London Theater Preview: KILLER JOE and KING LEAR (Trafalgar Studios and Duke of York’s Theatre)

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by Frank Arthur on May 5, 2018

in Extras,Theater-Regional


The West End, one of the great epicentres of the Theatrical world, is undergoing something of a renaissance these days. It has always popular with tourists and locals alike, but London’s own Broadway is increasingly putting on the most acclaimed and innovative shows on the planet, attracting an ever-growing gamut of theatre critics and seasoned culture vultures. This year is no exception and, with the West End’s prime summer season just around the corner, there’s a couple of shows that you just can’t miss. Here are the top two shows you need to catch in London this summer, as well as some handy pre-theatre dining tips to know before you go.

Killer Joe

Definitely one of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom is appearing in his first West End in over a decade. He portrays a police officer who is also secretly a paid assassin, in an unconventional re-hashing of acclaimed 1993 play by American playwright Tracy Lett.

This production is being staged at the jaw-dropping Trafalgar Studios, just a quick London Underground ride away from the famous curry mile. Otherwise known as Brick Lane, it is the perfect option for an affordable pre-show dinner – ideal given the somewhat high ticket prices for this particular show.

There are dozens of renowned Indian restaurants across this short stretch of road, covering cuisines from across the subcontinent. That said, you don’t even need to leave your flat/hotel room to sample it all. You can enjoy an improvised and gloriously Indian Pre-Theatre Menu in the build-up to this production, by ordering in some top-notch British-Indian cuisine from Deliveroo, before slipping into your glad rags and hitting up the bright lights of the West End.

This show is definitely one of the edgier plays to hit London this summer and, having received a strong R-rating in the U.S., it is definitely not for children. But the entire ensemble is star-studded and critics from across the town are predicting it to be the highest-rated show of the season, making it an absolute must-see.

King Lear

When in London, catch some Shakespeare! This will be the quintessentially London experience of the summer, with Tony Award-winning English legend Sir Ian McKellen stepping up to play King Lear himself at the prestigious Duke of York’s Theatre in the heart of the West End. The Theatre itself has a long and seriously impressive pedigree, with more iconic performers gracing the stage than you can shake a stick at.

Tickets start from an almost unbelievable £5 (on the door price only), meaning you’ll have a little extra cash to splash at some of the ritzy restaurants that surround the theatre. Head to the impossibly trendy Momo restaurant for innovative North African flavour or, if you’re feeling a little more flush, check out Aqua Nueva for decadent Spanish tapas with a breathtaking rooftop view.

Mr. McKellen first got his start at this exact same theatre over 50 years ago, so expect an emotionally-charged performance and a chance to catch a glimpse of the great and good of London’s artistic crowd. This challenging and gripping performance is one that simply cannot be missed.

photos from

King Lear
Duke of York’s Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London
plays 11 July — 3 November 2018
for tickets, visit Duke of York’s

Killer Joe
Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, Westminster
plays 18th May — 18th August 2018
for tickets, visit Trafalgar Studios

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