Halloween theatre 2019: 20 top spooky stage shows to see

We pick some spine-tingling shows worth catching

The Exorcist
The Exorcist
Halloween is BACK. And how better to spend it than by heading into a dark room and having some hairs stand up on your neck… here are 20 spooky, thrilling and exciting shows you should really watch for the scary season.

1) The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black has become a firm fixture in the West End, delighting and terrifying audiences since 1989 at the Fortune Theatre. For the uninitiated, the show sees a raft of characters haunted by a malevolent presence, in what is a bit of a brilliant experience. Continues at the Fortune Theatre, West End

2) The Spooky Ship

Now this looks like a blast – over in Bristol, the Old Vic company has taken over Brunel's SS Great Britain to create a (quite literally) immersive experience as audiences are guided around an ancient ship full of hidden terrors. 31 October to 2 November

3) The Exorcist

The reigning monarch of horror movies comes back for a new tour, visiting venues up and down the country and ready to send many a chill down spines. What is more, Ian McKellen appears as the voice of the demon in the production, infecting the body of a young girl. UK tour ongoing


4) Frankenstein / Frankenstein

We've got not one but two very cool updated productions of Frankenstein for you – the first is a touring version adapted by Rona Munro that places Mary Shelley at the heart of her own work, and the second is created by Carl Miller for the National Youth Theatre, which features AI, robots and more in an edgy modern twist. UK tour ongoing, with NYT's production at Southwark Playhouse 25 October to 30 November

5) Fast

If psychological thrillers are your bag, then look no further than the intense and intimate Fast, which opens at the north London Park Theatre and sees a doctor propose a dangerous and intense diet plan with some life-threatening consequences. Park Theatre, until 9 November

6) Deep Night, Dark Night

Few venues are as eery or as spooky as the pitch-black Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe, where there will be a raft of chilling tales (from both the past and the present, as well as true stories from London) being told over the course of the winter. Shakespeare's Globe, from 30 October to 5 December

Hugo Weaving and Polly Frame in Solaris
Hugo Weaving and Polly Frame in Solaris
© Mihaela Bodlovic

7) Solaris

For those after a spooky sci-fi theatre fix, Solaris, based on the iconic film of the same name, has ghosts in space! A little acting stardust is scattered in the form of Hugo Weaving as a video space doctor. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, until 2 November

8) The Phantom of the Opera

The oldest phantom in musical theatre history is still haunting the residents at Her Majesty's Theatre on Haymarket, and Halloween may be the perfect time to revisit the show – especially now new Phantom Josh Piterman has settled into the role. Continues running at Her Majesty's Theatre

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
© Johan Persson

9) The Antipodes

Playwright Annie Baker has always had an intense, ethereal vibe in her work and her newest, The Antipodes, doesn't seem as though it'll be any different. Set around a board room table as a group of writers try and write a story about …something, it's an oddball, intriguing and supernatural script that we can't wait to see on stage at the National. 21 October to 23 November

10) Variant 31

Want to run around shooting some deadly walkers? Then Variant 31 might be the show for you – set in a massive immersive complex in the heart of London, this is a gore-fest for theatre fans that like to stay on their feet. Until 31 December 2019

Annie Baker, Conleth Hill  and Hadley Fraser in rehearsals
Annie Baker, Conleth Hill and Hadley Fraser in rehearsals
© Manuel Harlan

11) Gaslight

The psychological thriller was actually responsible for creating the term of the same name, and over Halloween Martin Shaw will be starring in a new revival directed by Olivier Award-nominee Lucy Bailey and designed by Olivier Award-winner William Dudley. Currently on tour

12) Thriller Live

It was recently announced that the long-running musical was going to end its run at the Lyric Theatre in the West End as the venue gets a refurb, so who knows where it'll be next Halloween! Lyric Theatre, until 26 April 2020

13) The Mousetrap

The oldest running show in theatre history is still causing shocks and stirs in the West End and features a plot concocted by the master of suspense thriller Agatha Christie. This Halloween may be the perfect reason to give it a punt. Continues at St Martin's Theatre and tour

14) Macbeth

Proteus' adaptation of the sinister Scottish play reimagines the show for the trading room floor, using physical theatre to explore what went wrong in the 1987 financial crash. With Shakespeare. Touring until 9 November

15) Red Palace

Shotgun Carousel are the masters of immersive theatre, and this year returns to the Vaults with a visually dazzling spectacle of intriguing wonders that also features a menu from Masterchef semi-finalist Annie McKenzie. Top food and terrifying scares all in one evening of mayhem. The Vaults, until 12 January

16) Ghost Stories

If spooky stories are what you're after – look no further than the West End transfer of Ghost Stories, which is an absolute screamfest and will be terrifying crowds at the Ambassadors Theatre before heading out on the open road in 2020. Until 3 January at the Ambassadors and then tour

17) Wicked

There's only one Wicked witch ruling the roost in the West End, and she's down in the magical land of Oz. With a stellar cast and one of the most iconic soundtracks in recent memory, Wicked would certainly make for a fun Halloween treat. Continues at Apollo Victoria Theatre

Nikki Bentley (Elphaba) and Helen Woolf (Glinda)
Nikki Bentley (Elphaba) and Helen Woolf (Glinda)
© Wicked, photo by Matt Crockett

18) Ghost Quartet

Ghostly goings-on are the subject of Dave Malloy's hit musical, which has its London premiere at the brand new swanky Boulevard Theatre in Soho at the end of the month. With a cast of stars sat around a campfire reciting stories and a full blackout in an intimate space, expect something deeply unexpected and original. Boulevard Theatre, 24 October to 4 January

19) Witness for the Prosecution

There's been a murder, and now it's up to the audience to work out who the culprit is…Agatha Christie's classic novella-turned-play is a tense thriller based on a grisly death, here set inside the grand site-specific venue of London's County Hall. Audiences sit inside a genuine courtroom, hearing accounts of the death and pleas for the defence, with a small few then deciding whether or not the accused is sentenced to hang. Continues at London County Hall

20) London Horror Festival

Why have one horror show when you can have a whole festival of them? That's what the Pleasance Theatre and Old Red Lion in Islington has been doing yet again this month with their horror festival. This year the festival gets even bigger and is shared across two north London venues. Until 2 November

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