I have an obsession with the theatre, ever since I was a small child when my Grandma would take me to the local pantomime. I have never grown out of the excitement of not knowing what to expect, falling in love with the songs and the taste of Cadbury’s chocolate eclairs (an absolute must). I have attended my fair share of theatre productions. Choosing the perfect musical to go to can be difficult, they are quite pricey and involve giving up a good chunk of your time two things I don’t like to waste.
With the holidays upon us, there is no better present than a trip to the theatre, so these are the musicals I think you must see whilst in London.
Wicked is the West End classic, one word is all it takes for everyone to know what you are talking about and everyone can name at least one song even if they have never seen it unless they have been living under a rock. It has been selling out in both London and New York for years. Packed full of hair-raising songs, great costumes and meaningful messages for anyone that feels life isn’t on their side. Wicked will not disappoint! Defying gravity never fails to give me goosebumps.
4 Lion King
The Lion King was the first West End musical I went to, it literally blew my mind and I fell in love with all musicals then and there. As the years have gone by and new musicals have emerged this has fallen down in my ranking. The costumes are undeniably impressive, the performers are out of this world and the set and the props are magnificent. I don’t know if it’s the fact I know the story and the songs so well but there is something about the show for me which loses its’ charm as soon as you leave the theatre, perhaps it is the lack of surprise or the lack of wit and comedy. This is however my personal opinion and that said I would still recommend it if you want to see something that you are guaranteed to enjoy.
3 Legally Blonde
My Dad took me and my sister to see Legally Blonde many years ago, I didn’t know the film that well, it was something I had caught when it was on the TV on a Saturday night but that was about it. When the opening number started ‘omg’ I sunk in my chair and thought my poor Dad he has to endure two hours of this but things quickly changed and it soon became apparent this was going to be one of our best-loved musicals for a long time. The production is pure pop-kitsch, its feel-good fun, the production heightens the stories comedy, let’s face it the film is classed as a comedy but it doesn’t have you laughing out loud like the show does, the songs are catchy, I will never tire of them, they are guaranteed to put you in a good mood. I also managed to catch Legally Blonde at Kilworth House Theatre in 2015 and it was just as good. I highly recommend seeing it; my Dad even loved it so it’s not just something for the girls.
Matilda was the last West End production I went to see, I was expecting incredible things from this show since everyone I had spoken to about it had given it so much hype. I do have to admit I don’t think it was as good as I was expecting it to be, I grew up a huge fan of all Roald Dahl’s work so when I got my hands on some tickets I couldn’t wait. I really can’t say anything bad about this show and I am so grateful I got the chance to see it, they didn’t lose any of the magic from the original story. The children were remarkable. Evie Hone who played Matilda was inspiring, she was so small but was the biggest presence on the stage, and her voice filled the whole room. Tim Minchin has packed this production with songs that you are left singing all the way home but also that carry you through the story. At first, I didn’t feel the songs were as memorable as I expected them to be, but the fact I have not stopped listening to the soundtrack on Spotify obviously clears that up. They are so catchy, and there is definitely a lesson to be learnt for all ages from ‘naughty’.
The highlight for me was Miss Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull was a comical interpretation of Dahl’s famous character. It was a laugh out loud moment when you meet her. She came with all the beastliness that you expected but the humour was a marvellous surprise, it did change my feelings towards her because I was laughing so much, however, the narrative Matilda tells reminds you what the Trunchball is capable of.
Really looking back at this the show is amazing, it is worth the hype, I just needed to go to it with a more open mind and remember it is a family show so it has to be a bit over the top. If you haven’t seen it yet make sure you do in 2016.
1 Book of Mormon
Arguably the best musical ever made, if you want a from the pit of your stomach, uncontrollable laugh and you are not easily offended then you have to see this show. The book of Mormon is hugely popular and is based at the Prince of Wales theatre, for anyone who knows this theatre it is rather small so as expected the tickets are anything but cheap. I was desperate to see this musical so after a good few hours of searching, we did manage to get some tickets at very reasonable prices which are achievable if you are flexible with days and times. I really didn’t know much about this musical before I went to see it other than reading a few glowing reviews and I am honestly so glad I didn’t, nothing really could have prepared me for this production but I am so glad I didn’t spoil it beforehand. Some of the songs will have your jaw on the floor, but it’s created by the makers of Southpark, did I expect anything less? The soundtrack is incredible and if you are anything like me you will be listening to it for weeks on end after! I don’t think I have stopped talking about this show since the minute I walked out of the theatre. Just a note, this is not something I would go to see with parents or grandparents if you ever want to look them in the eye again.
I have also seen Charlie and the Chocolate factory and We Will Rock You. We will rock you I have seen four times so I think it might have overdone it but I loved the way they managed to entwine their songs into a story with them all fitting like they had been written for the West End and Charlie and the Chocolate the factory was done so well, I just don’t think it was as strong as the five mentioned above.
I know not everyone has access to the West End on their doorstep but keep an eye on your local theatre, or touring productions, both Wicked and Matilda will be touring and in Birmingham in 2018, it doesn’t always need to be a trip to London.