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Musicals/Plays in London . . .

Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
edited April 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'll be in London on the 11th or 12th of May, and my family wants to go see a stage show. We have a list of what's playing . . . I have access to brief synopsis of each show, but I'm just wondering if anyone can provide personal suggestions or comments on what's good, what's to stay away from, etc. (or especially if there are any gems hidden amongst the more obscure titles)?

Shows to pick from:

35 Cents
The 39 Steps
Absolute Beginners
Avenue Q
Big White Fog
Billy Elliot – The Musical
Blood Brothers
Blue Man Group
Boeing-Boeing
Cabaret
Called To Account
Chicago
Daddy Cool
Dancing In The Streets
Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage
Elling
The Entertainer
Fame
The Glass Menagerie
The Hound Of The Baskervilles
Jasmin Vardimon Company: Justitia
Kindertransport
Kiss Of The Spider Woman
The Lady From Dubuque
The Letter
Life of Pi
The Lion King
Little Shop Of Horrors
Mamma Mia!
Mary Poppins
Matter Of Life And Death, A
Misérables, Les
Monty Python's Spamalot
The Mousetrap
Nan
On The Town
Pelléas Et Mélisande
The Phantom Of The Opera
Porgy And Bess
Rafta, Rafta...
The Reporter
Silver Birch House
The Sound Of Music
Stomp
Terre Haute
That Face
Treats
Vernon God Little
We Will Rock You
We're Going On A Bear Hunt
What Andrew Heard
The Woman in Black

We're going to rely on last-minute tickets to save a bit of money, so we can't really pin-point exactly what we want to see - basically, it's just a matter of everyone putting together a list of what we'd like to see and hoping for the best.

I'm leaning towards (kind of in order):

The Mousetrap
The Hound Of The Baskervilles
Misérables, Les
Monty Python's Spamalot
Chicago
We Will Rock You
Mamma Mia!
Billy Elliot – The Musical
The Glass Menagerie
The Phantom Of The Opera

And have already seen the Blue Man Group and Stomp.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Andrew_Jay on

Posts

  • Rabid_LlamaRabid_Llama Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Spamalot and Phantom Of The Opera are both great shows. Also, I have to put in a good word for Little Shop of Horrors. Technically it is awesome and it is also a really fun show.

    /sig
    The+Rabid+Llama.png
  • DioltasDioltas Registered User
    edited April 2007
    I saw Spamalot in London in January, and it was AMAZING. Really really a fun show. I would highly recommend it.

    That being said, I regret not having spent the money to go see Avenue Q. If you're not familiar with the premise of the show, you should go look it up. It contains such classic songs as "The internet is for porn" and "If you were gay", sung by muppet ilke creatures. If I was in your position, that would be my choice hands-down.

    But since you haven't seen Spamalot... well, you're going to be in London. That's the best place in the world to see that show. A lot of those shows play in the states a lot, but Spamalot, man. You have to go see Spamalot.

  • FibretipFibretip Registered User
    edited April 2007
    avenue Q!

    I believe in angels, not the kind with wings, no...not the kind with halos, the kind who bring you home
  • Marc C.Marc C. Registered User
    edited April 2007
    My recommendations:

    1) Les Misérables. Great show all around. The barricade is pretty exciting! I've seen a couple of musicals, and to this day, it remains my favourite.
    2) Spamalot. I haven't seen it but it's supposed to be awesome. And as it's been said, London is the best place to see it.

  • CarnivoreCarnivore Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Phantom of the Opera.


    I despise theatre and musicals.


    But it was still fucking amazing. See it for the set design if anything. It is quite something.

    hihi.jpg
  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited April 2007
    I have an opinion on some of your list. I haven't seen a lot of them though so I'll just comment on those that I have. Not sure who you're going with so I am just being general for family viewing:

    Avenue Q is just excellent. Just make sure you do some reading on it - it might not be comfortable/applicable to all the family though. If you look at it even on wikipedia if you want, there's some adult themes. Use your judgement but if you aren't taking small kids or prudish parents, its a *must*.

    The Mousetrap - I've seen it twice in London. It's good fun, has a lot of history, but it really is a very standard piece of theatre. If you're short on time, I'd have to say (regrettably) that it's worth missing compared to others on your list.

    Phantom is very good family theatre (IMO). Good for those that may not even enjoy a lot of theatre and always very dramatic and well liked music.

    Mamma Mia I saw here in Canada. It was a very average performance and they didn't really have all the songs I wanted to hear in it. There was some more obscure ABBA stuff.

    Billy Elliot – The Musical - I haven't seen it, but I've seen the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, it might help with the kind of themes you'll see.

    The Glass Menagerie - It's pretty heavy theatre in my opinion. It's great if you're studying it for school or something but I wouldn't take anyone that was a light theatre goer to it.

    Blood Brothers - one of my friends used to rave about this. I have the CD, its a cool theme and great music. A bit sad for me though.

    Chicago - has great music, if you like the music or like musicals, go see it. If you want more of a story, don't bother.

    The Lion King - very Disney. I love it, myself.

    Little Shop Of Horrors - yep, its fun.

    Les Misérables - everyone basically goes to see this. I love the music but can't bear to watch it on stage though. I'm an exception, I think a family would probably have a good night at this one.

    Stomp - sure, its popular for a reason.

  • CarnivoreCarnivore Registered User
    edited April 2007
    The Lion King becomes exponentially better if you have kids/were a kid when the film was out.

    I hate Stomp though. They came round our High School fuckin ages ago and just seemed like bad noise to me.

    hihi.jpg
  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2007
    The Mousetrap [OH GOD NO]
    The Hound Of The Baskervilles [OH GOD NO]
    Misérables, Les [AKA Mini-Mis, less of a spectacle since they moved it into smaller premises]
    Monty Python's Spamalot [vg gold star]
    Chicago [meh]
    We Will Rock You [OH GOD NO]
    Mamma Mia! [OH DEAR LORD JESUS CHRIST SWEET SAVIOUR NO]
    Billy Elliot – The Musical [meh with added meh]
    The Glass Menagerie [meh]
    The Phantom Of The Opera [tired]

    ...and the best of the rest...

    The Lion King - I thought the first 5 minutes were worth the price of admission, pity about the Disney bits, was still fresh when I saw it 6 months ago, but it won't be significantly different to Broadway etc

    Little Shop Of Horrors - meant to be a very good production, but totally common in the US

    On The Town - meant to be a very good production, but sure you could see this in the US

    Porgy And Bess - meant to be a very good production

    Stomp - if you like drums, you'll probably like this...and yeah, you've seen it, haven't you.

    The Woman in Black - I know people who like it, meant to always be solid acting, good enough choice for a play, think Mousetrap but a thousand times better

    Avenue Q - also heard very good things
    We're going to rely on last-minute tickets to save a bit of money

    That's not a good idea if you only have a window of one day, and those days are Friday or Saturday at the beginning of summer. Most of the choices on your list will sell out. Except the Mousetrap. But, y'know, OH GOD NO!

    jclast wrote:
    Well shit. To the edit-mobile!
  • MotherFireflyMotherFirefly Registered User
    edited April 2007
    -Avenue Q is higly reccommended if you really like the adult humor, lets just say it's like the muppets ON CRACK

    -Billy Elliot was a decent movie, the musical is bound to be shit.

    -You can see the Blue Man Group anywhere, really. (The same goes for Stomp but I saw the London production and I personally thought it was better than the one that toured in the states)

    -The Little Shop of Horrors is pretty awesome on stage, I think it's cool to watch it. Lion king is also of course very good, but I also only saw it during it's american tour. It's more kiddy, not gonna lie.

    -Les Mis if you know the story is fine, just really effing long.

    -I really really really reccomend Spamalot, I saw it for it's opening show on Broadway--ridiculously good. I'm sure it's even better when surrounded by British people.

    Phantom of the opera....meh.

  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    The Glass Menagerie is one of my favourite plays so going to throw in a vote for it. Don't bother with musicals - go see some actual theatre!

  • DioltasDioltas Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Actually, Fawkes, several of my friends found it quite easy to purchase tickets the day of at one of the half price ticket counters. Sure, you may not get the best seats, but you'll probably get seats.

  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Avenue Q is one of the most brilliantly witty and clever shows of the past five years. Unless you have any objection to adult themes, I would say it's a must-see.

    If you want something more serious, I've heard that Billy Elliot is actually really good. In Ben Brantley's NY Times review (and he is one of those critics that hates more or less EVERYTHING), he basically said that it's too good for Broadway.

    There are plenty of other good shows playing - and plenty of not-so-good shows - but I think those are the two best musicals currently playing (can't say much as to straight drama).

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  • ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Are ye English? Several train stations on the way to London have 2-for-1 tickets for attractions in London - including some of those stage plays. Try and pick a booklet up if you can; they have vouchers in and the theatre didn't even ask for my train ticket as well.

    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2007
    Dioltas wrote: »
    Actually, Fawkes, several of my friends found it quite easy to purchase tickets the day of at one of the half price ticket counters. Sure, you may not get the best seats, but you'll probably get seats.

    Dude, I live here, and I worked in the theatre for a bit. The specific problems are: beginning of summer (influx of tourists), Friday / Saturday (coach parties bussed in from all over the UK), and popularity of cited shows (high). You'll be able to get a ticket for something in the West End, but there's no guarentee that it will be anything you want to see. Also, you will likely waste half your day in London trawling the ticket booths and waiting in huge lines that way.

    Personally, I don't really think it's worth it, you can get decent enough tickets in the Upper Circle for £20-30, depending on whether it's a musical / play.

    jclast wrote:
    Well shit. To the edit-mobile!
  • satansfingerssatansfingers Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    by family i'm assuming you mean somewhere around 4 people? just be aware that there is a good chance you will not get tickets to.. pretty much any of your listed shows. at least not together. those are all wildly popular, and will be hella sold out day of.

    spamalot is great, though. also i cannot recommend the 39 steps more strongly, it is one of the funniest things i've ever watched.

  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I've heard nothing but good things from people who have seen Billy Elliot - the musical. Unfortunately I'm too poor to go see it for myself, but everyone i've talked to has said that if you're going to see only one musical in London then Billy Elliot should be it.

    </shill>

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2007
    The Phantom of the Opera is very popular, but be warned, it's really fucking boring. And shit. I mean, oh god it's bad. People will defend it with poisoned blades and venomous spit, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a dull, boring, uninspired trudge through stage musical mediocrity.


    Blood Brothers is a classic. Go see that.

  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Dioltas wrote: »
    Actually, Fawkes, several of my friends found it quite easy to purchase tickets the day of at one of the half price ticket counters. Sure, you may not get the best seats, but you'll probably get seats.
    When my girlfriend was there two years ago, she had very little trouble getting tickets this way, which is why we're going to try it this way. It's going to be four of us - my parents, my girlfriend and myself. Dad really wants to see Spamalot - and I know they're not going to be up for anything obscure or something they don't already know.

    If there was something I absolutely had to see, £20-£30 wouldn't be bad (the exchange rate is really crappy) - but as it is, nothing really jumps out at me so we'll take the risk.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone for the help. My parents wanted a list really quick, so I basically just moved The Woman in Black and Little Shop of Horrors onto it. It's in their hands now - for all I know they might be planning on buying tickets in advance or doing something else.

  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2007
    By all means, take your American girlfriend's one experience over the advice of two Londoners, at least one of whom has worked the West End & has a circle of friends who go to the theatre regularly. That seems like the smart option :|

    Listen to satansfingers: chances of you getting 4 upper circle tickets on the day (ie cheaper than the £20/£30 ones you can get in advance), for those shows, mid-May, on a Friday or Saturday = slim to none.

    Right. I've said it 3 times, now Jesus can say I told you so.

    jclast wrote:
    Well shit. To the edit-mobile!
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited April 2007
    It's really not a big deal, so I wouldn't get too worked up over it if I were you.

    Like I've already clearly said, I have no idea if that's necessarily what we're going to do. But if we do, yeah, we might not get tickets - but based on my actual level of interest in the theater I'm more than comfortable with taking that risk. I really couldn't care less either way. Or they might be bought in advance - this was a thread about show recommendations, not ticket-buying-in-London-method recommendations . . . or assumptions about people's nationality.

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