Shows at the Calm Down Dear festival
Shows at the Calm Down Dear festival
© Jules B+dard, Trinity Laban

5. Calm Down Dear festival

Camden People's Theatre, until 4 February

Camden People's Theatre's feminist festival Calm Down Dear has become a firm fixture in the fringe theatre calendar, now celebrating its fifth anniversary at the north London venue. The spotlight will be placed squarely on the experiences of artists of colour at the festival this year, with Racheal Ofori and Heather Agyepong's So Many Reasons, supported by a Jerwood grant, leading a packed lineup of cutting edge theatre.


George Parker in Teddy
George Parker in Teddy
© Ben Broomfield

4. Teddy

The Watermill, until 10 February then UK tour

Tristan Bernays wowed audiences last summer with his play about the British legend Boudica at the Globe, and his rock'n'roll '50s musical Teddy is now prepped for a UK tour after its opening run at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. Set in a hip south London on the night of non-stop partying, the musical combines new music with classic '50s anthems. Pukka.

See a week in the life of Teddy's Molly Chesworth


Nina Bowers rehearsing for Twilight: Los Angeles
Nina Bowers rehearsing for Twilight: Los Angeles
© Cameron Slater

3. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Gate Theatre, until 10 February

Anna Deavere Smith was nominated for two Tony Awards for her one-woman show Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 back in 1994, losing out in the Best New Play category to a little known piece called Angels in America. The charged account of the deadly riots referred to in the title, told from multiple viewpoints all recreated by the single performer, is now revived at the Gate Theatre, with direction by Ola Ince. Nina Bowers plays the twenty five different characters, in what will be a blistering reflection on racial oppression in the US.

Find out more about the Gate's 2018 season


Will Merrick, Martina Laird and Imogen Doel
Will Merrick, Martina Laird and Imogen Doel
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

2. All's Well That Ends Well

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, until 3 March

Caroline Byrne had a runaway success with her all-Irish production of The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare's Globe in 2016, so her return to the South Bank location with this new production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well looks set to be as intriguing and subversive as that production. With dying kings, brewing wars and struggling romances, this could be a cracking way to see out Emma Rice's season as outgoing artistic director.

See the cast of All's Well That Ends Well


Toby Jones rehearsing for The Birthday Party
Toby Jones rehearsing for The Birthday Party
© Johan Persson

1. The Birthday Party

Harold Pinter Theatre, until 14 April

Pinter in the Pinter to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pinter's most iconic work? Sounds like a landmark theatre moment, made all the more promising by the star-studded cast, featuring Toby Jones, Zoë Wanamaker, Stephen Mangan and Doctor Who-alumna Pearl Mackie. Set in a boarding house on the southern coast, the surreal piece takes a turn towards the absurd with the arrival of two shady unknowns.

You can read our interview with Pearl Mackie here


Last chance to see: A Christmas Carol (The Old Vic), My Mum's A Twat (Royal Court), Cell Mates (Hampstead Theatre), Julius Caesar (Barbican Theatre)