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King Lear, Shakespeare’s Globe, 2022
Photo by Kate Bones

The best new London theatre for 2022 – shows not to miss

Our pick of the best new plays, shows and musicals to book for in London’s theatres in 2022

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
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Touch wood, but there's every reason to think that 2022 will be the first year since 2019 that London’s theatres won’t have been forced to close en masse as a result of the global pandemic. We’re not out of the woods yet, but theatre survived 2020 and 2021 and it’s not going away any time soon. So with just the tiniest note of caution, let’s get excited for London theatre in 2022, as the plays, musicals and other good stuff we’re used to by-and-large return to how they were.

These choices aren’t the be-all and end-all of great theatre in 2022, but they are, as a rule, the biggest and splashiest shows of the year, the big highlights in the year’s theatre diary – the shows worth booking for, pronto.

Want to see if these shows live up to the hype? Check out our theatre reviews.

Unmissable theatre shows coming to London in 2022

  • Theatre
  • Shakespeare
  • Seven Dials

Kit Harrington returns to the stage to tackle Shakespeare’s dashing young monarch Henry V in this new production, directed by Max Webster…

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Leicester Square

Ruth Wilson reunites with legendary Belgian director Ivo van Hove for this revival of Jean Cocteau’s classic 1930 monologue in which a woman speaks on the phone to her lover one last time.

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Tower Bridge

Playwright David Hare, director Nicholas Hytner and actor Ralph Fiennes reconvene for ‘Straight Line Crazy’, a drama about Bob Moses, the unelected civil planner who become one of the most powerful and divisive men in mid-twentieth-century New York.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Soho

Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s civil rights classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ took Broadway by storm. Bartlett Sher’s production was due on the West End in 2020, but finally arrives one pandemic later under the auspices of Sonia Friedman Productions. Replacing the originally pencilled in Rhys Ifans, Rafe Spall will star as principled white Southern attorney Atticus Finch.

 

"Daddy"
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Islington

Another feather in the cap for the Almeida, which bags the UK debut for US playwright Jeremy O Harris, whose wildly controversial ‘Slave Play’ was the talk of Broadway in 2019. "Daddy" depicts a corrosive relationship between a young black artist and an older white art collector.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Waterloo

Well this sounds wildly provocative. Eight years ago, Mike Bartlett had his big stage breakthrough with ‘King Charles III’, a jaw-droppingly audacious verse drama that imagined Prince Charles causing a constitutional crisis upon his ascent to the throne. Now Bartlett reunites with director Rupert Goold for ‘The 47th’, a ‘viciously funny’ verse play imagining of the 2024 US election campaign.

  • Theatre
  • Interactive
  • Woolwich

Eight years after ‘The Drowned Man’, the mighty Punchdrunk – hands down the best immersive theatre company in the world – finally return with this immense new show…

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Waterloo

Colloquially known as ‘Sexy Oklahoma’, US director Daniel Fish’s stripped back, smoulderingly intense, radically inclusive new version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic took Broadway by storm in 2019 and would probably have come over here earlier if it weren’t for you-know-what…

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Bloomsbury

Ah wella wella… it’s back! ‘Grease’ returns for 2022 in a brand new production from Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Arlene Philips. We’re promised a different side to ‘Grease’ than the last, play-it-safe revival, with a grittier edge and songs and script from the original production restored.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Leicester Square

Jodie Comer makes her stage debut in a monologue about a brilliant, competitive young working-class barrister whose upwards ascent is suddenly stalled when a colleague rapes her…

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Shaftesbury Avenue

Mark Rylance reprises the greatest performance of the twenty-first century as the original production of ‘Jerusalem’ returns for 2022.

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  • Theatre
  • Shakespeare
  • South Bank

Although all Globe outdoor shows are equal, some are clearly more equal than others, and it’s hard not to see this production of ‘King Lear’ starring the great Kathryn Hunter in the title role as anything other than the flagship play in the 2022 season…

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Leicester Square

‘The Seagull’ flies again! The Jamie Lloyd Company’s 2020 production of Chekhov’s masterpiece marked the West End debut of Emilia Clarke: and it started previews before being shuttered by the pandemic on the week it was due to open. Now it’s it’s back, with a largely unchanged company headed by Clarke…

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