At any given time there’s about a dozen different musicals featured in London and tons of plays making their rounds. It’s hard to go wrong with any musical; they pretty much all have fantastic reviews and make for a great night out, although there is the occasional dud. The theatre scene is a little more diverse. There’s a lot of great plays and there’s a lot of awful ones. I learned that just because a play has a famous actor or actress in it, doesn’t mean it will be any good.
I crammed in as many musicals as I could while I was there and I’m glad I did! I managed to see The Lion King, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You, Billy Elliot, Matilda, Wicked, Jersey Boys, and the new Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever. My all time favourite musical has always been Wicked (I’ve seen in 3 times in 3 different countries), but Billy Elliot managed to steel the title and I saw it twice in London. It’s one of the funniest musicals I’ve seen and I think the kids in it are just fantastic. Usually I don’t like kids in Musicals, but the ones in Billy Elliot just have the best facial expressions! If you ever see it, get cheap tickets for the front row. It’s worth the neck cramp just to see the dancers faces.
I could list some of my other favourites, but I really can’t choose between them. I wouldn’t recommend We Will Rock You unless you’re a huge Queen fan (the music is pretty great, but the story is just so weird) and I would definitely not recommend Viva Forever. I love the Spice Girls, but this is just not a good musical. Unlike Mamma Mia, the ridiculous story line just doesn’t work for this musical.
If you’re wondering how I managed to afford all these musicals, it’s because I went for quantity instead of quality and bought the cheapest tickets available for all the musicals. I have no regrets though. I went to Mamma Mia and Les Miserables alone and bought my tickets at the last minute, so I actually got really good seats for a really low price because it’s hard for theatres to sell single seats at the last minute. Like I said, I love getting cheap, front row tickets as well. I also saw Jersey Boys in the front row, but I loved it anyways because you get such a close up view of the actors. You really can’t go wrong with musicals, so just see as many as you can!
Plays on the other hand are a little more of a gamble. I saw two plays when I was in London; one was a new play featuring Zach Braff (All New People) and was supposed to be hilariously funny, the other was an old play called “Noises Off” that is also supposed to be hilariously funny. All New People ended up being a bust, but Noises Off was easily the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life! I went with my friend Alex and we were pretty much rolling on the floor laughing. There’s an old movie about Noises Off featuring Michael Caine which I would definitely recommend; it’s pretty funny, although it has nothing on seeing it live. I guess the only rule I can come up with for plays is that the ‘tried and true’ plays are probably going to be better then the new ones that come and go? Either way, it’s pretty much impossible to know. Just do it all to be safe!