There’s nothing quite like London’s West End. It’s iconic, it’s exciting and there’s always something happening. It is particularly well-known for its excellent shopping, buzzing night-life and fascinating museums and galleries, but the most famous feature about this part of the city is the theatre scene. In ‘Theatreland’ there are around 40 stages ready to entertain audiences with musicals, comedies, plays and dance performances and this year has to be one of the most dynamic years yet! With the huge range of shows ready to raise the roof every day and night, there’s something for everyone and you are guaranteed a memorable experience. So let’s get to it, what are this year’s hottest tickets you need to get?
“The eighth story. Nineteen years later.” Yes, we’re going to kick this off with simply THE most anticipated theatre performance of the year and a must for all the Hogwarts-heads out there. Your favourite characters from the wizarding world are back for another adventure as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is ready to take you on a magical journey, years on from the last epic story Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Currently at the Palace Theatre, the show is being previewed before it officially opens on the eve of The Boy Who Lived’s birthday and we just can’t wait to hear more about the show, as it’s all being kept very secret until the big day! The new story follows Harry Potter and his son, Albus, as they both struggle to live a normal wizard life with such a significant family history, after Harry battled and defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort when he was just a teenager. The official synopsis of the play leaves us guessing, as we expect Harry’s dark past to return to haunt his family. The performance will be shown in two parts either to be seen one after the other or on two consecutive nights, so prepare yourself for a hefty dose of magic madness that you will never forget! The cast has been announced and news about the previews is starting to emerge, leaving us gasping to know more but if you cannot wait, tickets are available via the official site. If you followed Harry through his exciting and daring adventure right from the beginning, you won’t want to miss this.
Another fabulous new entry everyone’s talking about is a Disney classic that we all remember and love from the 90s for its lovable characters and colourful story. At the Prince Edward Theatre, be transported into ‘A Whole New World’ with the award-nominated production, Aladdin. The popular tale of lovebirds Aladdin and Princess Jasmine takes a form you’ve never seen before and is set to be an absolute delight; with all of your sing-along songs performed with fantastic costume, setting design and special effects. Aladdin lives a difficult life on the streets scavenging around for scraps of food and Princess Jasmine is desperate to break away from the suffocating high walls of the palace. When the two meet and Aladdin saves Jasmine’s life, they instantly fall in love and of course, there are dangerous consequences ahead of the couple. Also featuring the famous shape-shifting Genie, it could be time to ask him for your three wishes… one of course being tickets to arrive at your doorstep on a magic carpet.
Now it’s time to add a bit of ‘sass’ to this blog and give mention to one of the quirkiest, heart-warming and feel-good shows in the West End. Described as dazzling, uplifting and glamorous, Kinky Boots is yet another new production that’s bringing endless glitter to the stage with bright costumes, excellent choreography and a good laugh. Set in Northampton, the story follows Charlie who takes on the family ‘Price & Son’ shoe factory business that’s unfortunately on the verge of bankruptcy and with a dis-heartened workforce. Charlie meets Lola, a drag queen who helps him to convince his employees that there is a strong need for high-heeled boots worn by drag performers. With the ultimate goal of a fashion show in Milan, Kinky Boots goes on to entertain you as the all-new shoe factory faces up to its dreams and is saved from ruin. The musical is not only bursting with energy, comedy and fun, it also demonstrates the importance of acceptance, solidarity and friendship, offering an all-round feel-good experience and leaving you wanting a pair of high-heeled red boots!
Lastly, we cannot forget the long-time-running performances that are still bringing us joy to this day. Across the West End you’ll see Mamma Mia, Wicked, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera plus so many more that are guaranteed not to disappoint you and should certainly not be missed! 2016 really is the year of theatre and we cannot wait to see what else is waiting in the wings.