There’s no denying the West End is one of the most magical and awe-inspiring places to be. Whatever the show you choose to watch, you’re almost guaranteed a fantastic experience. But that is the problem, what musical is worth the watch? Here we look at a few of the top picks for 2018- see what tickles your fancy…
The 14th longest running show in West End London theatre history (with huge potential to reach the top 10) is that for a reason. Entering its 6th year at the Apollo Victoria, this mystical show re-imagines the Land of Oz- creating a parallel universe in which (or should I say witch) two very different young witches form a budding friendship at the magical Shiz University. Elphaba has one notable characteristic in the fact that she’s green- you may recognise her as the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ as this is who her character is based on. Elphaba (portrayed by Alice Fearn) is smart, fiery and of course, misunderstood. Whereas her friend Glinda (aka Glinda the Good Witch of the South and played by Sophie Evans) is beautiful, blonde and extremely popular.
The show follows the lives of these young enchantresses and highlights the love, loss and hatred they experience which sets them both on completely different paths. Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ (an unofficial prequel to the 1939 the Wizard of Oz film), this show will set you on a rollercoaster of emotions and within the first 10 minutes you’re bound to be enticed by the whole West End performance. But don’t just take my word for it, this thought-provoking show has won multiple awards, including; WhatsOnStage’s award for Best West End Show (winning this accolade three times), a Laurence Olivier Award and has even been nominated for 10 Tony awards.
Find out more about the show at: https://www.theapollovictoria.com
The Book of Mormon-
This crude but brilliant musical is definitely not for the easily offended. Written by the South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it’s safe to say they stick to what they know- in writing rude, tongue in cheek and hilarious comedy. The story follows two simple missionaries from Salt Lake City, who are sent to a remote village in Uganda to preach the Lord’s word (not quite the sunny setting of Orlando they were expecting), but all does not go to plan as they are met by a power hungry warlord- immediately being robbed at gunpoint upon their arrival. Their efforts in attempting to convert the village to Mormonism will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping for air in between laughs!
This show is currently being performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre (Piccadilly Circus) but is only running there until September 2nd 2018- so hurry if you decide on venturing to the West End for something a little bit different! Described by critics as a ‘visionary musical masterpiece’ and an ‘unalloyed joy’ this Southpark type comedy has been a huge success in the UK. Although it’s believed to be a more toned down and milder version of the hit US animation, it definitely isn’t a family friendly West End show to take the kids to! Better start looking for a babysitter.
Visit https://www.londontheatredirect.com/musical for more information!
Entering its 10th performance year, the Michael Jackson inspired musical ‘Thriller’ is surely one to get you tapping your feet, clapping your hands and dancing along to the top hits from the King of Pop’s remarkable career. Featuring over 2 hours of tracks from Jackson’s 45 year music history, this showstopper will set pulses alight and make even the most immovable of you get out of your seats to dance.
London’s Lyric Theatre is the venue to be for this one, the family friendly show pays homage to the unique dance routines and non-stop pop/rock hits once performed by the late legend himself, in a way you’ve never experienced before (probably). Classics such as ‘ABC’, ‘Smooth Criminal’ and of course it’s namesake ‘Thriller’ are on the agenda- and be warned, the cast will almost certainly encourage you to get off your seat and dance! The show itself has been performed over 5000 times globally, in front of over 4 million appreciative fans- they can’t be all wrong can they?
Intrigued? Find out more about the show at: http://thrillerlive.com/west-end/lyric-theatre/
School of Rock-
You may know School of Rock from the iconic US comedy film starring Jack Black- well the musical follows the same lines. Showing the story of failed wannabe rock star Dewey Finn (portrayed by Stephen Leask) posing as a supply teacher in an upper middle class prep school, he turns straight-A pupils into a guitar wielding, piano playing, deafening rock band. This show has the perfect balance between rock music and hilarious gags, what more could you want from a musical?
Described by the Guardian as ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most exuberant show in years’ the American originated musical has only recently begun in England, after ALW chose to first produce the show in the US. This sing-along musical features all the original tracks from the movie and even 14 more songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself (not performed by him though, obviously). This light-hearted, West End comedy show is sure to put you in the mood for rock and roll- sounds like the show for you?
Check out this link for more info: https://uk.schoolofrockthemusical.com/
Now this one may be unfamiliar to you, having only opened within London in early December 2017. Much like School of Rock, this hip-hop inspired musical first entered the stage across the pond- due to its popularity in the US, it has been deemed fit for Briton’s viewing (very luckily for us). The show details the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States, using hip-hop/RnB music in a style very unique to previous West End musicals. Highs and lows of the politician’s life are shown, with the fair share of sex scandals, revolutions, political issues and even duels to the death.
The story of Hamilton’s ascent out of poverty is one to be admired and all credit is due to creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for this masterpiece. Gaining inspiration from Ron Chernow’s biography of the founding father himself, Miranda decided on combining this story with hip-hop as to bring Hamilton’s adventure to life and make it enjoyable for all audiences. He firstly wrote songs for his ‘Hamilton Mixtape’ which he later performed at the White House in 2009- not quite what the White House occupants were expecting, but the performance was met with great applause. There is the odd explicit word here and there, so the jury’s out on whether this show can be considered family friendly or not- we’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Visit https://hamiltonmusical.com/london/ to discover more regarding this breath-taking West End show.