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Arts + Lifestyle

The Best London Theatre To See This Spring / Summer

Welcome to Citizen Femme’s guide to London’s must-see theatrical events this Spring, featuring the best new plays, shows and musicals, all bookable now. From the biggest and splashiest shows to the smaller, fringe options we’re looking forward to. They’re all well-worth booking, pronto. 

According to musical theatre maestro Andrew Lloyd-Webber, there’s nothing worse than going to the theatre on an empty stomach. “Your mind is always thinking about where you are going to get food afterwards, when you’re meant to be focussing on the story.” So, for a full evening out, book one of these ideally-located spots for pre and post theatre drinks and dining, to enhance your evening at the theatre. 


Sam Mendes directs a brilliant new play by Jack Thorne on the making of Richard Burton and John Gielgud’s Hamlet. Thorne’s new play offers an insight into the politics of a rehearsal room and looks at the relationship between art and celebrity. Starring Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud, Jonny Flynn as Richard Burton and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor, this fierce and funny new National Theatre play is a “theatrical extravaganza.” 

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This Thames-side restaurants serves a range of stone-baked pizzas and salads, to a selection of fish and meat dishes. A great place for pre-theatre nibbles and drinks, where you can soak up the atmosphere and the buzz of the South Bank. 

Post-Theatre Drinks: THE UNDERSTUDY BAR

A friendly riverside bar with a great selection of beer and guest ales and wines from independent makers. Open late, you can enjoy chats and drinks into the night after the show, possibly meet cast members enjoying drinks after performances too. 

Post-Theatre Dinner: SKYLON

SKYLON set in London’s South Bank Centre, with floor to ceiling windows framing the Thames. Serving up a variety of menus including pre-theatre, post-theatre, or drinks in the Grand Central Bar.


This immersive production of one of the greatest musicals of all time will transport you to the streets of Manhattan…and the bars of Havana. Filled with fantastic songs, laughs, and spectacular dance sequences, this critically acclaimed show is a fantastic night out. Directed by Nicholas Hytner at The Bridge, Broadway’s glossiest love story comes to life in spectacular fashion, and this is an interpretation that lives up to its towering reputation, starring Danny Mays, Andrew Richardson, Celinde Schoenmaker, Marisha Wallace, Anthony O’Donnell and Cedric Neal. Go see! 

Pre-Theatre Drinks: PROSECCO HOUSE

A chic, and vibrantly decorated spot featuring a broad prosecco list, as well as wines, champagne, cocktails, beers and spirits. A perfect place for a pre-theatre tipple, situated at on the South Bank of the River Thames at One Tower Bidge London Restaurant. This is the right place to quench your ansatiable summer thirst with Italian bubbles.

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Post-Theatre Dinner: BRIGADIERS

Ideally located for pre, or post-theatre dining, a brisk 15 minute walk from the theatre, you’ll find one of London’s finest Indian restaurants. Located in the City’s Bloomberg Arcade, Brigadiers is an Indian barbecue, beer, whisky, venue inspired by the army mess bars of India. There’s also a wraparound terrace which is perfect for alfresco dining during the summer season. 


Shirley Valentine is a monologue about a neglected woman by Willy Russell, which has been given new life in this perceptive production. Starring the talented Sheridan Smith. On the surface, all seems well for Liverpudlian housewife Shirley Valentine: she’s married, she has children, and she lives the “dream.” But her husband shows little affection towards her. As she spends her days cooking her husband’s favourite meal — chips and egg — Shirley dreams of more. 

Pre and Post-Theatre Drinks: COMMON DECENCY, NOMAD

Common Decency is the final piece of the puzzle for NoMad London. An intimate, subterranean bar, named in reference to Oscar Wilde, who was tried for “an affront to common decency” at Bow Street Magistrates Court, the site of which NoMad London has opened. In a surprisingly large basement space in the hotel with its own entrance, you’ll find a laid-back lounge bar, split into three rooms. Opt for the main lounge room which also has a small stage for entertainment, or at the bar, if you’re a fan of cocktail-making action. Classics and seasonal cocktails, expertly made, and a moreish snacks menu that may just last you past dinner. We’d give particular shout-outs to the fried chicken with miso and daikon, and the dry-aged beef burger. 

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Post-Theatre Dinner: Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

One of Covent Garden, and indeed London’s most beloved restaurants. Filled with wrought-iron tables and chairs (both inside and out), huge vintage chandeliers, Murano glassware and simple posies of freshly cut flowers, its an ideal spot as the sun sets later on and to grab a table outside. La Goccia offers Petersham Nurseries’ interpretation of the Italian aperitivo and small plates known as ‘cicchetti’. 


Following a sold-out run in Chichester in 2022, The Unfriend is in the West End for a strictly limited run at the Criterion Theatre. A thrilling, dark comedy from writer Steven Moffat and director Mark Gatiss, the award-winning team behind the BBC’s Sherlock, Peter and Debbie befriend Elsa while on holiday: a lusty, Trumploving widow from Denver, USA, and agree to stay in touch. What began as a casual holiday friendship is now a threat to the lives of their children. Peter and Debbie now face the ultimate challenge of the modern world. Starring a brilliant cast including Reece Shearsmith , Amanda Abbington and Frances Barber. 

Pre-Theatre Drinks: THE DILLY

An intimate, piano bar, downstairs at the Dilly Hotel. A cosy yet elegant piano bar, listening to London’s talented pianists and vocalists sets the tone for the evening. Enjoy live entertainment with an excellent menu, all London-inspired and created using locally-sourced products. Be sure to try their signature drink, ‘The Gimlet’, one of the most iconic cocktails of the 20th Century, adding to the speakeasy feel of the bar and served with a flavoured smoke bubble for added theatrics.


 Founded in 1867, this establishment has been going strong for literally a century and a half serving guests from Oscar Wilde, to Winston Churchill, to Agatha Christie, to Robert De Niro, to royalty before shutting down, and recently re-opening , this time, part of the Soho House group, who have turned Kettner’s Townhouse into a hotel, restaurant, and bar, with as many of the original features lovingly preserved as possible. And importantly, you don’t have to be a Soho House member to visit. There’s the Piano Bar with its own live pianist, and a Champagne Bar, and a menu focused on simple Modern European flavours, which change with the seasons. 

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The whimsical Shakespeare comedy is the first production in this summer’s season at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, with artistic director Michelle Terry playing Puck. The comedy, telling the tale of four rebellious lovers who get lost in a magical forest, throughout summer, now with a ‘misogyny and racism’ warning. In the stunning setting of The Globe, this is not just a theatre experience, but a London experience. 

Pre-Theatre Drinks: 12TH KNOT

Rumpus Room is about as classy as a hotel bar can be. Its fantastic rooftop location on the 12th floor of the Mondrian London at Sea Containers with views over the Thames, has an ideal setting to watch the sunset over a cocktail, with flickering candles dotted in and amongst, to the futuristic chandelier-style light fixture that takes centre stage. And what’s more, the terrace offers striking views of the world’s longest public art commission, Illuminated River.

Post-Theatre Dinner: THE IVY ASIA

A show-stopper restaurant, not only in its decor but also its food. Once you take your eyes off the eye-catching luminous green agate flooring, you’ll be able to enjoy the Asian inspired cuisine and innovative cocktails, with a tour of the Far East with a variety of steam, smoke and sizzles from the kitchen. After watching a spectacular theatre show, be prepared for even more theatre at dinner. 

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The stage adaptation of the million-copy bestseller by Hanya Yanagihara, by the visionary director Ivo van Hove, follows the lives of four friends who have moved from a small college town to New York City. Aspiring actor Willem, successful architect Malcolm, struggling artist JB, and prodigious lawyer Jude, find their relationship threatened as ambition, addiction, and pride start to pull the group apart. An all-star cast in what has been dubbed ‘theatrical event of 2023’.

Pre-Theatre Drinks: THE LOST ALPACA BAR

Perhaps as the name suggests, ‘The Lost Alpaca Bar’ IS mysterious venue located downstairs at Floral by LIMA, its sister restaurant, and brings a Latin American flair and fun-loving energy to London. From Mexico’s mezcal and tequilas all the way down to Brazil’s cachaça and Venezuela’s award-winning rums, The Lost Alpaca Bar brings all the best South American Tequila bars and Rum bars under one roof. 

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Post-Theatre Dinner: VYTA COVENT GARDEN 

New to the Piazza and all the way from Italy is the latest opening in the Market Building; Vyta (pronounced vee-ta). Inside and out this truly opulent space is a hot ticket for the summer and beyond. Begin your journey with a selection of small plates, followed with a pasta dish just like Nonna used to make. We suggest you try the house Aperol Sour or give freedom to the bartenders to surprise you with their own secret creations.

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