LONDON – The city that captivated my heart when I first visited it 7 years ago, that drew me to do a return trip to United Kingdom ( via London) 2 years ago..
Its iconic bloodshot crimson red phone booths/buses and subway signs, the bustling energy at the markets and the incredible parks that you can just laze there all day and watch the squirrels and ducks.
But today’s story is not about any of those sights…
Today’s piece will be about the visual spectacle and fairytale stories within the cramp but cosy theatres of London city. And it brings me to another little indulgence I have other than rock climbing…I love watching musicals.
Till date, I have carefully picked and watched 6 incredible live musicals, and all of which left such a powerful and intense impact on me. In the heart of London city in the 2 trips I have made, I have had the privilege to watch 4 out of 6 of them ( the remaining 2 in Singapore).
So if you have limited time here in London and would like to squeeze in a few musicals within your 2 – 3 Days London Itinerary, here’s sharing some little nuggets and bitesize reviews of each of them as well as the 6 remaining musicals I would love to consider moving forward.
6 Heart-Stopping Musicals Worth your Time and Money
Love it! Both the live theatre version AND the movie version.
This was one of the musicals that I actually watched the movie version ( many times) before the live theatre version, so the things I looked out for and picked out in the live musical was rather different from watching it without any pre-existing understanding. The songs are so familiar that so I could actually sing along!
Some things I really loved about Le Miserables is the spectacular stage effects, costumes and really impressive war/ gate set and props. The live version I watched was in a rather small theatre so it does seem a bit limited in performance space, but it was still a very good overall experience in general.
2. Roald Dahl’s Magical Matilda
Ronald Dahl is one of my favourite authors since I was a kid, and I read almost all his fantasy and magical books as a young captivated girl.
Now that I am all grown up and more than 15 years later – watching it come alive, the memories of the story just came back in snippets and it was such an enjoyable treat.
Matilda the musical impressed me a lot more than I expected.
The way the story was re-enacted in the musical was so unique, refreshing and unexpected! I have to give thumbs up to the incredible cast who sang really well, especially all these little children. There was such talent and passion and the entire musical left us the audience with roars of laughter throughout.
3. Wicked the Musical
Wickedly good and green!
This was my 1st ever live musical and I watched it in Singapore’s theatre. It blew my mind and showed me what is the standard and quality of professional musicals. The acting, characters, solid storyline and transition of each scene was crafted to the detail.
I would recommend everyone to not miss Wicked as it is one musical genre that can cater to all age groups and interests, young and old. Its entertaining, visually spectacular, funny and with a solid takeaway message and story.
4. Phantom of the Opera
The 2 best things of this musical can be summed in 2 words – set and songs.
They have an incredibly mystical and spectacular stage set with the boat and candles and all. And at the end of the musical, all the hairs on your body are standing with the songs ringing in your head for weeks and months. I couldn’t stop playing the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack for weeks after the musical ended, as it left such a strong impression and memory. For people who love literature, art and good theatre, you should add Phantom to your list.
Interested to explore other parts of United Kingdom – like Ireland?
5. Chicago – My Secret Favourite
And all that Jazz!
Chicago is by far..till date, one of the best-made musicals and movies I have ever watched. And yes, surprise surprise, while some find this musical too sexy and subtly violent, I love the energy of the entire musical – the catchiness of the songs, the sensuality of the dance, the strong personalities of the characters and the many ‘not very edifying but real’ life themes that surround the story – anger/ love/ jealousy/ lust/ justice/ betrayal.
So that’s me sharing some of my thoughts about these 5 incredible west end popular musicals I have watched. There are multiple ways to secure your musical ticket, whether it is last minute a few hours before the movie to get a heavily slashed price, or get it online at good and reasonable rates without the worry of getting the worst seats in town.
Remember to also book your hotels or accommodation nearby these musical spots in advance, as it will save you some money commuting if you are living within walking distance from the theatre. If you need a good suggestion, check out Park Grand London, one of the established 4 star hotels in London located at Paddington.
Now that I have gotten you rather hooked on these Broadway musicals and plays, here’s below another 6 I would like to check off my list in the next few years.
Wish List of London Musicals and Plays
1. The Book of Mormon
I have heard it is super good and many friends who have watched it have already vouched by it. Hopefully, I will get to catch it next…
2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Yup, if you are a big big harry potter fan like me, then you have gotta watch this once-in-a-lifetime musical. Pity the last time I was in London, it was fully booked for months, so let’s hope the craze dies off and I get to catch it when I next get the chance.
One of the most talked about longest running musicals around, it would be nice to find what’s the hype and craze about this love story.
4. Singing in the Rain
I saw the set when I was in Covent Garden for afternoon tea previously, and it looked absolutely incredible. It will be super cool to see rain falling in a theatre too!
5. Mary Poppins
Yes yes, I watched this movie as a child, and I believe like me, many of you would love to see it live before your eyes Mary Poppins floating through the sky in the theatre!!
6. Mamma Mia
I KNOW ALL THE SONGS of ABBA by heart!
Not exactly sure how good the musical version will be given I was rather disappointed with the movie musical version, but no harm watching and get a pleasant surprise on the outcome. All ABBA fans, don’t miss this.
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London for a Stopover
If you are only transiting in London for a day and would like to catch a musical in between, you can consider Left Luggage Service to drop off your bags and roam London streets in peace!:)
After you have walked the streets of Convent Garden, enjoyed an incredible musical and enjoyed a good old English breakfast, you can conveniently get an airport transfer to London Heathrow by taxi.
So now that you have seen my list of best recommendations for London theatre, which one will you want to go for?
If you are staying longer in United Kingdom and would like to check out more of the nature and outdoor aspects of the UK, in particular Wales, why not consider horseback riding or hiking in Snowdonia.
Before going on your next travel adventure, consider booking Affordable Travel Insurance from US$14 onwards for that peace of mind! 🙂