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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! Now it's getting colder again, wouldn't you rather spend your evenings in a warm theatre with a great show? And long-haul productions like Harry Potter are all well and good, but sometimes a quick burst of theatre magic is the perfect pick-me-up. Here are our favourite sub-two-hour one-act shows currently or about to appear in London this season, ranked from shortest to longest.


Baby Reindeer

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer
© Andrew Perry

He brought a dark comedy show to the fringe in 2016 and won the Dave Edinburgh Comedy Award. He came back with a dark theatre show this year and won a Fringe First and The Stage Acting Award. Richard Gadd's Baby Reindeer, a show about his six-year long stalker, comes down from Edinburgh for an unmissable, unnerving 65 minutes. Bush Theatre, from 9 October


Until The Flood

Dael Orlandersmith in Until the Flood
© Alex Brenner

This 70-minute, Fringe First award-winning show is guaranteed to have you crying buckets. Pulitzer Prize-finalist Dael Orlandersmith takes us back to the 2014 Missouri shooting of Michael Brown and the lives of those around him that were forever changed. Arcola Theatre, until 28 September


The Greatest Play In The History Of The World

Julie Hesmondhalgh in The Greatest Play In The History Of The World
© Sid Scott

After its award-winning Edinburgh run and a successful transfer to the Royal Exchange Theatre last year, The Greatest Play In The History Of The World comes down to London's West End. Clocking in at 70 minutes, original actor Julie Hesmondhalgh reprises her role in the one-woman drama. Trafalgar Studios, from 26 November


The Fishermen

Valentine Olukoga and David Alade in The Fishermen
© Robert Day

Chigozie Obioma's Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel finally arrives in the West End – a 70-minute look into the lives of four brothers from a small Nigerian town as they go fishing at a forbidden river. Adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan, The Fishermen has been touring since it premiered in Manchester last year. Trafalgar Studios, until 12 October


Six

The cast of Six perform
© 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, currently booking until July 2020


Poet in da Corner

Debris Stevenson and Cassie Clare in Poet in da Corner
© Vicky Grout

After its success last year, Poet in da Corner returns to the Royal Court this autumn. Writer and performer Debris Stevenson takes the audience through her journey of self-discovery, with the help of grime MC Jammz and Dizzee Rascal's ground-breaking album. A 75-minute long show about 57 minutes and 21 seconds of life-changing music. Royal Court, from 30 January


Hansard

Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings
© Catherine Ashmore

An 80-minute play about England's attitude to politics, when a constitutional crisis is breaking just across the river? What's not to love? Alex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan star in Simon Woods' debut play about the spilling of secrets, both personal and parliamentary. National Theatre, until 25 November


Fast

Caroline Lawrie in Fast
© Park Theatre

The 90-minute true story of 'Dr' Linda Hazzard – who advocated a controversial fasting cure – Fast stars Caroline Lawrie (An Ideal Husband and The Master Builder). It comes into London after sell-out shows in Brighton and Edinburgh. Park Theatre, from 15 October


Teenage Dick

Daniel Monks in Teenage Dick
© Donmar Warehouse

Reimagining Richard III into a high school scenario, with Daniel Monks playing a senior plotting to become president of his class? The show clocked in at 100 minutes when it played off-Broadway, so we're guessing Michael Longhurst's production of the comic take on a Shakespearean tragedy will be something similar. Donmar Warehouse, from 6 December


Come From Away

The ensemble from 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 15 February 2020

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