Book Ahead For Six Sparkling Shows in London

Welcome these new shows to the London stage, from the opera Madam Butterfly to Samuel Beckett's Happy Days

Red hot tango, sublime opera and even a woman buried to the waist in sand... take your pick from these new shows in London.

Madam Butterfly (26 February-15 March)

Even though Puccini’s masterpiece is one of the world’s most performed operas, fans of the Italian maestro will be salivating at the prospect of this production. The tragic tale of doomed love combined with standout arias, such as One Fine Day, and superb direction by David Freeman make this a sure-fire winner. The story follows the relationship between an American naval lieutenant and his Japanese bride. No spoilers here, but it won’t be a surprise to opera buffs to learn that it doesn’t end well for the bride. Royal Albert Hall

Tango Fire (to 14 February)


Tango Fire at Peacock Theatre, London, UK
On fire! Red hot, smouldering dance, an unorthodox take on Argentine tango (courtesy Sadler's Wells)

While in most dance companies the choreographer is king, Argentine troupe Tango Fire does things a little differently, with five sultry couples dancing routines they’ve choreographed themselves. The result is a show that may as well be smoking, it’s so hot. It’s not for purists—this turbo-charged tango bends the rules and borrows from other dance disciplines—but makes it all the more impressive to watch. Audience members can take part in free (to ticket holders) post-show dance classes on 3 & 10 Feb. Peacock Theatre

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical (from 10 February)

It’s hard to believe that Carole King was just 17 years old when she wrote Will You Love Me Tomorrow. Newly married to her college sweetheart, King crafted what is now regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time. This is the story told in Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, following its 2014 world premiere in New York. The show, still running on Broadway, charts her rise to fame from pregnant teenager to Grammy Award-winning star, framed around her wonderful songs, including Locomotion, You’ve Got a Friend and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. Aldwych Theatre

L’Ormindo (3 February-5 March)

L'Ormindo at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London, UK
The candlelit intimacy of Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is perfect for this opera (© Stephen Cumminskey)

The intimate Baroque opera L’Ormindo received a clutch of five-star reviews when it opened at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse last season. The piece returns to the atmospheric venue this month, its nine singers and eight musicians telling the story of Ormindo and Amidas, a pair of princes in love with the same woman and each determined to get their way. Francesco Cavalli’s opera is a perfect fit for this Jacobean playhouse, having been first performed in a venue similar in size and format in Venice in 1644. Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Happy Days (13 February-21 March)

Winnie in Happy Days, Young Vic, London, UK
Winnie sits for the entire length of Happy Days, waist-deep in sand! (©Johan Persson)

Samuel Beckett’s Winnie must be one of the most challenging female parts in 20th-century theatre. Buried up to her waist in sand for the entirety of Happy Days, the actor playing Winnie must keep up an almost unceasing stream of chatter, expressing the desperation that comes from being isolated and alone in the modern world. Yet Juliet Stevenson (Emma), who returns to the role in this revival of the Young Vic’s 2014 production, makes it all look incredibly easy. The Young Vic

Man And Superman (from 17 February)

Ralph Fiennes takes the lead in George Bernard Shaw’s witty play, an epic fairytale regarding fundamental questions including how we live. Fiennes plays Jack Tanner, a celebrated thinker and bachelor, who is given the unlikely task for being a guardian for a young heiress. But when romance gets in the way, it leads to a trip to see the Devil in a heaven-versus-hell situation. National Theatre

The Nether (to 25 April)

The Nether, at Duke of York Theatre, London, UK
The Nether presents a disturbing, dystopian look at the future, with fabulous staging (©Johan Persson)

The Internet has changed our lives for the better, but are we taking seriously potential negative implications of this powerful technology? This is the basis of The Nether, a crime thriller by American writer Jennifer Haley. Set in 2050 in a dystopian future, it depicts a child abuse scandal taking place in ‘The Nether’, a virtual world where anything is possible with no moral rules. The production is also a visual delight, with the virtual world brought to life by designer Es Devlin, who has designed concert tours for the likes of Miley Cyrus, Kanye West and the Pet Shop Boys. Duke of York's Theatre