As an avid music and theatre lover as well as daughter of a theatre professor, I have always had London theatre on my bucket list. As my trips to London thus far have been for business, I have yet to scratch this item off. Perhaps with the help of a peer and travel writer, Hollie, we can all whet our theatre palates and get tickets to the best new musicals in London. Ok, Hollie, the curtain is opening. Take it away with your recommendations of the best musicals coming to London!
Musical fans have been known to become a bit fixated on their favourite musicals; chances are, if you’ve seen Wicked once you’ve seen it five times, and its songs are a soundtrack to driving anywhere. Whether you’re a fan of Phantom of the Opera, obsessed with Oklahoma or crazy for Cats, make 2013 the year when you step outside your comfort zone.
Grange’s Soho Hotel is within walking distance of West End theatres famous for their varied and glitzy entertainment. Book a night for yourself and your favourite musical-lover and you’ll be perfectly placed to hit up some of the freshest musicals in London this season. Below are three must-sees!
The Book of Mormon (25th Feb – 4th May 2013)
A collaboration between the duo behind South Park and Team America and one of the men behind Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon is hilarious, tuneful and a sometimes surprisingly tender look at the more unusual elements and traditions of the Mormon faith, seen through the eyes of two of its missionaries.
Elder Price and Elder Cunningham couldn’t be more different, but are stuck with each other when they’re sent to Africa to spread the word of the Latter Day Saints. They end up confronting drug lords, the realities of the world outside suburban America and the literalness of their own faith.
It could be heavy material, but it’s never too reverent: a comedy of culture and personality clashes, it manages to be tuneful, satirical and heart-warming all at once. The New York Times called it ‘the musical of the century’, but it’s not just for those who love musicals: it’s for anyone who’s a fan of great and insightful entertainment.
Some Like it Hip Hop (3rd May – 30th June)
The ZooNation Dance Company are as creative and vibrant a bunch as you’re likely to see perform anywhere this year. In this mash-up of Some like it Hot and Twelfth Night the choreography is intricate, evocative and witty, the songs are catchy and modern and the cast is sure-footed, energetic and charismatic.
The story starts in a dystopian world where men rule, women are consigned to menial work and books are banned. Disobey the king, and you’ll end up exiled and hungry in the barren world outside the city walls; exactly what happens to Jo-Jo and Kerri, two women who dare to read. They don fake moustaches and swagger back into the city as men and the ensuing revolution, plot twists and character turns make for a chaotic but rich experience.
So don’t be put off if hip-hop’s not your thing: you’ll be missing out on a soulful show that has universal appeal and a generous message.
Once (22nd Feb – 9th March, Gaiety Theatre; then from the 16th March at the Phoenix Theatre)
After winning eight Tony awards for its storming Broadway Run, Once is coming to London. The story starts with Guy, who fixes vacuum cleaners by day and sings songs inspired by his ex-girlfriend at night, meeting Girl, a cleaner and a delicate pianist who has moved to Dublin from Poland. Based around their search for a loving as well as creative collusion it’s got all the character and romance that its home town is famous for.
This is another musical which strays from the grand crescendos and traditional styling of the genre, but while it’s got all the verve and honesty of the film it’s based on don’t make the mistake of writing off Once as a rip-off. Though it’s innovatively un-musical-ish in its folky sound and gritty setting, it’s a purely theatrical creation.
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**Guest post provided by Hollie, a keen swimmer and mother of one. Hollie enjoys walks on the beach and visiting local attractions.