What to watch: best shows to see this week

A hot week for openings across the UK

Clockwise from left: A Small Place, Hadestown and Les Misérables
Clockwise from left: A Small Place, Hadestown and Les Misérables
© Clockwise from left: Helen Murray, Helen Maybanks and Johan Persson

Christmas isn't as far away as we think! But there are only faint whisperings of the C-word in this week's top selection of shows, opening across the UK. Featuring new musicals, musical tours and a new revival of the Scottish play, here's what made the cut.

5. Briefs: Close Encounters

Leicester Square Spiegeltent, until 3 January 2019

Christmas is coming and Close Encounters is getting into the festive spirit! Veteran drag, cabaret and circus collective Briefs are returning to London for a lengthy run at the Leicester Square Spiegeltent, with tinsel and mistletoe there in spades. It certainly looks like there'll be a whole lot of heat in central London this winter.

Cherelle Skeete in A Small Place
Cherelle Skeete in A Small Place
© Helen Murray

4. A Small Place

Gate Theatre, until 1 December

Jamaica Kincaid's essay about the dire ramifications of western colonialism and exploitation is brought to the stage for the first time, featuring two top-notch performers: Cherrelle Skeete and Nicola Alexis. Penned by Anna Himali Howard and Season Butler, this looks like it'll continue the fine run of form for the west London venue.

Michelle Terry and Paul Ready
Michelle Terry and Paul Ready
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

3. Macbeth

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, until 2 February 2019

She may have played the Dane earlier in the summer, but Michelle Terry now turns her attention to Lady M in the Globe's newest revival of the Scottish play. Staged in the spooky candle-lit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the piece will be a chance to see the Globe's artistic director up close and at her most charged, starring opposite husband Paul Ready as the doomed thane and future king.

Eva Noblezada in Hadestown
Eva Noblezada in Hadestown
© Helen Maybanks

2. Hadestown

National Theatre, until 26 January

It's finally here and having its UK premiere – the cult classic off-Broadway hit Hadestown (with music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell) will have its official opening this week on the National Theatre's epic Olivier stage. With a cast of mythical standing (Eva Noblezada, André de Shields, Reeve Carney and Amber Gray for starters), the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice is brought to life with some instantly catchy tunes.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables
© Johan Persson

1. Les Misérables

Curve, Leicester until 24 November then tour

But what could beat Hadestown to the top spot? Only the official opening of the brand spanking new tour of Les Miserables, its first outing in over half a decade! So get your best red and black protest garb ready and prepare to hear the people sing – the show opens in Leicester and stars Killian Donnelly as the iconic Jean Valjean.

Last chance to see: Misty (Trafalgar Studios), Forgotten (Arcola Theatre), The Trench (Southwark Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Young Vic)