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Top London Theatre to Catch This Summer
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Top London Theatre to Catch This Summer

Picture of Jamie Moore
Updated: 9 February 2017
June’s twinkling eyes have sprung open and we sit broiling in her sunny gaze. With tantalizing glimpses of English summer come a variety of enthralling theatrical events to London; browse this list of our favorites.

Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage – Arcola Theatre

Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage by Robin Soans, produced collaboratively by Out of Joint and National Theatre Wales comes to the Arcola Theatre this June. Soans’s play tells the story of Gareth Thomas, the Welsh rugby legend who came out as gay, in tandem with his hometown of Bridgend that saw a number of untimely young deaths between 2007 and 2012. The cast of six toss a rugby ball between them, switching characters as they do so, each taking a turn at playing the protagonist and emphasizing the complexity and conflict with both Thomas’s identity and that of his hometown. Tickets are available on the Arcola’s website.

Playing until 20 June

Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL, +44 20 7503 1646

King John – Shakespeare’s Globe

Having previously played in the hallowed halls of Salisbury’s enormous cathedral, Shakespeare’s history play King John comes home to roost on the banks of the Thames in Shakespeare’s Globe this June. James Dacre directs this dynamic production and this June’s performances mark the first time the play has been performed at the Globe. Set just after the extinction of Richard the Lionheart, Shakespeare’s piece tells the dramatic story of the struggle for power between his brother, the eponymous King John, and his France-based nephew, Arthur. A melange of fluid staging and excellent performances from its talented cast make this production one of the must-see theatrical events this June. Tickets can be purchased online.

Playing until 27 June

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT, +44 (0) 20 7902 1400

Teddy – Southwark Playhouse

New play Teddy, written by actor and playwright Tristan Bernays, is a veritable slicked-back barnet of visual and sonic delights that is currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse. The venue is an apposite location for the world premiere of Teddy, as the the play’s action occurs one Saturday night in 1956 in North London. The eponymous protagonist Teddy and his feisty midnight companion, Josie, are both superbly played by Joseph Prower and Jennifer Kirby respectively. In one corner of Southwark Playhouse’s ‘Large’ space sit a fictional band- ‘Johnny Valentine & The Broken Hearts’- played by real-life, talented musicians, playing original songs written collaboratively by Dougal Irvnine and Tristan Bernays. Rock up early at 7.15pm and catch the pre-show ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ gig in which a number of these tracks are strummed gleefully. Procure yourself a ticket for this superlative piece of theatre via their website.

Playing until 27 June

Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD, +44 20 7407 0234

Chef – Soho Theatre

Sling yourself into a sizzling saucepan of drama and catch Chef at the Soho Theatre this June. Chef details the dramatic fall from grace of a haute-cuisine head-chef who finds herself running a prison kitchen after having been convicted of criminal activity. Written by Sabrina Mafouz, this award-winning poetic play is brimming with zesty action, outstandingly performed by actor Jade Anouka. Be sure to book yourself a ticket to see this acclaimed show via the Soho Theatre’s website.

Playing until 4 July

Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3NE, +44 20 7478 0100

I And The Village – Theatre 503

This June sees the Bruntwood Playwriting Prize-shortlisted play I And The Village performed at Theatre 503. Written by the award-winning playwright Silva Semerciyan, this bildungsroman interrogates America’s infatuation with firearms and playfully toys with the concepts of conformity and dissent in American society. Robert Shaw Cameron directs an exemplary cast, whose amalgamated efforts make this a production not to miss this June- buy your tickets online.

Playing until 4 July

Theatre 503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW, +44 20 7978 7040

We Want You To Watch – National Theatre

We Want You To Watch by RashDash and Alice Birch is ‘about pornography.’ The play’s world premiere is taking place this June at the National Theatre in its Temporary Theatre. In amongst the strong language and illicit subject matter dwells a serious message about the way we use our own- and other people’s- bodies and how self-gratification can have ramifications beyond a clandestine closed bedroom door. This frenetic performance is punched into life by an effusive cast. Be sure to secure yourself a ticket via the National Theatre’s website.

Playing until 11 July

National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, +44 20 7452 3000

As You Like It – Shakespeare’s Globe

The theatre on show this June at Shakespeare’s Globe is sustenance for the mind, not least this tale of Rosalind. This production of As You Like It is a classic of the Shakespearean comic genre; cross-dressing, hidden identities and neatly-resolved romance, all fantastically acted by a proficient flock of Shakespearean actors. Michelle Terry, who plays Rosalind, trots around the stage, pulling in volleys of laughter from the roisterous Globe audience. Directed by Blanche McIntyre, this lighthearted romp is certainly worth seeing this June; purchase your tickets online.

Playing until 22 July

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT, +44 (0) 20 7902 1400

The Beaux’ Stratagem – National Theatre

The National Theatre plays host to Restoration comedy at its very best in the guise of George Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem. At the center of the narrative are two wily young chaps, Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer – played marvellously by Samuel Barnett and Geoffrey Stretfeild respectively. Both characters are blessed with abundant charm, guile and grace, but lack fortunes buxom enough for their continued existence in London society. They seek succour in provincial Lichfield, the place that forms the backdrop for a series of hilarious japes, jigs and intrigue. Simon Godwin’s production is spirited, amusing and dramatically staged on a towering set in the cavernous Olivier Theatre; be sure to secure a ticket via the National Theatre’s website.

Playing until 20 September

National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, +44 20 7452 3000

The Red Lion – National Theatre

Limber up and jog over to the Dorfman Theatre in the National Theatre for the premiere of Patrick Marber’s new play The Red Lion. Set in the glamour-free world of lower league, semi-professional football, the narrative focuses around the sudden emergence of a sparkling sporting talent in the form of fledgling footballer Jordan, capably played by Calvin Demba. Marber’s play burrows into the core of what makes football ‘the beautiful game’ in this enthralling sports-based drama. Be sure to purchase a ticket via the National Theatre’s website.

Playing until 30 September

National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, +44 20 7452 3000