It happens every year like clockwork – the nights draw in, the beach stuff gets put away for another year and the London theatre scene really gets going. There’s such high quality in the West End this Autumn/Winter, with big shows returning to the stage and modern must-sees still demanding our attention, it’s tough deciding where to start. Can’t decide if you want to see a returning classic or a modern favourite this year? My handy guide is here to help…
Battle of the Pop Stars
Returning to London for a strictly limited run, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s immensely popular musical Evita is set to take the West End by storm one more time. The supremely talented Madalena Alberto has received sensational reviews as Argentine first lady Eva Peron; starring alongside housewives’ favourite Marti Pellow as Che, Evita has one of the West End’s most formidable billings this autumn. Pellow isn’t the only pop heartthrob appearing on stage this year – from November, Ronan Keating will take on the role of ‘Him’ in Once, bringing his effortless charm to this incredibly sweet story. Once has been wowing London audiences for almost 18 months and has since established itself as a modern classic, this generation’s must-see musical.
No easy decisions here – which chart-throb will you be seeing on stage this year?
Battle of the Big Cats
One of the West End’s most fondly remembered shows, fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS were delighted to hear that the show would take to the stage at the legendary London Palladium this winter. Seen by well over 50 million people worldwide, CATS is one of the most endearing shows in musical history. The Lion King meanwhile has been seen by over 65 million people worldwide – since first appearing in the West End 15 years ago, the family-friendly show has become a must for people of all ages. Both shows are spectacularly staged – CATS by legendary director Sir Trevor Nunn, The Lion King by Tony-winning Julie Taymor – and the animalistic choreography in both is nothing short of breath-taking. With touching, anthemic music in both too – think Memory, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight? – the thing they have most in common is their sheer class.
Another toughie – which feline favourite gets your vote?
Battle of the Epics
The most highly-anticipated revival of 2014, Miss Saigon delivered on its huge promise when it opened in May – impressing audiences ever since with its heart-rending story, it’s 25 years since the show first appeared on the London stage. Based on Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the thrilling production became one of London and New York’s most loved for a decade. Wicked, still on its first run (on Broadway since 2003, the West End since 2006) and bringing in swathes of devoted fans, is the quintessential modern classic. The stories of the devastating war in Miss Saigon and the fearsome battle between good and evil in Wicked make these two of the most compelling musicals around. Each is magical in its own way too; with the ability to make you cry, laugh and sing along all in one evening, both have all the qualities of a must-see epic show.
Which epic show gets your ticket? Heading on a different theatre break this year? Let us know what you’re off to see in our comments section below!