There are few things in London more famous than its West End. Jam-packed with restaurants, bars and, most importantly, theatres, the area enthrals and captivates people from all over the world on a daily basis. Of course, the number one reason that so many people flock to the West End – and Shaftesbury Avenue in particular – is to see one of the numerous shows it has to offer. So without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you the top ten West End shows that you simply must see in 2017.
Relatively new to Theatreland, this modern reworking of the Disney classic is perfect for people from all ages. From the mums that raised their children to the sound of Robin Williams as the unforgettable genie, to the kids who grew up wishing they had their own flying carpet, laughter and entertainment is guaranteed all round. Prepare to enter a whole new world of theatre with this musical gem.
The Book of Mormon
Quite possibly the most offensive thing to hit the West End and without a doubt the funniest, The Book of Mormon is two hours of pure comic genius. Roughly the stage equivalent of Borat, the musical features a range of catchy and hilarious songs as well as deeply provocative themes that will certainly give you something to think about once your face and stomach muscles have stopped aching.
The Lion King
THE musical of the West End, The Lion King is by far and away the homecoming queen of London’s theatre scene and has enraptured audiences for around 17 years now. Expect those unforgettable songs from the Disney movie along with a few new numbers, plenty of colour and dancing that will leave you (and the actors) breathless.
Matilda The Musical
If you thought the film was good, wait until you see the show. Matilda is the adorable tale of a girl who defies her awful parents and terrifying headmistress and becomes a mini genius and schoolyard hero. This musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel includes a soundtrack written by the sublime Tim Minchin as well as fantastic dance numbers and the cutest cast you will ever see.
A West End and Broadway staple, Wicked is a Wizard of Oz inspired musical that has rapidly climbed its way to the top of the theatre ladder. Spectators can enter the magical world of good and bad witches and watch as they belt out classics such as “Defying Gravity”. The entire performance is an emotional rollercoaster guaranteed to make you laugh and cry and wish you could watch it all over again.
The Play That Goes Wrong
This play does exactly what it does on the tin with disastrous yet hilarious consequences. The energy of the cast is positively indomitable as they watch their set fall apart and actors slip in and out of character, inevitably at the wrong time. Relentlessly funny, the show has gone from strength to strength and was awarded “Best New Comedy” at the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2015.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Once a beautiful book about a boy struggling with autism, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has now hit the stage in a thought-provoking adaptation of the novel by Mark Haddon. The story line follows the boy discovering his father’s secret and setting off on a journey to learn the truth about his family. There’s no question, this is a hard-hitting play but the entire experience is thoroughly rewarding.
After arriving in November of 2016, Dream Girls has already made a splash in the West End, drawing positive feedback from a wide spectrum of critics. The musical, which featured Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx in its screen version, follows a young girl group as they tackle stardom and show biz in a time when music was being completely revolutionised. Dream Girls is an absolute must for music lovers.
With music and lyrics by the legendary Cyndi Lauper, it’s little wonder that Kinky Boots won the Best New Musical award in the 2016 Olivier Awards. With the dynamic duo Lola and Charlie, there is never a dull moment to be had as you watch Charlie grapple with his father’s expectations and Lola the drag queen ooze fabulousness with every move (s)he makes.
Motown the Musical
Nothing changed music quite like Motown. Motown the Musical is all about Berry Gordy and how he made history with his creation of the musical empire that we all know of as Motown. The record label signed superstars such as Diana Ross, the Jackson Five and Marvin Gaye despite the obstacles placed in the way by the Vietnam War and institutionalised racism. Heart-warming and perfect for singing along to the old classics, Motown the Musical certainly deserves a place on your musical bucket list.
Which West End shows are you excited to watch in 2017? Would you recommend any of these shows? Please leave a comment below.