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Top shows to see over Valentine's Day

Wondering what to take your loved one to? We have all the loved-up answers

Katherine Parkinson (Judy) and Richard Harrington (Johnny) in Home, I'm Darling
© Manuel Harlan

We know. The lead up to Valentine's day is always a time of immensely high stress. Thankfully the theatre world has a lot on offer that should go some way to satisfying your loved one. Here's our round up of a few of the more tantalising shows on offer, which will guarantee a very happy special someone.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Originally a hit novel, Louis de Bernières' narrative is set on the warm shores of an occupied Cephalonia during the World War Two. It was made into a swooning film starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz and tells of a burgeoning love story between a local and a soldier. It's a tale full of love and loss and this new stage version is on a tour throughout the UK. Curve, Leicester 13 to 20 April and then touring until June

Come From Away

The British cast of Come From Away
© Matthew Murphy

Arriving from the US, this musical is based on the remarkable true story about what happened to people on planes that were diverted from airports in America following the attacks on the World Trade Centre. As 38 planes land at Gander, Newfoundland, the population of the little town almost doubles. It's about heart-warming humanity at its very best, as the townsfolk rally round the visitors to help them during their visit. Phoenix theatre, until 14 September

Leave to Remain

Here's love in the time of Brexit. Tyrone Huntley and Billy Cullum play a couple forced to consider marriage as an option when one of their visas is called into question. It has music by Bloc Party's Kele Okereke and focuses on the complications of modern relationships. Lyric Hammersmith, until 16 February

Cost of Living

Adrian Lester (Eddie) and Katy Sullivan (Ani) in Cost of Living
© Manuel Harlan

There are a couple of love stories weaving in and out of Martyna Majok's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which saw its UK premiere at Hampstead Theatre last month. Adrian Lester plays a man looking to rekindle his relationship with his wife (played by Paralympian Katy Sullivan) following an accident, while Jack Hunter plays a man with cerebal palsy who has a Polish carer, played by Emily Barber. According to our reviewer, the show has four astounding performances at its heart. Hampstead Theatre, until 9 March


Alix Dunmore
© Phil Gammon 2018

If you like your relationships complicated, then this may be the show for you. Two's Company is reviving James Saunders' comedy which is a portrait of sexual and marital relations in the 1960s and 70s and explores why we get married, fall in love and why things tend to fall apart. It may not be one for a first date, but it's always good to reflect on what you got, right? Southwark Playhouse, 13 February to 9 March

The Play That Goes Wrong and Groan Ups

The cast of The Play That Goes Wrong
© Helen Murray

Mischief Theatre are dominating the West End and beyond in the world of having a right laugh. So if you're not looking for something too cootchie-coo and prefer your dates with a sense of humour, then this entry is probably for you. The troup's farcicle hijinx are ridiculous and if you have already seen it, why not consider booking for their newly announced piece, Groan Ups. Duchess Theatre, currently booking until October. Grown Ups, Vaudeville Theatre from 20 September to 1 December

West Side Story

Andy Coxon and Gabriela Garcia in the Royal Exchange's West Side Story

Yes, OK, so it may end in (spoilers!) tragic circumstances, but Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents' masterpiece is nevertheless a demonstration of the rich heights of love. And obviously it's also got some cracking songs thrown in too. The Royal Exchange's production is one of the first not to use Robbins' choreography, while a little later in the year Leicester Curve will also stage it over Christmas. So you have two top-notch options to choose from (or why not book for both?). Royal Exchange, 6 April to 25 May. Curve, 23 November 2019 to 11 January 2020.


Katharine McPhee as Jenna
© Waitress the Musical

This sweet-hearted, small-town American musical about waitress Jenna who dreams of being a baker and is very unlucky in love arrives in London this month. It's packed full of heart-swelling songs by Sara Bareilles and is guaranteed to make you weep. In a good way. Adelphi Theatre 8 February currently booking to 25 May

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Layton Williams is starring in the West End production of Everybody's Talking About Jamie
© Everybody's Talking About Jamie

It's still an absolute firm favourite and although it's not directly about falling in love, this show has a big, big heart. It's based on the true story of the boy who wanted to be a drag queen at 16 and the love and support his mother gave to him to help him achieve his dreams. There's teenage sass and a brand new cast to watch, not to mention Dan Gillespie Sells' excellent songs. Apollo Theatre, booking until 28 September

Home, I'm Darling

Katherine Parkinson (Judy) and Richard Harrington (Johnny) in Home, I'm Darling
© Manuel Harlan

Laura Wade's play has just opened in the West End following a run at Clwyd and at the National Theatre too. It stars Katherine Parkinson, who plays a woman trying to be the ideal '50s housewife, and is about things not always being perfect. It has a crack cast and a set that will transport you right back to a time of poodle skirts and rock and roll. Duke of York's, until 13 April