What’s On At Theatreland: A Guide to West End Theatres

by KillyTron

A guide to what's on in West End theatres in London this year.

When people hear the phrase “West End” the first thing that tends to come to mind is theatre! There are dozens of these entertainment establishments in this particular area of London, creating a varied assortment of quality performances. Many of these shows have been running for many years, due to their popularity, and it seems that there's no slowing the crowds that keep returning to the West End to see them!

Even if you're not a theatre fan you've no doubt heard of a few West End shows, especially the most famous ones such as Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera. The West End is veritably crammed full of theatres, with over thirty of the larger, well known establishments, all with their own show line up. You're certainly never spoilt for choice in the West End!

Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre

Les Miserables
Les Miserables

2013 is shaping up as another year of some amazing musicals and plays so here is a guide to London’s West End theatres and what they’re showing:

-          Queen’s Theatre London

We’ll start off with arguably the most legendary musical of them all – Les Miserables!  It is the longest running show in the West End, as it has been running continuously since October 1985 and its 10,000th showing was at the Queen’s Theatre in 2010. The production is as strong as ever, still drawing in the crowds – perhaps more than ever after its very successful cinema adaption.

-          Theatre Royal Haymarket

If comedy is your thing then head to the Haymarket to see a performance of One Man, Two Guvnors. The play is described as “a glorious celebration of British comedy – a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.” From the 4th February the cast line up will also be including the popular comedian Rufus Hound.

-          Piccadilly Theatre

A new addition to the West End, Viva Forever, written by comedian Jennifer Saunders, is a look at the latest craze of celebrity culture and television contests that launch people into the limelight. The show uses the popular songs from the Spice Girls to complement and narrate the story. If you’re a fan of the Girl Power’s famous songs and want to enjoy a witty and moving storyline then head to Piccadilly Theatre for Viva Forever.

-          Dominion Theatre

The Dominion Theatre has been home to the musical We Will Rock You for eleven years, a show much in a similar vein as Viva Forever. It incorporates the classic songs of Queen to tell a narrative of a globalised future where music is manufactured and everyone listens to the same songs. But a legend exists that a hero will take kids back to a golden age when they wrote their own songs and created their own bands.

-          Her Majesty’s Theatre

For twenty seven years Her Majesty’s Theatre has been showing the Phantom of the Opera, making it the second longest running show in the West End after Les Miserables. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting score continues to entice audiences from its opening on 9th October 1986, with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, to the present day, enthralling them in this legendary love story.

-          Shaftesbury Theatre

Other theatres have offered a medley of musicals and plays, but if dancing is more your thing that look no further than Burn the Floor at the Shaftsbury. Ballroom dancing has become especially popular of late, with shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, but Burn the Floor has been showing off the amazing dancing skills since 1999. The show incorporates all manner of dancing styles, from Waltz to Tango to Swing to Cha Cha and much, much more.

Have you seen a West End show? Which is your favourite?

West End Theatre

The theatres in the West End are all varied buildings, each with their own particular character. Check out this infographic to see which theatres are in the area and see their individual appearances -- so when you pay them a visit you'll be able to identify each one!

Updated: 02/05/2013, KillyTron
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