Culture

Five plays you need to catch this January

Count: 1

Don't hang around – these are all ending soon

These London plays have made waves with critics and audiences alike, but all good things must (sadly) come to an end. The following five productions are all set to close in either January or February – so if you want to catch them, you need to book a ticket before it’s too late.

The Convert

The Convert’s only just opened, but it’s already winning plaudits from critics and audiences. A sharp critique of colonialism, the play’s written by Black Panther’s writer Danai Gurira. Set in 1896, in what becomes modern Zimbabwe, a young woman fleeing a forced marriage takes refuge with a strict Catholic priest. He brings her safety and security, but salvation has a price. With a stellar cast and the Old Vic’s creative team behind it, this piece packs a punch.

Until 26 January, youngvic.org

Summer & Smoke

A West End transfer is a clear indicator that a show’s worth seeing, and Summer and Smoke, which has just transferred to the Duke of York’s theatre from the Almeida, has made the journey west following a sell-out run and rave reviews from critics. An under-loved piece by Tennessee Williams, the play tells the story of Alma (Patsy Ferran), a love-struck country parson’s daughter, whose desire drives her to a neurosis. Ferran’s performance is superb, and the play powerful and curious in equal measure.

Until 19 January, summerandsmoke.co.uk

A Slight Ache/ The Dumb Waiter

To mark the 10th anniversary of Harold Pinter’s death, Jamie Lloyd is directing a season of no less than 20 one-act Pinter plays back-to-back, all (you guessed it) performed at the Pinter Theatre. Among the season’s highlights is A Slight Ache/The Dumb Waiter, featuring the eyebrow-raising pairing of Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman. Sounds crazy, but it might just work, both are strong character actors and Lloyd’s an old hand at getting the best from Pinter’s scripts. We think it’ll be worth a watch for the novelty value alone.

31 January to 23 February, pinteratthepinter.com

Nine Night

Following a sell-out run at The National Theatre, Nine Night, the debut piece from playwright Natasha Gordon, is moving to Trafalgar Studios until February. When matriarch Gloria passes away, her family initiate the traditional Jamaican wake: nine nights of partying, prayers and pathos. The play draws audiences through each evening, with all the emotional challenges that nine nights of grieving pose for those Gloria leaves behind. It’s a touching, elegantly paced ensemble piece that’ll have you in stitches and in tears.

Until 23 February, trafalgarentertainment.com

True West

An indictment of the American Dream, Sam Shephard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play comes to the West End for the first time, with Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn as its two leads. Austin (Harington) is a writer, working on a movie script that’s been sold to a big-shot Hollywood producer. His brother, Lee (Flynn), stumbles back into his life after years spent apart. Spitefully, he too pitches an idea to the movie producer, setting in motion a tale of competition and conflict designed to keep you right on the edge of your seat.

Until 23 February, truewestlondon.com