West End theatre visits are such a vital part of my theatrical calendar and I have firm favourites that I like to see over and over – it’s always fantastic to see the new shows and other revivals too of course! However, my year would not be complete without a spot of Masquerade and Chiquitita! Here’s the best of what I’ve been watching this year… Follow links to book tickets to The Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots and Mamma Mia! via the Mates ticket shop.
1. How The Other Half Loves (Theatre Royal Haymarket & Duke of York’s Theatre) – this was recommended to me and ended up snagging the Best West End Show award at Break A Leg Critic’s Choice Awards earlier this month. Gillian Wright was the stand-out performer for me, but the whole cast were spot on when it came to portraying a classic farce on stage. It provided my friend and I with a much needed belly laugh or two, it was a pity we had left it late in the run to see it as I would have gone again.
2. Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre) – As a regular theatregoer, you may find it surprising that I had not seen this show before, however it managed to escape my radar until this year. I took my husband to see it as a Christmas 2015 present and it was one of the most emotional and powerful musicals I have sat through. Having a toddler myself, I found the fact that a little boy was at the centre of the action was a hard hitting issue to cope with. If it hadn’t have been performed to perfection, I wouldn’t have felt it quite so deeply. What a tear-jerker.
3. The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s) – This will always appear on my top fives list, it is without doubt a classic show which is never a disappointment whenever I decide to pay another visit to see it. I have particularly enjoyed Megan Llewellyn’s performance as Carlotta, this year and there are always an incredible cast of understudies for Phantom. It never matters to me if an understudy goes on in any show, unless I REALLY wanted to see a particular performer, because often I find that you discover another hidden gem of a talent. However, I do find that in Phantom, you are guaranteed a phantastic understudy (see what I did there? No?…. Phan…. Oh forget it!).
4. Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre) – Wowzers, how I love this show, I’ve always been a fan of Cyndi Lauper, too so it’s pretty cool that she is responsible for it. Matt Henry has definitely found his metier and the cast have so much energy and verve, it’s infectious. Singing The Sex Is In The Heel on a weekly basis in not unusual at Break A Leg HQ since the arrival of this gem. Walking out of the theatre and wanting to turn around and walk right back in there for more is the over-riding feeling with this one.
5. Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre) – I am as much of a fan of this musical as I am Phantom, two totally different shows that both leave me craving more. It seems to get better each time, which given that the cast has changed almost every time I have seen this, is testament to the production itself. Standing up and jigging to Waterloo is always the highlight of the show for me. Remaining on the ground and restraining myself from leaping onto the stage to join in is the difficulty. I never did take to the film in quite the same way, I much prefer to pay homage at the theatre than via the telly.
I hope to be covering more West End shows next year, here’s to it! OK, I’ll probably see Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia again… I admit it!