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The best theatre shows to book tickets for in 2021, in London and the UK

The Mousetrap, St Martin’s Theatre

The longest-running show in the world is back, and with a new starry cast to play out Agatha Christie’s fiendish murder mystery. They include Strictly Come Dancing finalist Danny Mac, Olivier Award winner Cassidy Janson, EastEnders’ Anthony Trueman, and former children’s TV stalwart Derek Griffiths.

Booking from May 17

Minack Theatre, Cornwall

The plucky Cornish outdoor theatre was quick off the mark in 2020, and looks to repeat the feat this year, with events programmed from May. They include concerts from Fishermen’s Friends and Scott Matthews, play And Then Come the Nightjars, and family fare like The Further Adventures of Doctor Dolittle. 

Booking from May 17

Footprints Festival, Jermyn Street Theatre

How can the tiny London venue reopen with social distancing? The solution is this three-month, hybrid live-digital festival: 43 small-scale productions playing to audiences of 25 people in the theatre, and also streamed for viewers at home. There will be matinee, evening and late-night shows, mixing drama, music, poetry and comedy.

Booking from May 17

The Mill at Sonning: Relatively Speaking and more

Having received a lifesaving £448,580 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, the picturesque riverside dinner theatre reopens with Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy, followed by Ray Cooney’s Two into One, and Irving Berlin musical Top Hat for Christmas. There’s also fundraiser An Afternoon with Dame Judi Dench on July 25.

Booking from May 18

A Russian Doll, Barn Theatre and Arcola Theatre

The Barn in Cirencester is teaming up with the east London venue (which introduces a new outdoor space) to produce the world premiere of Cat Goscovitch’s new play. Based on a true story, it dramatises a very real contemporary scandal: Russia’s disinformation campaign during the EU referendum. Nicolas Kent directs.

Booking from May 18

Shakespeare’s Globe: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet

The Globe, which missed out on its summer season last year, is welcoming audiences back – amidst Covid-safe measures like having chairs in the Yard instead of milling crowds. Artistic director Michelle Terry will play Viola in Twelfth Night, directed by Sean Holmes, while Ola Ince directs Alfred Enoch and Rebekah Murrell in Romeo & Juliet.

Booking from May 19

Les Misérables, Sondheim Theatre

The French Revolutionary musical returns, initially with an encore of its 2020 concert version, and then the full production from September 25. The cast features Jon Robyns, Bradley Jaden, Lucie Jones, Shan Ako and Josefina Gabrielle, delivering heart-pounding numbers like I Dreamed A Dream, Do You Hear The People Sing? and Bring Him Home. The show is also out on tour from November.

Booking from May 20 

Amélie, Criterion Theatre

Joining Les Mis in the West End is another popular French musical. Amélie, based on the quirky 2001 romcom, sees the titular character improvising small acts of kindness, and finding her own chance of happiness through love. It ran at The Other Palace in 2019, and stars the Olivier-nominated Audrey Brisson, leading an actor-musician cast.

Booking from May 20

Shaw Shorts and more, Orange Tree Theatre

The south-west London venue begins its Recovery Season with a double bill of Bernard Shaw: How He Lied to Her Husband and Overruled. That’s followed by Bryony Lavery’s Last Easter, the UK premiere of Michele Lee’s Rice, and a Paul Miller reviving his 2019 production of Terence Rattigan’s While the Sun Shines.  

Booking from May 22

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