If you know what the word ‘thespian’ means, then we’re gonna be instant friends. As a bit of a self-confessed theatre lover, I have long been attending shows on both Broadway and West End, as well as travelling shows back at home in Australia or Circus shows in Las Vegas. I just love live shows, particularly musicals.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see a few on West End: most recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as The Lion King, Matilda, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, the Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. I’ve also seen more shows than I can remember on Broadway, including hugely successful shows like Book of Mormon and Chicago, as well as shorter running shows like Aladdin, Newsies, Cinderella, and Something Rotten!
So, who better to ask when considering what show to see on London’s West End!? I volunteer as tribute, with absolute delight.
Picking A London West End Show
The easiest way to choose the right show for you is to decide whether you want to see an upbeat musical, a slow and sombre classic, or see a play.
Musicals on West End
Right now in 2015, there are some great musicals on West End. The longer running the show, the more successfully it has been received by crowds, however this usually means you will pay a higher ticket price to see those shows. Don’t forget there is a discount TKTS stand in Leicester Square. Arrive early (opens 10am) to land great tickets to great shows, for a lower discounted cost.
The Lion King
The Lion King has quickly become one of the world’s most popular and successful musicals that has travelled the entire world. Telling the classical Disney film, it is the costumes and set design that truly makes the show as special as it is. This is a great all-rounder show that will suit everyone and a great choice for first time theatre goers.
Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends – the Wicked Witch of the west and Glinda the Good Witch. This is a great option for a girls night out or for something light hearted, fun, and with incredibly talented performers. Easily one of my favourite musicals!
Another high energy, fast paced Disney production that is a great option for the kids. In typical Disney style, it is a lot of fun and best suited to a young or young at heart audience.
This is a great choice for those who don’t typically enjoy “the theatre”, as it is something completely different and in a class of its’ own. If you’re dragging along a non-theatre goer but love the theatre yourself, this is a safe bet.
This is a great choice for a girls night out and perhaps more suited to an older crowd. While it is a great show, it is a little more geared toward adults.
An incredible show vocally, and very entertaining from start to finish. This would be a great choice for couples as your boyfriend might not kill you for dragging him along to this one!
A fun, light-hearted musical and great for a girls night out.
Despite having a child as the lead, Billy Elliot is more geared to a mature audience. It is also a great British classic, so where better to see it than on West End!?
Another great addition to the London theatre seen came a few years ago in the form of Matilda. Although this is a kids show, it is a littler darker than the likes of The Lion King or Aladdin, so it is also a great choice for the adults.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Based on Roald Dahl’s classic story – this is a newer addition to the London musical scene, and a welcomed one! The child performers are particularly talented and really drive the story home.
Old Musical Classics
And now for the classics!
Cats is a great all-rounder show that has had one of the most successful runs on West End. Right now it is back for a limited season (until January 2nd, 2016), so be sure to lock this one in sooner rather than later!
The Phantom of the Opera
Now in its 29th year, the Phantom of the Opera remains to be one of the most successful running shows. It is a much slower, darker show, so certainly not the right choice if you’re looking for something fun and upbeat. But if you admire the opera and classical music, this one is for you!
The Mouse Trap
A very popular classic is The Mouse Trap, a crime/mystery show that has had an incredible run over the years.
Plays on West End
As you like it
If you’re in need of a little Shakespeare to wiz you back in time to London’s glory days, then consider heading over to the National Theatre (taking bookings until March 2016).
A great British play to attend if in London during its’ run (27 Nov – 19 Dec) in 2015.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Lets end on a high note shall we! Next year (2016) the Harry Potter franchise expands into live theatre! The play is set to hit West End in summer of 2016 – exciting times!