Caissie Levy and Jamie Parker lead the cast.

Wyndham’s Theatre, London WC2 (, 26 June until Sept 21

Starlight Express

Forty years after its West End premiere and a generation after that first run ended, director Luke Sheppard revives Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wackiest musical, in which a child’s train-set comes to life; a cast of 40 will roller-skate their hearts out round a special immersive auditorium.

Troubadour, Wembley Park, London, HA9 (, previews from June 8, booking to Feb 16

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