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Best short and one-act plays you can see in London

Sometimes short really is sweet

Rachel Tucker in Come From Away
© Matthew Murphy

Interval shminterval! While long-haul shows like Harry Potter are all well and good, sometimes a quick burst of theatre magic can be a welcome experience. Here our one pick of sub-two-hour one-act shows currently or about to appear in London, ranked from shortest to longest.


Six

The cast of Six perform at the newly rechristened Haus of Holbein, formerly the Arts Theatre
© Idil Sukan

Six clocks in at a breezy 75-minutes, and, with two performances every night (at 6pm and 8pm), this musical Tudor escapade is the perfect way to get a theatre fix without having to get home stupendously late! Arts Theatre, booking until January 2020


Mouthpiece

Lorn Macdonald
© Roberto Ricciuiti

Kieran Hurley's meta-theatrical and charged drama Mouthpiece was a huge smash in Edinburgh last year and had a similar effect when it landed in London – WhatsOnStage describing it as "a magic trick – spellbinding, full of misdirection, and blindsiding audiences". What more could you want for 90 minutes! Soho Theatre, until 4 May


Education, Education, Education

Education, Education, Education
© Graeme Braidwood

The Wardrobe Ensemble has bagged a number of awards for their hit show Education, Education, Education, which sheds a spotlight on education in the '90s and what it means for the present day. At a speedy 90-minutes and a roster of hit '90s tunes from the likes of Blur and Oasis, this is really going to whirl by. Trafalgar Studios, 31 May until 29 June


Afterglow


© Darren Bell

The passion-fuelled and intimate Afterglow was a big smash success in New York, running and running for 14 months and taking over $1 million in a 69-seater theatre. The raunchy three-hander (and who knows WHERE those hands have been) clocks in at a breezy 90-minutes. Southwark Playhouse, from 5 June


Betrayal

Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal
© Marc Brenner

Jamie Lloyd has revived some incredible Pinter pieces over the last year, culminating in this 90-minute three-hander exploring the messiness of romantic entanglements. Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox star, and you'll be out in time for a night cap afterwards. There are still tickets left too! Harold Pinter Theatre, until 8 June


Avalanche: A Love Story

Maxine Peake
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Maxine Peake stars in this upcoming show, the cornerstone of the Barbican's 2019 Fertility Festival. Based on writer Julia Leigh's real life experiences, the one-woman show follows a woman in her late-30s who tries to conceive a child. Barbican Theatre, 27 April to 12 May


Admissions

Alex Kingston, Andrew Woodall and Ben Edelman in Admissions
© Johan Persson

This debate-stirring play from Joshua Harmon puts the mindset of the liberal elite under the microscope as it follows the head of admissions of a local school who faces a tricky predicament. It's 90-minutes long, with star Alex Kingston saying that the second act is the conversation had between audience members after the show closes. Trafalgar Studios, until 25 May and then tour


Come From Away

Rachel Tucker in Come From Away
© Matthew Murphy

The Best New Musical Olivier Award-winner is about 100 minutes straight through, but it goes by in a complete flash. With non-stop choreography and some incredible tunes, this is a one-act piece to make your heart soar. Phoenix Theatre, currently booking until 14 September

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