London is home to some of the world’s best theatres and theatre production companies, with the city’s West End famous across the globe. However, there’s more to the capital’s great theatre offering than just the West End, though of course, the shows there are great!
There are hidden gems as well as the big blockbusters on throughout the city throughout the year, so no matter when you’re visiting London, you’re guaranteed to be able to catch a brilliant show.
If you’re heading to the capital and are looking for some ideas for what to see when you’re here, we’ve rounded up some of the top shows that are on right now to get you inspired.
Matilda the musical – Cambridge Theatre
There’s no better show to start with than this family favourite that became an instant classic when it graced the stage for the first time back in 2011. It’s been going strong ever since, and is set to tour in the UK until well into 2020.
Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (so you know it’s going to be good), it’s based on the Roald Dahl children’s story, which quickly became popular with adults alike. Based around the central character Matilda, she discovers she has superpowers as well as being super brainy, though her talents go unnoticed and appreciated by her loathsome parents.
The acting (particularly the youngsters) is absolutely world-class, as is the music, written by artist and comedian Tim Minchin. Not one to be missed!
After all that singing and dancing, why not treat yourself to a West End Massage to help you unwind after all the fun?!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Bridge Theatre
No list of top shows in London would be complete without a Shakespearean inclusion, and this is one of the most popular, making it a perfect choice for a summer visit to the city.
With a star-studded cast in the lead – Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Oliver Chris (Green Wing), David Moorst (Allelujah!) and Hammed Animashaun (The Festival) – this is a must for those who love stories by the bard that are a little lighter.
To be immersed in the action you should select ‘pit’ when booking your tickets. This will mean you will stand for the whole performance, and move around as the story and cast develop around you. There may be elements of participation for those with these tickets (but don’t worry, you won’t have a speaking role!).
Small Island – National Theatre
For those who love their theatre shows seeped in history, with perhaps a hard-to-swallow reflection of days gone by, beautifully produced with a rich and engaging cast, this could be the perfect choice for you.
Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts to a new life on the Olivier stage. A cast of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
This is also one of the most famous and top theatres in the city, so the surroundings definitely won’t disappoint. You can find the best Restaurants West End London nearby, too.
The Great Gatsby Immersive Experience – The Gatsby Drugstore
Looking for something completely off the wall, away from the hustle and bustle of the West End, but with all the fun and authenticity of the best stories ever written? Look no further. The latest production by the Immersive Ensemble takes on the classic Great Gatsby and promises a ‘unique, immersive theatrical experience across a myriad of spaces.’
Expect to be plunged deep into a world of 1920’s jazz, cocktails and extravagance in an extraordinary, over the top production of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal tale of lust, lavishness and liquor. Make sure you dress to impress at this production – the fanciest of dress is encouraged!
Fiddler on the Roof – Playhouse Theatre
There’s something extra exciting about experiencing the incredible energy of an all-singing, all-dancing musical in the immeasurable intimacy of an off-West End theatre. But the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of 1964 hit Fiddler on the Roof keeps its cosy feel as it transfers to the West End after a sellout opening.
Featuring one of the most famous and well-loved scores of all time, including ‘Tradition’, ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ and ‘If I Were a Rich Man’, and packed with Jerome Robbins’ original Tony award-winning choreography, Fiddler on the Roof bursts from the stage, leaving its audience encapsulated.
You’ll be within close distance from top Piccadilly London Hotels here, too.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Palace Theatre
We just couldn’t leave this one off the list, could we?! The show that has captured the hearts and imaginations of Potter fanatics the world over, getting a ticket to this show can be as tough as finding one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. But if you do get lucky, it’s fair to say you’re in for an absolute treat.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, the genius behind the Harry Potter series, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play put together by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. (Though we bet it won’t be the last!).
The critically acclaimed production is the most awarded West End play in the history of the Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best New Play and Best Director in 2017.
Take advantage of the great Discount London Hotels nearby.
Aladdin – Prince Edward Theatre
Well, we couldn’t leave a Disney classic off the list, either! There’s been loads of buzz about this particular Disney gem lately, thanks to the new film coming out with Will Smith taking on the coveted role of the genie. But before that, came this much-loved showcase.
A fabulous cast and orchestra, over 350 amazing costumes, and spellbinding sets and special effects come together to create this take on the childhood favourite film.
With so many hugely popular shows on in London right now, it’s important you book your tickets and accommodation now to avoid missing out. After that, all you’ll be left to do is enjoy the show.