A night (or matinee) at the theatre is rightly still viewed as a special occasion.
While some ticket prices may take your breath away, there are always deals to be had whether you’re booking in advance or turning up on the day. Here is a selection of the season’s London highlights featuring some very starry names indeed. Take your seats . . .
Barbican, until 28 March
Celebrated stage and screen actress Juliette Binoche takes on the title role in Sophokles’ tragedy, directed by the highly acclaimed Ivo van Hove whose ground-breaking Roman Tragedies came to the Barbican in 2009. When her dead brother is decreed a traitor and left to rot, Antigone refuses to accept that version of truth and forges ahead with a funeral alone, bravely placing personal allegiance before politics.
THE HARD PROBLEM
Dorfman Theatre, until 16 April
Tom Stoppard’s first stageplay since 2006, it focuses on Hilary, a young psychology researcher at a brain-science institute who is having troubles at work and in her private life. She becomes at odds with her colleagues and the facility’s billionaire founder over some big questions about consciousness, psychology and biology. The Commitments this is not.
MAN AND SUPERMAN
Lyttelton Theatre, until 17 May
The irrepressible Ralph Fiennes stars in George Bernard Shaw’s provocative classic which succeeds in being a romantic comedy, epic fairytale and stark existential drama, all at the same time. Thinker and singleton Jack Tanner is in no mood to be tamed by the heiress Ann, and when he heads for the Spanish hills where he encounters The Devil, she follows in hot pursuit.
London Coliseum, 30 March-12 April
Emma Thompson is Mrs Lovett and Bryn Terfel plays the demon barber of Fleet Street in the English National Opera’s staging of Sondheim’s glorious yet stomach-churningly grim musical. Just how exactly are Todd’s customers disappearing and what are the special ingredients of Lovett’s tasty pies? Sometimes, it’s better not to know.
Apollo Theatre, 21 April-25 July
Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry, Kristin Scott Thomas plays HRH as she conducts her regular meetings with the Prime Minister of the day. We spy on her encounters with everyone from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher and Harold Wilson to Tony Blair. Just what went on behind those closed doors.
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Are you planning to go to the theatre this spring?