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10 anti-Valentine's Day shows to see

Sometimes love really isn't all you need...

Jessica Gunning, Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other
(© Stephen Cummiskey)

Let's face it – Valentine's Day just isn't everyone's cup of tea. So here's a list of ten shows to help avoid that day of soppy romance and cringe-y gestures.


Berberian Sound Studio

Tom Brooke in Berberian Sound Studio
© Marc Brenner

This creepy, surreal drama with innovative staging could be the perfect antidote to Valentine's Day. Based on the 2012 film of the same name, Joel Horwood and Tom Scutt's new play, premiering at the Donmar Warehouse, is set in a foley studio (where they make funky sound effects) and if the film is anything to go by it really won't feature any cockle-warming love declarations. Donmar Warehouse, 8 February to 30 March


The American Clock

Clarke Peters rehearsing for The American Clock
© Manuel Harlan

Get away from all the lovey-dovey larking around with a huge, multi-generational examination of the American Dream and the Great Depression, courtesy of Arthur Miller (who isn't exactly one for his chirpy, enduring romances). The Wire's Clarke Peters stars alongside big stagey names including Josie Walker, Golda Rosheuvel and Clare Burt. The Old Vic, until 30 March


2084

2084
© Rosanna Mallinson

Don't be fooled by the production shot of two people embracing one another – this new immersive show, set a century after Orwell's classic, is anything but a romantic occasion. With major dystopian vibes and a brilliant new story, this production allows audiences to explore Manchester's Central Library in a way never before experienced – and ask what price you'd pay to defy a regime. Manchester Central Library, 5 to 14 February


The Mousetrap

Gwyneth Strong
© Tristam Kenton

Why try and keep the romance alive when you can just keep the secrets instead! Agatha Christie's legendary thriller is still intriguing audiences in the West End, and has just kicked off a major UK tour. A murder mystery is way more fun than an overpriced meal at a random restaurant! St Martin's Theatre (booking until forever) and Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, 11 to 16 February


True West

Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn in True West
© Marc Brenner

Playwright Sam Shepard will never be theatre's answer to Nicholas Sparks, and his grungy, fractious play True West shows two brothers very much at odds rather than best of friends. Besides, if you don't go with a significant other then swooning over this revival's two lead stars Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn will make you feel less guilty. Win win. Vaudeville Theatre, until 23 February


The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show
(© David Freeman)

Time Warping its way around the UK is a new Rocky Horror Show tour, featuring Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams as the fish-out-of-water leads Brad and Janet. The pair are plunged into the surreal world of the lace-loving sweet transvestite Frank-N-Furter. Not romantic and definitely oodles of fun! New Wimbledon Theatre, 11 to 16 February


All About Eve

Gillian Anderson in All About Eve
© Jan Versweyveld

The chance to see two major stars – Gillian Anderson and Lily James – on stage in the West End may sound like a perfect gift for a significant other, but the content of All About Eve is far less romantic. Exploring an obsessional and destructive relationship between a Hollywood star and her biggest fan, this is the sort of show for those who want edgy, contemporary and meaty themes, especially given the production is directed by Ivo Van Hove, responsible for shows like Network and Hedda Gabler. Noël Coward Theatre, until 11 May


Eat Your Heart Out

Eat Your Heart Out
© Laurence Howe

How better to ignore Valentine's Day than boogying the night away down at theatre land's edgiest venue? The Vaults are hosting a special late-night bonanza as part of the annual VAULT festival for anyone wanting to lark around and ignore the romance. A cabaret club night presented by Shotgun Carousel, expect a lot of bio-friendly glitter and some killer tunes, with DJ sets from the likes of Metronomy's Anna Prior. The Vaults, 16 February


Rock of Ages

The company of Rock of Ages
© Richard Davenport

Why love someone special when you can love rock'n'roll! Cult classic musical Rock of Ages is tearing its way around the UK on a brand new tour, featuring some of the most iconic, fist-pumping tracks of all time. The cast includes Kevin Kennedy, Jodie Steele and Zoe Birkett who are all a bit legendary and are guaranteed to rock you like a hurricane. Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, 12 to 16 February


When we Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other

Jessica Gunning, Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other
(© Stephen Cummiskey)

This divisive show starring Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane has sold out, but, who knows, maybe the best way to spend Valentine's Day might be queueing up at 4 in the morning in the February cold to get day tickets for a show all about the destructive nature of romance, power and capitalism. Featuring Cate Blanchett as someone who may or may not be called Pamela. National Theatre, until 2 March

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