Book now for the best plays in 2016

OK, so you’ve probably got enough to do with Christmas approaching without thinking about what you’re going to see on stage next year. And yet. The thing is, if you don’t book for certain plays now, they’ll almost certainly sell out, and we, at least, wouldn’t want to miss out on what promises to be stellar work. Do also see last week’s post on The Royal Court’s 2016 season.

Hangmen by Martin McDonagh, directed by Matthew Dunster. 1 Dec – 5 March at Wyndhams Theatre. Hangmen transfers to the West End from the Royal Court where it was a sell out hit earlier this year. David Morrissey plays a hangman (the second best in England, no less) faced with his future on the day hanging is abolished in England. The Observer called it The Royal Court’s new Jerusalem, and it got total raves across the board: ‘brilliantly macabre’, said the critics. ‘Exhilarating’, ‘dialogue to die for’, ‘gripping’, ‘riveting from start to finish’, ‘pitch perfect performances…’

Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale, directed by Chrisopher Luscombe. Opens 4 February at the Apollo Theatre. This is another transfer, which was also a big critical and commercial success, though this time at Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s such a good story, that of Nell Gwynne, who began as an orange seller and rose to become one of Britain’s first and most acclaimed actresses as well as the King’s mistress. The West End production stars Gemma Arterton, who recently won an Evening Standard Award for her work in Made in Dagenham.

Elegy: 21 April – 18 June, at the Donmar Warehouse. The new play by Nick Payne, who is sizzlingly hot after his 2012 play Constellations won The Evening Standard award for Best New Play before transferring to New York (Ruth Wilson and Jake Gyllenhaal starred) where it took the city by storm. This new play, directed by the Donmar’s artistic director Josie Rourke, is a three hander exploring what happens when advances in medical science mean you can extend life. Even though this doesn’t open till the end of April, such is Payne’s currency that it’s sure to sell out super fast.

And do keep a look out for The Flick by Annie Baker which is coming to the Dorfman Theatre at the National in April (dates are not yet confirmed). Set in a run down movie house in Massachusetts and about the lives of its three employees, the play arrives in London fresh from New York where it wowed audiences and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


Hangmen: Wyndhams Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA. Nell Gwynne: Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES. Elegy: Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX. The Flick: National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX.
— Daisy
9th December 2015

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