This upcoming year is a great year to be a London theatregoer. They are so many West End and Off-West End productions coming up and so much to see (naturally!) Here is my top list of the shows (that I can think of currently) you must without a doubt get a ticket for!
7 – Hair (50th Anniversary Production)
Where: The Vaults, Waterloo
When: October 4-December 3
Why: The Vaults is doing incredible work in immersive theatre. If you may be someone who just sees conventional theatre, get down to the Vaults. Immersive work gives you the opportunity to explore theatre in a totally different way and I can’t wait for this production of the revolutionary Hair. With a fully immersive 60’s venue with pop-up stalls and bars, the audience will then be led into the show itself; and as someone who hasn’t since this iconic show before I can’t wait for my first experience of it to be as unforgettable as I can imagine this will be!
6 – Working
Where: Southwark Playhouse
When: June 2-July 8
Why: I can only imagine how irresistible this show is going to be – I mean, the cast and the writing team (Stephen Schwartz AND Lin-Manuel Miranda…what?!) is a big indication! This European premiere production of the American musical is also happening at one of my favourite venues, the Southwark Playhouse where they also put on incredible work. I’m not sure what it’s going to be but it’s only on for a limited run so do it! Do it!
5 – Dick Whittington
Where: London Palladium
When: December 9, 2017-January 14, 2018
Why: So I thought I wasn’t much of a panto lover until I saw the Palladium’s production of Cinderella last year, I mean, I saw it twice and it was phenomenal. Not at least visually, but the cast, the music, the hilarious script, it was everything! And I’m so happy the masterful Julian Clary is returning this year (and in the role of ‘Spirit of the Bells’ no less, I can’t wait for the innuendos and one-liners to hit again!). His scenes with Paul O’Grady in last year’s show were some of the funniest moments I’ve ever experienced, I was going to say in the theatre, but no, in general…in life. It was the best! If you missed Cinderella last year I urge you to catch Dick Whittington, it has a tough act to follow but I have complete confidence it will live up. Christmas can’t come soon enough!
4 – The Toxic Avenger
Where: The Arts Theatre
When: September 28-December 3
Why: I’ve already booked for the first and last performances because this show gives me all the life! The London premiere was staged last year at Southwark Playhouse and now it’s back at the Arts for a slightly longer run and rightfully so. This show is incredibly hilarious, the score (by the guys who also did Memphis the Musical) is a dream and it knows what it is – simply, a superhero parody riffing of its intentionally serious source material, and it does it with cleverness and ease. One of the best, most underrated cult shows I have seen and I would be gutted if people missed it again. Seriously, book this one!
3 – On The Town
Where: Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre
When: May 19-July 1
Why: So I was grateful to catch this last night (May 20, 2nd preview). One of the most beautiful shows I have ever seen. Did not know what to expect other than the famous song ‘New York, New York’ of course, but I was blown away by this production. Drew McOnie is an incredible talent – to have directed and choreographed this work in such a way as was presented is unbelievable. And the cast are to die for, especially the showmanship-filled Danny Mac and the ever brilliant Lizzy Connolly. It may be one of those ‘classic’ musicals, but this production feels as though it was born yesterday. It’s emotional, funny and just plain perfect. And Regent’s Park is just the best venue ever! You must see this before July 1. Seriously!!
2 – Hamilton
Where: Victoria Palace
When: Begins November 21
Why: Well, you probably guessed this would be here. I was debating leaving it out since its only playing 7 sold-out weeks this year, so unless you where lucky enough to grab a ticket around opening then you’re seeing it in 2018 or thereafter. But how could I not include it. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s world-renowned modern musical about America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton has made him a global superstar and the show equally as much. Lin is one of my favourite composers, because, despite all of the hype, the way he writes and connects to music and characters is unique and very special, and something I can never truly explain how it connects to me personally. The cast they have assembled so far makes me so excited and thankful to be at the show’s second preview at the soon-to-be fully renovated Victoria Palace. Bring it on (no pun intended!)
1 – Jesus Christ Superstar
Where: Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre
When: August 11-September 23
Why: Hamilton is not number 1? What?! I know right! Let me explain. Actually, little explanation is needed for this one. Last summer I spent the afternoon here at Regent’s Park and came away speechless. Not only did I discover my favourite place to watch live theatre but I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s epic in a now-Olivier-Award-winning production. This was so very special. My favourite Webber score, the production blew me away. I mean, that cast. Holy…well…Jesus. We are so lucky that a few of them have already been announced to be returning for this year’s run including the vocal powerhouse that is Tyrone Huntley as Judas. Never ever experienced anything like this, well, at least until I go back and see it again this summer. I cannot figure up enough positive words to urge you to see this production – so for every reason under the sun, just go see it!!