When planning and booking a theatre break sometimes the hardest bit is choosing what show you want to see. From dramas to musicals, acclaimed plays to award-winning comedies, there are hundreds of shows to choose from. Luckily, there’s a whole host of great theatre blogs on the web providing useful insights, reviews and industry information and much more to help you pick the right show for you. From big-name critics to passionate amateurs, here’s our guide to the best theatre bloggers out there…
Quite simply the mother and father of all Theatre Blogs, The Guardian offer a formidable output on all things theatre. With a broad focus encompassing both London and regional theatre shows, the paper’s online contingent benefits from the input of reviews from Michael Billington – probably the country’s most respected theatre critic – and the prolific Lyn Gardner. The definitive one-stop blog for understanding the state of the nation’s theatre, The Guardian is the first port of call for theatre-lovers.
The first port of call for theatre buffs and industry experts alike, The Stage has a great array of contributors. With their intelligent mixture of reviews and features, the site offer some of the best insight around into the business behind the stage. Their focus on creative talent means that there’s always fascinating interviews with both established and up-and-coming actors, directors and producers to read. Mark Shenton, the website’s resident star critic, is one of theatre’s most outspoken commentators.
Carousel of Fantasies is an onsite portal for Matt Trueman’s thoughts and reviews of this and that. A freelance theatre critic, Matt is a frequent contributor to Variety and WhatsOnStage. His unique reviews cover numerous plays and theatrical productions across London and his acclaimed articles offer balanced, if at times painfully honest, insight into the West End’s hottest dramas.
Critic Andrew Haydon’s blog is incredibly articulate, and whilst you’re unlikely to find much on the West End’s big musicals, the passion that he exudes for theatre right around the country (and across Europe) will likely get you excited to see just a little bit different. Postcards From The Gods champions artsy theatre, and if you live and breath culture – wherever you live – you may just find your intellectual soulmate in Andrew.
Undoubtedly a major player in the theatrical sphere, this site is probably as famous for sponsoring the WhatsOnStage Theatre-goers Choice Awards as they are for their blogs and features. That being said, their bank of reviews are constantly up to date and their handy tool for seeing what shows are opening soon and which shows are soon to close can make picking what to see incredibly easy indeed!
Reviews of plays within London and beyond. From large scale productions to smaller, more intimate productions, Ian has seen them all. Although by his own admission his love of theatre is bordering on obsession, if you are looking for an honest review you’ll find it here. His comical, withering outlook is addictive to read, and his blog is home to musings on a wide range of entertainment and media.
The blog of the former chief critic at The Times, Libby Purves, Theatre Cat is an important and popular personal project. From big shows to little ones, West End to the most remote of regional theatre, Purves clearly feels duty-bound to bring the best theatre to the fore, and write keenly to engage her devoted readership with balanced and always-fair criticism. Her very sweet rating system is also worth a look, where she’s done away with stars in favour of mice – and where a five-‘star’ performance is represented by a mouse that got the cheese!
The sparse blog is perhaps the best indication that this is a critic who is serious about his theatre, and clearly his love of serious and cerebral drama means he is well-placed for dissecting the triumphs and tragedies of the West End’s top plays. Morrison’s no-nonsense, London-centric blog is great for when you just want to know what’s good and what isn’t in the capital.
The charming and attractive personal blog of actor, magician and Theatre Studies Graduate Dominic, Theatre Thoughts features regular reviews and interesting titbits from the front line of the world of theatre. A passionate amateur critic, Dominic has brought his own views to the fore on top London shows – particularly the most interesting new plays – for over five years.
Established in 2007, The Public Reviews was set up to allow volunteer reviewers a chance to voice their opinion and allow others to read reviews from the people that count – the public! The site has since expanded to include reviews of gigs, stand-up comedy and lots of other live events, as well as lots of regional theatre too. Their international and dedicated editorial team ensure the blog’s content remains of the highest quality.
Do you read any of these blogs or do you have any good theatre blog suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!