Have you ever caught a show in London’s West End? If so, you’re in good company. In 2013, ticket sales reached a record 14.5 million, and it’s the best place in the UK to book a seat if you want to see a big name performing on stage.
There are around forty venues to choose from, in Theatreland alone (the area traditionally defined by The Strand to the south, Oxford Street to the north, Regent Street to the west, and Kingsway to the east). So it can be rather mind-boggling if you’re visiting London, and want to see a show as part of your trip.
To help narrow down the search, I’ve posted here about nine London performances that should brighten up your family Christmas in the UK capital. Most of the theatres in that round-up are non-West End, though, so I ‘ve decided to post again, focusing on a couple of top shows for 2015 that are based in Theatreland itself.
Elf the Musical
At the Dominion Theatre from 24 Oct-2 Jan
For children over 4
This London premiere is based on the cracking 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, which is a Yuletide scheduling staple. This musical stage version – originally a Broadway show – stars household names Ben Forster (from the ITV talent series Superstar), Kimberley Walsh, Joe McGann and Jessica Martin; for those of you unfamiliar with the story, it follows Buddy, who grows up in the North Pole thinking he’s an Elf, but is given special permission by Father Christmas to travel to New York. The show’s original music was composed by Matthew Sklar and the show broke box office records five of the nine weeks at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2010–11. If you’re looking for a chucklesome take on some favourite Christmas traditions, this sounds like the show for you.
A Christmas Carol
at the Noel Coward Theatre from 30 Nov-30 Jan
For children over 10
Jim Broadbent. Need I make any other introduction to this show? A certified British national treasure, Academy Award-winning Broadbent has starred in countless stage and screen performances, including films like Hot Fuzz, Iris, Topsy-Turvy, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and The Iron Lady. He follows in the footsteps of Patrick Stewart by playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ memorably mean old man, who comes to realise the hard way that Christmas is about giving, sharing and big-heartedness.
The play is written by the Olivier Award-winning and Tony nominated Patrick Barlow, and directed by Olivier Award-winning Phelim McDermott, the creator of the magnificent production Shockheaded Peter. Unfortunately my children are too young at the moment for this performance, but it sounds like one not to be missed.
This is a collaborative post. All views are my own.