Seeing a West End show is one of the most popular things to do in London; the city’s collection of musicals and theatre productions are among the best in the world. Whether you live in London or are just visiting, it’s a must for your to-do list.
Here are four of the best.
Wicked – Apollo Victoria, Wilton Road
Six years ago, Wicked burst onto the West End scene with Idina Menzel wowing audiences as the inexplicably green and widely misunderstood Elphaba. Today, Rachel Tucker plays the lead and her vocal abilities certainly do not disappoint. Adapted from Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name, Wicked serves as a prequel to the famous classic, The Wizard of Oz, giving the Witches of Oz a chance to tell their own version of events. Preconceptions of the great Wizard are challenged and our childhood fears of the Wicked Witch of the West allayed as we are transported through a peculiar world where politics and fairy tales meet.
Stomp – Ambassadors Theatre, West Street
From humble beginnings on the streets of Brighton, Stomp is now celebrated worldwide and even appeared in the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony. Forget conventional guitars and drums because you won’t find them here! Instead, dustbins and brooms are the instruments of choice as the twelve-strong cast creates scene after scene of complex rhythms to tell their ‘street’ story. Enthusiasm comes in buckets and the stamina of these performers is truly impressive – it’s guaranteed to get your feet tapping!
War Horse – New London Theatre, Drury Lane
Based on the children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo, this dramatic adaptation has become a favourite in the hearts of critics and the public, alike. War Horse tells the moving tale of young man’s search for his beloved horse through the turbulence and horror of World War I. Although the actors’ performances are commendable, it is the horse’s puppeteers, perhaps, that deserve the most praise. Through their skilful work, the mighty animal is brought to life in a beautiful and very real way. If you’re still unsure, film director Steven Speilberg decided to make War Horse a blockbuster film after seeing this West End production.
The Lion King – Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington Street
The Lion King musical has held the attention of West End theatre-goers for more than ten years – and it’s no surprise; adapted from the classic animated Disney film, the impressive blend of world cultures in this show gives new depth to the family favourite. Tens of graceful performers bring the animal kingdom to life, and the iconic scene in which cub Simba is raised above the Pride Lands is perhaps only strengthened in translation. With its famous musical score you can’t help but sing along to, and a few theatrical surprises thrown in for good measure, the Lion King is sure to bring sunshine to any cloudy London day.
If you’re planning a trip to London, there are plenty of hotels and serviced apartments close to the West End theatre district. And, with so many other performances on offer, you could be sat in front of a different stage every night!