Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (2023)



The super-talented Andrew Scott plays multiple characters in Simon Stephens' radical one-man adaptation of Uncle Vanya. Stephens, who previously worked with Scott on Sea Wall and Birdland, says it's a "subtle distillation" of Anton Chekhov's original.
Richmond Theatre, 28 August – 2 September andDuke of York's Theatre, London, 15 september – 21 september october

god of carnage

Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (1)

Yasmina Reza's multi-award-winning, pitch-black satire about two middle-class couples fighting like children over their children never seems to lose its ferocious thrill. Christopher Hampton's translation is directed by Nicholai La Barrie.
Lyrik Hammersmith, London, 1.–30. september


Fresh from her huge success as Blanche DuBois in Almeida's A Streetcar Named Desire, Patsy Ferran takes on the iconic role of Cockney florist Eliza Doolittle opposite Bertie Carvel as Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw's classic tale of class, love and transformation.
Old Vic Theatre, London6 september – 28 september october

Nice thing

Jonathan Harvey's 90s tale of two bullied teenagers in a south London estate is getting a 30th anniversary production, directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike. A piece about community, friendship and the passion for young love.
Theatre Royal Stratford East, London8 September – 7 September October. So on tour

Death of England: closing time

The final installment of Clint Dyer and Roy Williams' hugely successful theater series, which previously explored identity, race and Britishness through the prism of male protagonists. This film focuses on the women in her life, played by Jo Martin and Hayley Squires.
Dorfman-Theater, London, 13. september–11. november

Mlima's story

Directed by Miranda Cromwell, Lynn Nottage's play promises to be a powerful tale of the barbarism of the ivory trade, centered on the spirit of Mlima the elephant. This is one of two UK firsts for Nottage:Clydes, located at a truck stop in Pennsylvania, will open at the Donmar Warehouse in October.
Kiln Theatre, London, 14 september – 21 september october

King Stakh's Wild Hunt

Based on the 1964 novel by Uladzimir Karatkievich, Belarus Free Theatre's gothic noir is inspired by Eastern European folklore and tells the story of a young heir trying to break free from an evil curse. The production brings together actors, opera singers and musicians from Belarus and Ukraine.
Barbican-Theater, London, 14.–16. september

The Real and Imaginary Story of the Elephant Man

A radical reinterpretation of the life of Joseph Merrick, whose disability was openly stigmatized in 19th century Britain. This European premiere from Australian playwright Tom Wright follows Merrick on his journey to belonging as he traverses London's workhouses, hospitals and 'freak shows'.
Nottingham Playhouse, Sep 16-Sep 7 August October

Twilight Boulevard

This revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, based on Billy Wilder's 1950 film, is rounded out by Nicole Scherzinger's celebrity cast as once-famous Hollywood star Norma Desmond. Directed by Jamie Lloyd, who has radically revised classics such as Cyrano de Bergerac and The Seagull.
Savoy Theatre, London, 21 September–6 January 2024

scammer 22

Co-created by a team of seven from Access All Areas, a theater company made up of artists with learning disabilities and autism, this Molly Davies drama is described as a playful story of "barrier navigation, the politics of neurodiversity and the power sharing of the platform".
Royal Court Theatre, London, 23.–14. September October

The hypochondriac

Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (3)

A revival of poet and national treasure Roger McGough's acclaimed adaptation of Molière's satire about the self-obsessed Argan who can't seem to stay away from his family doctor. Told with music and dance.
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 30 september – 21 september october

And then there were no more

This crime thriller will undoubtedly be a magnet for any Agatha Christie fan, but it has the added appeal of being one of the best-selling crime novels of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide. Directed by Lucy Bailey, the film gathers ten strangers in a lonely mansion, bringing with it a storm and a host of secrets.
Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton, 7-16september

To score

It may not fill the void in terms of legacy left in the lives of those mourning the end of the hit streak, but this play brings Brian Cox to the stage, which is an exciting prospect by anyone's standards. He plays Johann Sebastian Bach in Oliver Cotton's new drama directed by Trevor Nunn.
Theater Royal Bath, 12–28. October

The request

Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (4)

Written by Guardian investigative correspondent Harry Davies, this drama follows a rising Westminster star who has his sights set on Number 10 - until he becomes embroiled in a scandal. Exploring the intersection of politics, justice and ambition sounds like a play for our time in every way.
Minerva-Theater, Chichester, 13 October–11. November

König Lear

Recognized as one of the most accomplished Shakespearean actors of our time, Kenneth Branagh returns to the stage to take on the aging King of the Bard. He will also direct the production for 50 performances in London before traveling to New York in 2024.
Wyndham's Theatre, London, Oct 21–9. Oct Dec

The witches

Based on the story by Roald Dahl, this is being offered as a "fast-paced musical" and has a top team behind it: written and lyrics by Olivier Award winner Lucy Kirkwood, music and lyrics by Dave Malloy and direction by von Lyndsey Turner.
Olivier Theatre, London, 7 November–27 January 2024

The Haunting of Enfield

Written by Paul Unwin, co-creator of the TV series Casualty and starring Catherine Tate and David Threlfall, this play is based on the true story of a family gripped by an apparently supernatural event. Creepily appealing.
Theatre Royal Brighton, 14–18 November. So on tour

Stranger Things: The First Shadow

Following the trend of adapting hit movies for the stage, this show, based on Netflix's 80s sci-fi horror series, is even more retro in style. It takes us back to Hawkins, Indiana in 1959 for a prequel to the TV series. Written by Kate Trefry, directed by Stephen Daldry, co-directed by Justin Martin.
Phoenix-Theater, London, 17. november–25. august 2024

The Mongol Khan

A sumptuous production with more than 70 actors who come from Mongolia and tell about its 2,000-year history. Inspired by traditional nomadic dances and the music of the ancient Hun culture of Central Asia from the Hun Empire period, it was written by Lkhagvasuren Bavuu and includes puppetry.
London Colosseum, 17. november–2. december


Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (5)

Several Macbeths will be coming here over the next few months. Set in purpose-built cinemas, this film, starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma and directed by Simon Godwin, promises to be a thrilling take on Shakespeare's tragedy of power, superstition and murderous ambition.
Das Depot, Liverpool, 18. november–20. december. So on tour


TJ & Dave

There are few superstars in improv who drive their craft away from the stress and rush of fame and glory. But with their humble, reserved but brilliantly unfolded spontaneous scenarios, Chicagoan improvisers areTJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesiis as close as possible. This rare visit to London is a must.
Soho-Theater, London, 5.-9. september

Jordan Grey

There are breakthroughs, and then there are othersJordan Greyis 2022 which has lastedin a life-changing fringe race in Edinburgh, an Ofcom-disturbing shirtless TV appearance that got everyone talking - then a solo show, the first by a trans performer, at the London Palladium. Want to see what all the fuss was about? A first national tour is imminent.
Tabakfabrik Bristol, 6. september.So on tour

Lucy Beaumont

Lucy Beaumont's stand-up career has gone smoothly after an award-winning debut on stageRand 2014. TV writing took over the role, also to great acclaim, and the Hull native returns with a huge following as the creator and co-star (with husband Jon) of "Meet the Richardsons. Her title "The Trouble & Strife" suggests that there will be even more division in the marriage...
Gala Durham, 4 October.Then tripG

Bitter Bitter

His wacky music videos - to come - and his 'Race Around Britain' YouTube series made him a star. The headmaster and the TV executives waved. Now we find out about the playful and razor-sharp satiristBitter Bittercan make it possible live on stage.
O2 Academy Leicester, 5 October. So on tour

Viggo Venn

Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (6)

A generous donor tothe hilarity of the comedy sceneFor years, Norwegian clown Viggo Venn has exuded a nobler air after winning first prize, £250,000 and Simon Cowell's affection at Britain's Got Talent 2023. Will success go to his head? All will be revealed when Hi-Vis Idiot hits the streets in October.
Milton Keynes Stables, 23rd October.So on tour


Ailey 2

The junior section of New York's Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates the company's 50th anniversary with a UK tour. Twelve extremely impressive young dancers perform works by William Forsythe, Robert Battle and the new director of Ailey 2, Francesca Harper, as well as Ailey's legendary 1960 work Revelations.
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, 19.–20. september.So on tour

Black Sabbath – Das Ballett

Starry Shakespeare, super stand-ups and a Black Sabbath ballet: autumn 2023's best theatre, dance and comedy (7)

It sounds a bit like spinal tap, but Black Sabbath - The Ballet is really happening, courtesy of Birmingham Royal Ballet and with Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's blessing. The Brummie band's hits are orchestrated and performed live, with choreography by Swedish dance artist Pontus Lidberg.
BirminghamHippodrom, 23.-30. september.So on tour

Pam Tanowitz og David Lang: Song of Songs

This is the UK premiere of acclaimed choreographer Pam Tanowitz's exploration of the history of Jewish dance, created in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Tanowitz's fascinating, intelligent, mostly abstract phrasing fulfills the text of the biblical poem of the same name, also known as "Song of Solomon."
Barbican, London, 11.-14. October

Free your mind

A reimagining of the Matrix movies two decades later, now that the metaverse suggests alternate realities and AI is on the loose. This opening show for Manchester's Factory International reunites some of the team from the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony: choreographer Kenrick Sandy, composer Mikey Asante and director Danny Boyle.
Factory International, Manchester, 13 October–5. November

BalletBoyz: England i Flammen


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