Roundup: Check Out These Socially Distanced Shows
Theatre is back with live productions - and sensible safety measures. Here are some of the best
Hurrah for the green shoots in our beleaguered industry. Lots of venues are mounting new shows and bringing back our favourites over the next few weeks and months - albeit with social distancing and safety measures in place. Here are some of the live theatrical goodies on offer. And keep checking back for updates...
Betrayal, Theatre Royal Bath
Bath brings us a new season of classic plays with small casts. First up is Harold Pinter's remarkable study of relationships, unspooling backwards as we switch between husband, wife and best friend. It stars Nancy Carroll, Joseph Millson and Edward Bennett and Christopher Bianchi.
Until 31 October
The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse
This gorgeous actor-muso version of Jason Robert Brown's musical, about a couple falling in and out of love as they follow different career paths, is back with social distancing measures now in place, again starring Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson. Read our review here
Until 14 November
Quarter Life Crisis, Bridge Theatre
Yolanda Mercy returns with her hilarious, spoken word monologue about what it means to be a grown-up, and juggling her Nigerian heritage and London millennial experience. Backed by a wall of video screens and dance music, it's engaging and thought-provoking.
Until 14 November
Dante's In-Furlough, The Vaults
You can head back down to the Vaults for naughty antics like this new socially distanced, interactive show based on Shel Silverstein's epic poem. Travel down into the many circles of Hell and see if you can outwit the Devil - without losing your soul along the way...
Until 30 December
The Great Gatsby, Immersive LDN
Escape to the Roaring Twenties in this popular immersive production, based on F Scott Fitzgerald's iconic novel. It's been reconfigured to social distancing, and the introduction of a masquerade ball makes mask-wearing feel positively decadent.
Until 31 January, 2021
Marry Me A Little, Barn Theatre
Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker star in this bittersweet Stephen Sondheim revue, about two strangers sharing fantasies while never leaving their separate apartments (very lockdown...). It features songs from Follies, Company, A Little Night Music and more.
16 October-8 November
Next Thing You Know, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle
The pub theatre follows up its successful runs of Fanny & Stella and Pippin with this American musical about four twentysomethings grappling with love, careers, and when dreams come up against reality. It's another open-air production, but with heating!
Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre
Clint Dyer and Roy Williams' one-man show, a sequel to Death of England, was postponed when original performer Giles Terera became ill. Now, it's back with Michael Balogun, in a piece exploring what it means to be a Black, working-class man in modern Britain.
21 October-28 November
Adam Kay: This Is Going To Hurt, Apollo Theatre
Nimax's West End houses are reopening this winter, with a programme of special shows followed by long-runners. Kicking things off is the brilliant doctor-turned-comedian, and his first show is a special free performance for NHS staff.
22 October-8 November
Lone Flyer - The Last Flight of Amy Johnson, The Watermill Theatre
Hannah Edwards and Benedict Salter star in Ade Morris's play about one of the most inspirational figures of the 20th century. Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, but the outbreak of the Second World War brought very different challenges.
22 October-21 November
Bubble, Nottingham Playhouse
James Graham returns to his home city with a lockdown love story. Ashley and Morgan think they've found the one, but they have a tough decision: quarantine apart, or isolate together? The play, which stars Pearl Mackie and Jessica Raine, is also available to livestream.
Sunset Boulevard, Alexandra Palace Theatre
For two concert performances only, Mazz Murray and Kayi Ushe lead this revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical about faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond and impoverished screen writer Joe Gillis. Alastair Knights directs.
Educating Rita, Rose Theatre Kingston
Part of the theatre renaissance at the Minack in the summer, this acclaimed revival of Willy Russell's play now comes to the Rose Theatre, starring Stephen Tompkinson as tutor Frank and Jessica Johnson as hairdresser Rita, who enrols on his university course.
28 October-14 November
Lazuli Sky, Sadler's Wells
The first socially distanced performance at Sadler's is Birmingham Royal Ballet's triple bill, commissioned by Carlos Acosta. It features Will Tuckett's piece inspired by birdsong during lockdown, Vicente Nebrada's Latin-infused work, and Valery Panov's visceral solo.
Crave, Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester's first live production back is a revival of Sarah Kane's meditation on the meaning of love, as four characters search for meaning in a damaged world. It stars Erin Doherty, Alfred Enoch, Wendy Kweh and Jonathan Slinger, and is also livestreamed.
29 October-7 November
RENT, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Luke Sheppard's production of Jonathan Larson's musical is now sold out, but, if you can't score a return, you can always book tickets for the online version. The cast includes Jocasta Almgill, Blake Patrick Anderson, Dom Hartley-Harris, Millie O'Connell, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Alex Thomas-Smith.
30 October-6 December
Copenhagen, Theatre Royal Bath
Michael Frayn's dazzling historical detective story, about a clandestine encounter between two physicists in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play. Polly Findlay helms this revival, starring Haydn Gwynne, Michael Gould and Philip Arditti.
GHBoy, Charing Cross Theatre
This new play by Paul Harvard enters the party scene of East London, where young men are dying unexpectedly, and, as it follows one self-sabotaging addict's search for happiness, tackles the misconceptions about gay culture and promiscuity.
Private Peaceful, Garrick Theatre
This stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book, about a First World War soldier looking back on his life and experiences on the front line, is transferring to the West End from the Barn Theatre. It will include a gala on 11 November in aid of the Royal British Legion and Farms for City Children.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre
The award-winning musical - which has also spawned a movie version - returns to the West End, with a cast led by Noah Thomas, Katy Brand, Rufus Hound, Melissa Jacques, Sejal Keshwala and Hiba Elchikhe for a limited season.
12 November-16 January, 2021
Misfits, Queen's Theatre Hornchurch
These four premiering inspirational tales of Essex resilience are written by a quartet of the region's most exciting playwrights: Anne Odeke, Guleraana Mir, Kenny Emson and Sadie Hasler. Available to watch live or via streaming.
The Show Must Go On: Live at the Palace Theatre
The Theatre Support Fund+ continues its fantastic efforts with this short run of concerts, with all proceeds going to Acting for Others and The Fleabag Support Fund. It features cast performances from West End hits like & Juliet, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, SIX, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, The Prince of Egypt, Tina and Everybody's Talking About Jamie.
SIX, Lyric Theatre
The Queens are back! This beloved British musical was just robbed of its Broadway press night by the pandemic; hopefully they'll get another chance soon. In the meantime, those royal divas rule the stage here once again in this herstory smash hit.
14 November-31 January, 2021
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Garrick Theatre
The world-class improv troupe is doing a limited run of one-night-only musical extravaganzas. You, the audience, suggest a show title, musical style, setting and more, and the nimble performers come up with an entirely new show on the spot.
16 November-22 February, 2021 (selected dates)
Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre
The latest venture from the homegrown hit-makers Mischief Theatre is this inspired collaboration with magic great Penn & Teller. Naturally, all of the planned magic acts go wrong, in exactly the right way.
17 November-10 January, 2021
The Dumb Waiter, Hampstead Theatre
Alice Hamilton directs this homecoming of Harold Pinter's masterpiece - about two hitmen disturbed by the antics of the dumb waiter as they await instructions - which premiered here as part of the Hampstead's first ever season in 1960.
18 November-19 December
The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre
Mischief Theatre's original side-splitting production, featuring a whodunit murdered by an accident-prone am dram company, is back at the Duchess Theatre for more mayhem. It's just the tonic for these difficult times.
19 November-2 May, 2021
Peter Pan, Barn Theatre
A father tells his daughter her favourite bedtime story: about the boy who refused to grow up, and who adventured through a world of pirates, fairies and a crocodile with a ticking clock. This new version of J. M. Barrie's yarn, led by West End star Waylon Jacobs, transports you to Neverland.
21 November-3 January, 2021
A Christmas Carol, The Watermill Theatre
It just wouldn't be Christmas without at least one stage version of Charles Dickens' festive tale about Ebenezer Scrooge. Thankfully, the Watermill has two actor-musicians to conjure up to Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and those ghostly visitations.
26 November-3 January, 2021
A Christmas Carol, Bridge Theatre
Of course, it also wouldn't be Christmas without another version of the Dickens classic! Nicholas Hytner directs an exuberant new devised version, with Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran and Eben Figueiredo telling the story between them.
27 November-16 January, 2021
Cinderella, Nottingham Playhouse
The venue's original Christmas production, Beauty and the Beast, has been put back to 2021/22. In its place is a welcome Cinderella, following the family favourite story and adding upbeat musical numbers and plenty of jokes. Also livestreaming on 19 and 24 December.
27 November-16 January, 2021
Death Drop, Garrick Theatre
Murder mystery meets RuPaul's Drag Race in this hilarious new show, led by Courtney Act and Monét X Change. Guests have gathered on Tuck Island - but one by one, they sashay away. Whodunit? And who wore it best? There's only one way to find out...
3 December-17 January, 2021
Nutcracker Delights, London Coliseum
English National Ballet maintain their annual tradition, since 1950, of bringing us The Nutcracker at Christmas. This year, it's a whirlwind tour of the ballet's most popular moments, packed in a 75-minute show. A real treat for all the family.
3 December-3 January, 2021
Les Misérables - The Staged Concert, Sondheim Theatre
This concert version of Les Mis sold out in return time, but do keep an eye on returns. The star-studded run, which features Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Matt Lucas, will be dedicated to the late lyricist Herbert Kretzmer.
5 December-31 January, 2021
Potted Panto, Garrick Theatre
If you're bemoaning the loss of so many pantomimes this year, this compendium show might do the trick. Dan and Jeff whiz through seven classic pantos in just 70 minutes, from Aladdin and Dick Whittington to Cinderella - and plenty of gags in between.
5 December-10 January, 2021
A Christmas Carol, Dominion Theatre
Brian Conley stars as Scrooge in this concert version of Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent's musical. The Broadway score will played by the wonderful London Musical Theatre Orchestra, with further casting yet to be announced.
7 December-2 January, 2021
The Comeback, Noel Coward Theatre
Sonia Friedman's new production sees The Pin's Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen playing warm-ups for a fading star - and battling for the limelight when it's revealed that a Hollywood director is in attendance. This warm-hearted farce features a surprise celebrity cameo each night.
8 December-3 January, 2021
Pantoland at the Palladium
London Palladium's annual panto tradition continues with another celebrity-packed spectacular. Julian Clary, Beverley Knight, Elaine Paige, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Diversity, Charlie Stemp and Jac Yarrow all feature in this seasonal cheer.
12 December-3 January, 2021
West End Musical Christmas, Palace Theatre
There's another stellar line-up for this West End celebration, including Alice Fearn, Sophie Evans, Layton Williams, Rachel John, Ben Forster, Trevor Dion Nicholas, Shanay Holmes and Jamie Muscato - plus more special guests...
Iphigenia in Splott, Lyric Hammersmith
The Lyric reopens with Gary Owen's powerful monodrama, inspired by enduring Greek myth. Once again it stars Sophie Melville as Effie, a mess of drink, drugs and drama until she gets the chance to be something more. Artistic director Rachel O'Riordan directs.
22 January-13 February, 2021
What are you looking forward to seeing? Let us know @BroadwayWorldUK!
Photo credits: Pamela Raith, Michael Le Poer Trench