If you follow me on Twitter then you probably know that I go and see quite a few West End Shows. At this point, there aren’t many that I haven’t seen because I go so often. I thought I’d let you know my top ten west end recommendations. I also want to apologise in advance for my excessive use of the word ‘brilliant’.
10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
My Mom read this book and then gave me her copy to see what I thought of it and I found myself really enjoying it. They announced they were turning it into a show and even better, my college was going on a trip to see it! I signed up straightaway but unfortunately, the theatre it was showing in suffered an incident and a few of the upcoming performances were cancelled and I ended up going to see Once while all my friends saw The Woman in Black, something I’m still salty about.
Anyway, during the summer of 2014 I was earning quite a bit of money at my part-time job and I decided to take a daytrip to London (there was supposed to be a thunder storm in Telford but not in London so I decided to go). Now, I don’t go to London to sightsee. I go to London to see shows and because I’d missed out on seeing this one I decided to book it and see it by myself.
For those who didn’t read the book, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is told from the point of view of a young lad called Christopher who is on the autism spectrum. His next door neighbour’s dog Wellington dies and Christopher takes it upon himself to find out who the murderer was. That description doesn’t do it justice because it’s about so much more than that but I’d hate to spoil it for anyone!
This was my first trip to London by myself and it was my first West End show by myself and I loved it. It’s done so cleverly and doesn’t love out anything important from the books. It’s been a while since I saw it but I loved every second of it and thought it was absolutely brilliant. If you prefer plays to musicals then I’d definitely recommend this one, it’s amazing. And the acting was brilliant, especially from the guy who played Christopher.
Wicked is probably one of the most popular west end shows and I doubt many people haven’t heard of it. I nagged my Mom to take me to the West End to see it for absolutely ages until finally she surprised me with tickets for my sixteenth birthday. It was the first show I ever saw on the West End and I loved every second of it.
Wicked is kind of like a prequel to the Wizard of Oz but it shows the story from Elphaba and Glinda’s point of view and is about their unlikely but close friendship and how things aren’t always as they seem.
Like I said, my Mom took me when I was sixteen four years ago and since then I’ve been every year to see it again, except last year when I broke the streak. I love everything about it. The storyline, the songs, the characters, the set, the costumes, absolutely everything! My favourite, as is probably most people’s favourite, is Defying Gravity but I also love Thank Goodness, The Wizard and I, and What Is This Feeling. I imagine most musical fans have seen this show but if you haven’t then you’re really missing out. It’s on my bucket list to see it on Broadway one day so if I ever go to New York, it’s the first thing I’ll book.
If I’d written this review a couple of years ago I’d have probably put Wicked after Aladdin but I’ve seen Wicked tons of times and Aladdin only once so it’s more new to me. I saw this show last November because I was in London for a Melanie Martinez concert and I decided to stay an extra night to watch it.
I’d describe what it’s about but I’m sure the majority of you know what Aladdin’s about. If not then wow.
It’s definitely not one of the best shows I’ve ever seen but it was good. It includes the traditional Disney songs but also a few original songs which are just as brilliant. It’s funny, it’s entertaining and I would probably recommend it to any Disney fans. The guy who played the Genie absolutely stole the show but everyone else was brilliant too. I was on the very back row of the balcony but still had a good view. I think it’s a good show for both adults and children. But don’t bring young children. I mean it. There is nothing more annoying than sitting by a child who keeps asking “Is it over yet?” after every song.
7. The Woman in Black
Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of horror. One girl I follow on Tumblr went to see the show and said it was one of the best shows she’d ever seen so I was intrigued. And then, like I mentioned earlier, all my friends in my English Language class got to see it except for me and they all said it was brilliant. So I decided to take another daytrip to London to see for myself.
The stage show is similar to the film but is cleverly done. It only features three actors. It’s about Arthur Kipps who wishes to tell the story of what happened at Eel Marsh House so that hopefully it can be put to rest. He is helped by a young director who is trying to get him to ‘perform’ the piece, rather than mumble his way through a monologue. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
When I first went I was sat on the very top balcony and at the end of the first half I was convinced that it wasn’t actually that scary. I’d jumped a few times but I figured if that was as scary as it got then it wasn’t too bad. Then the second half happened and I was wrong, it got a lot scarier a lot quicker. I love this show because it’s just so clever how they’ve done it. I took my friend to see it for her birthday and she didn’t get that scared because she never does, but the woman next to her jumped very often and kept accidentally whacking her because she was so scared.
I really recommend this play so much because it’s just so clever and really builds a scary atmosphere. I’ve seen it three times now and it’s still scary. It doesn’t just rely on jump scares either. Please trust me and go see this play if you get the chance!
6. The Play That Goes Wrong
I’ve seen this play advertised a lot but I never really thought much about it. Then last year I worked seven days a week for all of August so my Mom suggested I go away for a couple of nights so I did. I went to London and saw three shows. I was seeing two I’d already seen so I decided to book ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ so I could see one I hadn’t seen yet. I’m so glad I did.
The Play That Goes Wrong is quite self-explanatory – it’s a murder-mystery play that goes wrong. Basically.
As I said, I first went to see this play last September so that was only four months ago… I saw it two more times since then. I dragged my friend to see it with me her birthday and then I booked to see it again last Saturday. I’m not a big fan of comedy films, they don’t really tend to make me laugh and the jokes are normally tacky and overdone. I laughed so hard at this play. If you think of something that could go wrong during a performance it probably happens in this show and so much more. It’s brilliantly done, so clever and one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. I recommend this to everyone ‘cos who doesn’t like a good laugh?
5. School of Rock
I had wanted to see this for quite a while and planned on booking for a couple of my trips last year – but the ticket prices were absolutely through the roof and I simply couldn’t afford it. Until I went to London last weekend and I managed to get a Sunday matinee restricted view ticket for about £30. I’ve just had a look at their current ticket prices and I’m not actually sure how I managed it!
The show has the same storyline as the film. Struggling musician Dewey Finn ends up impersonating his friend Ned Schneebly as a substitute teacher to earn enough money to pay his rent. When he finds out how talented the children are he trains them and enters them into Battle of the Bands. Can he get them there without their parents or the headmistress finding out?
To be honest, I think it was completely worth the money. I loved the film and the stage show was even better. We’re told at the beginning that the children do play their instruments live and every last one of them was amazingly talented. If you can get tickets for it I really recommend it, it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s so funny and the songs are brilliant. There’s the original two songs from the film but then they’ve also included more to make it a musical and they’re all great. Also there’s more emphasis on the kids feeling they’re not being listened to and their problems and emotions and it’s just honestly amazing.
4. Peter Pan Goes Wrong
At the end of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ one of the actors tells us the same company, Mischief Theatre, have two more plays on in London one of them being ‘The Comedy About a Bank Robbery’ and this one, ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’. Just like The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is pretty self-explanatory; it’s Peter Pan, but it goes wrong.
After finding out that there more plays I dragged my friend to London in December to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong (we even vlogged the trip [x]) and although our view wasn’t brilliant I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I thought they’d use a lot of the jokes from ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ but they didn’t and I think it was even funnier. There’s an hour long version of it on BBC iPlayer at the moment which I’d recommend if you can’t get down to the West End to see it in person.
It’s definitely a show I want to see again but as far as I can tell it’s a seasonal show. If it’s on again this December I’ll definitely be going back to see it but hopefully in a better seat this time! I’d spend more money to get a better seat; this isn’t a show where you want to miss anything.
3. The Lion King
This is another popular show in the West End and rightfully so. It is truly amazing. This is another show I took my friend to see for her birthday, it was the last one we saw before we went home. At the end of the opening song she turned to me and said “I know we’re only two minutes in but this is already the best show I’ve ever seen.”
If you are in the West End this is definitely one of those shows you just have to see. The way it’s done is absolutely amazing and looks so stunning. I know the show did a tour a while ago so if it does again make sure you get a ticket for it, words cannot describe how brilliant this show is. The tickets aren’t too expensive either so definitely go and see it if you have the chance, you won’t regret it. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw the show thought it was just as brilliant as I do.
2. The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
This was the other show I heard about at the end of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and I didn’t really consider going to see it. Not sure why, I just didn’t think about it. Until I went to London last weekend and decided to book it simply because not many shows run on Sunday and this one did. I’m so glad it did otherwise I might’ve missed out on it.
It’s not a ‘gone wrong’ play like the other two currently running are, it’s (believe it or not) a comedy about a bank robbery so although it’s different to the gone wrong plays it’s just as funny. In fact, this is probably my favourite one; I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I didn’t really know what to expect and I wasn’t sure I liked it during the first scene but as it went on I really got into it.
Definitely a play I want to go and see again. I’d like to go and see it again before the cast changeover but due to lack of money I doubt that’ll happen. If you’re in London and looking for a decent play I’d recommend this one, the tickets aren’t too expensive either, this was the cheapest play I saw while I was there.
I wanted to see Matilda when it first came to the West End but when me and my Mum went to the theatre to inquire about tickets we were told it was sold out for the next few months (we ended up going to see Wicked for a second time). A couple of years went by and I still really wanted to see it so my Mom booked the tickets for my nineteenth birthday and I finally got to see it. It was well worth the wait.
It’s a lot like the film but there’s more emphasis on how smart Matilda is as opposed to her mind powers. The show is more about family, both Matilda’s and Miss Honey’s and I think it’s brilliantly done. It’s also a musical and I think all the songs are amazing; my favourites are ‘Naughty’, ‘My House’ and ‘The Smell of Rebellion’.
I’ve seen this show three times and I’ll probably see it plenty more times because I think it’s amazing. I did love the film Matilda when I was younger but the show is so different it’s like they’re two completely different stories and I love it. This shows on Broadway as well so if I ever get the opportunity to go I’d really like to see this too.
This list was only supposed to be five shows long but I love so many that I had to make it ten! Let me know what your favourite shows are and if there’s any you think I’d like then give me some recommendations. My friends at work say London is like my second home, I’m nearly always there watching shows so recommendations are highly welcomed.