London is the stage for performing art.
In the minimalist style, here is a list of reasons why you need to be there for the show(s).
Opera and Ballet
Lucia di Lammermoor @ Royal Opera House
- Dual-stage technique
- A feminist statement in opera
- The two ghosts make me ponder so much
Nutcracker @ Royal Opera House
- A christmas classic
- Drosselmeyer’s nephew & Sugar Plum Fairy
- Why does it feel so legit when Royal Ballet owns it on stage?
The Illustrated Farewell,The Wind, Untouchable @ Royal Opera House
Easily blew me away…
- Haydn’s Farewell symphony
- Natalia Osipova: oh, my versatile pirouette goddess!
- Bésame Mucho in Untouchable (oh wait, was it actually ballet ballet?)
Svetlana Zakharova – Amore @ London Coliseum (ENO)
- Bolshoi ballerina’s triple bill!
- So dramatic
- Yet so elegant
Musical & Play
Young Frankenstein @ Garrick Theatre
The original story is heart-breaking and thought-provoking itself, and the whole idea of humanity in a sublime, distant region can be quite appealing.
- Very Swiss
- Good twist
- The female lead’s act
Wicked @ Apollo Victoria Theatre
Classic musical with the most known songs. Plus, the theatre is 5 minutes away from my address.
- Committed cast
- The Popular song
- Some of my friends say they can totally relate, even though the story is set in a magical world
Witness for the Prosecution @ London County Hall (Southbank, My favourite part of the city)
Agatha Christie is such an iconic play writer (shoutout to the beautifully-filmed Murder on the Orient Express). Based in London County Hall, the whole theatre and stage setting makes you feel like one in court.
- The ending is always the best part of Agatha Christie’s
- Immerse theatre/stage
Les Misérables @ Queen’s Theatre
Oh, Hugo! I still remember my first ballet in life – Notre-Dame de Paris, before which I read all the Hugo classics (in Children’s brief version) I could find. Les Mis was the most difficult among all for me to understand, and I did not get the whole story until high school (when the movie was out and one day the song “I dreamed a dream” jus hit me). Being in theatre to experience it was a total dream-come-true.
- Very cool stage transition method – You’ll know when you see it 🙂 (Shout out to John Napier)
- “There is no minor role.” Never seen a cast crew so committed!
- Can I say I just love all the songs and lines?
Phantom of the Opera @ Her Majesty’s Theatre
Think of me, think of me fondly. This is a story set in an opera house/theatre, and you are watching it in a theatre. The story is all around you, so keep alert, as you never know where he is going to be the next second.
- Immerse theatre experience (no matter where your seat would be – I sat at the far back on balcony and it still felt so real)
- The chandelier
- Meg Giry – portrait by Georgia Ware – has an amazing voice and the most elegant movement.
Book of Mormon @ Prince of Wales Theatre
So long as you don’t judge the show by its name, you are gonna love it for all the non-religious reasons! To be frank, this play can be adapted to any belief system and still stands well and tall.
- Funny as hell – almost laughed to death
- The whole cast just took you to Utah – thanks to their accents and appearance
- Somehow thought-provoking: after all, what is the main purpose of any religion/belief/faith? Why do we need someone/something to believe in?
Aladdin @ Prince Edward Theatre
Disney production – well, let’s just have some fun then 😀 I see it as the male version of Cinderella, but you see it whatever you want.
- Simple but understandable stage design
- Genie has a fabulous New Yorker accent (like, fabulous)
Mousetrap @ St Martins Theatre
Another Agatha Christie’s! The longest-running play in West End does have its own charm. I promised the company not to reveal anything, and you should definitely see it yourself 🙂
- One-scene play: imagine what’s out of sight
- Old-fashioned, yet so classic
- Sources everywhere, keep in line!
Venus in Fur @ Theatre Royal Haymarket
Have you ever read the novel of von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Fur? I learnt it in Human Sexuality Psychology course, and I got to know where the word sadomasochism came from. This adapted two-person, one-scene play is not exactly about the original book, but does have the gist of von Sacher-Masoch.
- Excellent twist
- Ambivalent (you gotta see it to get it)
- Fully used stage – even though it is an one-scene play!
- Natalie Dormer (Her season in London is closed, but she was outstanding then on the stage!)
Lion King @ Lyceum Theatre
My friends always joke about me having no childhood: I’ve never watched/read Harry Potter, I’d never been to DisneyLand before 19, I’ve never watched Lion King. So, apart from that clip Obama broadcast during his speech, I had no idea what Lion King was about… Until this musical happened!
- Lyceum Theatre: the theatre itself is so cool! They also have animal chimes in the theatre before the musical starts as well as during intermission.
- The costumes!!!
- Young lions ❤ How could they be so cute
Mamma Mia! @ Novello Theatre
My, my, how can I resist ya? The idea that our parents were young can be rather strange. My dad loves ABBA, so there was a time during my middle school, I listened to ABBA on my way to school in the car, annoyed.
Have you heard? Lily James is acting a sequel for Mamma Mia!
- Simple stage to imply a pure Greek style
- The songs! They are just so catchy. I have all the madames singing along around me (and all the sons faking a smile).
- Yes, they do encores.
42nd Street @ Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
It takes us back to last century, when show biz is just an entertaining business.
- Tap, tap, tap: the tap dancers here are crazy!
- (I can’t think of anything else, because the tap was just too astonishing)
Dreamgirls @ Savoy Theatre
Another show-biz backstage-feeling musical! There is always more than you need to know at the back stage, and this musical presents them in the coolest way.
- Stage design: they can change the stage to a behind-scene view in a snap
- “Listen”, “And I’m telling you I’m not going”
- Amber Riley: from Glee! Unluckily she is not on stage for Effie White in a period, but there are three equivalently talented females taking turn for the role Effie.
An American in Paris @ Dominion Theatre
My last musical in London.
- High-tech stage: as one of the newest production, it takes full advantage of technology to make the whole theatre much dreamy.
- The most poised/elegant ballet steps I’ve seen in musical
- The ending.
Where to get tickets?
- Fever: Fever app is so easy to use, as they gather all the stuff events in London. Hence, you can usually see cross-sourced events and activities, and have your social calendar ready
- TodayTix: you can always get a 10 pounds off with a referral code
- TimeOut London: yeah they sell tickets now
- London Discount Theatre: you might find cheap tix here, try your luck 🙂
- Or just go to the theatre’s box offices!
- There are some theatres that sell day tickets, all you need to do is lining up before before they open the box office.
Oh man, I miss London!