15 summer shows to book now

Our guide to the summer shows you need to see in the capital this year.

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The days are lighter, the sun has got his hat on and Pimm’s is flowing like tap water, which can only mean that summer is here! Catch a wide selection of fantastic productions in London this June, July and August, from massive musical hits and long-running plays to new drama and jaw-dropping circus. We’ve picked a selection of our favourite summer shows to help you with your choice.

London summer shows: plays

Pressure (Ambassadors Theatre) – From 6 June

Pressure by David Haig at Park Theatre
Pressure by David Haig at Park Theatre

Being a weatherman is difficult at the best of times, the decision whether to barbeque or not to barbecue often lays in their hands. But imagine trying to predict the weather for the Second World War’s D-Day landings, when the fate of 350,000 soldiers relies on you being correct. David Haig’s drama is the story of one man in just that position. BOOK NOW

Imperium I: Conspirator and Imperium II: Dictator (Gielgud Theatre) – From 14 and 21 June

Imperium II: Dictator at the Gielgud Theatre (Image: ikin Yum)
Imperium II: Dictator at the Gielgud Theatre (Image: ikin Yum)

See the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Cicero plays as they come to London. Based on Robert Harris’ novels, the pair of shows follow Cicero’s rise in popularity, the crumbling of the Roman Republic and the ascension of Julius Caesar. BOOK NOW FOR CONSPIRATOR OR DICTATOR

The Jungle (Playhouse Theatre) – From 16 June

The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre

Previously a hit at the Young Vic, this drama exploring life in the Calais refugee camp heads to the West End. Co-directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, the show tells a tale of human survival and hope, despite the most desperate conditions.

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Noël Coward Theatre) – From 23 June

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noel Coward Theatre
The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noel Coward Theatre

Written by Oscar winner Martin McDonagh, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore is a dark comedy set in Ireland. Poldark’s Aidan Turner plays Mad Padraic, a terrorist who sets his sights on revenge when he learns his pet cat has been attacked. BOOK NOW

The Lehman Trilogy (National Theatre) – From 4 July

The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre
The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre

Sam Mendes directs the UK premiere of this epic drama. Follow the rise and fall of the Lehman family, who found one of the world’s most influential financial institutions… the same institution caught in the middle of the 2008 banking collapse.

A Monster Calls (The Old Vic) – From 7 July

A Monster Calls at The Old Vic
A Monster Calls at The Old Vic

Discover the story of a 13-year-old boy whose father has moved to America and mother can’t recover from a serious illness. One night he receives an unusual visitor, a monster with a story to tell. BOOK NOW

Allelujah! (Bridge Theatre) – From 11 July

Allelujah! at Bridge Theatre (Image courtesy of Premier PR)
Allelujah! at Bridge Theatre (Image courtesy of Premier PR)

Alan Bennett’s new play is set in a hospital faced with closure. While the hospital fights for survival, a documentary crew is embedded in the geriatric ward, following the exploits of an old people’s choir.

King Lear (Duke of York’s Theatre) – From 11 July

King Lear starring Ian McKellen at the Duke of York's Theatre. (Image: Manuel Harlan. Courtesy of The Cornershop PR)
King Lear starring Ian McKellen at the Duke of York’s Theatre. (Image: Manuel Harlan. Courtesy of The Cornershop PR)

Catch X-Men and Lord Of The Rings star – and stage legend – Ian McKellen in Shakespeare’s tragedy. McKellen plays an ageing monarch who splits his kingdom between his three daughters. It is a decision that triggers his downfall.

Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe) – From 20 July

Othello at Shakespeare's Globe (Image courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe)
Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe (Image courtesy of Shakespeare’s Globe)

Oscar winner Mark Rylance returns to Shakespeare’s Globe to play the dastardly Iago in Shakespeare’s drama, following a general who is manipulated into a jealous rage.

London summer shows: musicals

Heathers The Musical (The Other Palace) – From 9 June

Heathers The Musical at The Other Palace
Heathers The Musical at The Other Palace

Carrie Hope Fletcher leads the cast of this cult musical. Based on the 1980s film, Heathers The Musical is set in a classic, cliquey high school. When rebellious new boy JD arrives, people start dying. BOOK NOW

Fun Home (Young Vic) – From 18 June

Fun Home at Young Vic (Image courtesy of Young Vic)
Fun Home at Young Vic (Image courtesy of Young Vic)

The Tony Award-winning musical theatre show receives its UK premiere. Follow the life of Alison, from her schooling in the 1970s, to coming out to her parents and finding love.

The King And I (London Palladium) – From 21 June

The King And I at London Palladium
The King And I at London Palladium

Catch Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara in this classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  With songs including Getting To Know You and Shall We Dance, it tells the story of Anna Leonowens, a woman who moves to Siam to tutor the king’s children and wives. BOOK NOW

Knights Of The Rose (Arts Theatre) – From 29 June

Knights Of The Rose at Arts Theatre
Knights Of The Rose at Arts Theatre

Discover a new musical that mixes rock hits with swords, chivalry and sacrifice. Music from Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi and Bonnie Tyler features in this tale of knights returning from battle to find they have an even greater fight on their hands. BOOK NOW

Little Shop Of Horrors (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) – From 3 August

Little Shop Of Horrors at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (Image courtesy of Jo Allan PR)
Little Shop Of Horrors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (Image courtesy of Jo Allan PR)

US drag star Vicky Vox plays man-eating plant Audrey II, as cult musical Little Shop Of Horrors comes to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, one of the best venues to see summer shows in London. Marc Antolin plays Seymour, a lovelorn shop assistant who discovers a hungry new plant at his Skid Row florists. BOOK NOW

London summer shows: entertainment

Sounds And Sorcery Celebrating Disney Fantasia (The Vaults) – From 3 July

Sounds And Sorcery Celebrating Disney Fantasia at The Vaults
Sounds And Sorcery Celebrating Disney Fantasia at The Vaults

Dive into the world of Disney’s Fantasia with this new immersive show that takes place under Waterloo station. Walk through the tunnels as the show transforms The Vaults into a world of wonder and magic using music, lighting, design and special effects. BOOK NOW