Whether you’re eight or 80, London’s West End has got something to put a smile on your face this Winter. Here’s our guide to finding the perfect show for your little terrors, theatre loving cousins and home-by-10pm grandparents…
If You’ve Got Young Children
Loserville at the Garrick Theatre
What it’s about: Set in 1971, Loserville follows a young computer genius called Michael Dork whose bright idea of e-mail communication is stolen by school bully Eddie Arch. Michael must join forces with his gang of geeks and new brainy girlfriend Holly to steal back his invention and change the face of technology.
Why it’s good: The characters (or caricatures) are happy go-lucky and highly stylised which will instantly resonate with younger children. The music was written by ex-Busted band member, James Bourne, so expect lots of banging drums and guitar riffs. Your children will leave happy and so will you.
Tickets: Mondays to Fridays, £10 – £45, Saturdays, £10 – £49.50. Click here for more information.
Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre
What it’s about: Based on the classic Roald Dahl tale of a little girl with strange powers and a frightfully awful principal, Matilda has scored rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Why it’s good: With music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, Matilda expertly toes the line between silly and serious. Kids will latch onto the amazing set design, humour and catchy tunes, while adults will be forced to stifle giggles every time Miss Trunchball comes on stage. Not to be missed!
Tickets: Tuesday to Thursdays, £20 – £62.50, Friday to Sunday, £20 – £65. Click here for more information.
If You’ve Got Teenagers
Shrek at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
What it’s about: Don’t write this off as a cheap knock-off from the film. Teenagers might be reluctant to see this musical about a green ogre’s quest to save a fairytale princess, but there’s plenty of innuendo and witty one-liners to make them smile. If they sit through ‘Freak Flag Fly’ without tapping their feet, you really do have a Kevin or Perry on your hands!
Why it’s good: Where do we start…costumes, songs, humour, set design, cast. Musical boffins will notice loads of sly references to other productions like Les Misérables and Wicked.
Tickets: Prices from £20 – £65. Click here for more information.
If You Need To Entertain The Grandparents
The Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theatre
What it’s about: Now in its 60th year, The Mousetrap is one of Agatha Christie’s most enduring and universally entertaining plays. Set in the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor in 1952, four travellers are snowed-in to a hotel together with news of a vicious murderer circulating around London. What follows is an enthralling mystery with a shock twist ending that theatre goers are asked to keep secret to avoid spoiling The Mousetrap for others.
Why it’s good: The classic whodunit genre is turned on its head, and the whole family will be debating the ending all the way home.
Tickets: Prices from £16.60 – £43.10. Click here for more information.
39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre
What it’s about: Based on the Hitchcock classic this exhilarating and fast paced play includes just four actors who play 130 serious and farcical characters. Investigator Richard Hannay must solve the 39 steps to clear himself of murder and do his King and country proud.
Why it’s good: Firstly, it’s hilarious and energetic and will help to wake everyone up from the carb coma of a pre-theatre dinner. This stiff-upper-lip British play will definitely make your grandparents chuckle.
Tickets: Prices from £15 – £49.50. Click here for more information.
If You’ve Got Drama Lovers With You
Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre
Starring Anna Friel, Ken Stott and Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, this high profile adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece is witty, real and full of human intensity that real theatre geeks will find irresistible. Ticket prices start from £28. Click here for more information.
Constellations at the Duke of York’s Theatre
This wonderfully romantic play by Nick Payne stars Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, two British actors who should be far more famous than they actually are. At times it’s quirky and playful and at others it’s moving and profoundly thought provoking. We loved the clever combination of everyday moments and cosmic fantasy. Ticket prices start from £20. Click here for more information.
Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre (until 15th December only)
Starring Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill, Lewis actor Laurence Fox and Neville Longbottom himself, Mathew Lewis, this play follows a group of young soldiers recovering from their war injuries in a bleak hospital. Soon they’re hit with charges of misconduct, feelings of betrayal, anger, in-fighting and confusion. Set in 1980s Britain, this is the sort of play that gets you thinking and keeps you reeling long after the curtain’s gone down. Ticket prices start from £20. Click here for more information.
If You Have Thrill Seeking Cousins
Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre
What it’s about: This highly anticipated musical that uses the music of the Spice Girls to tell the story of TV talent show hopefuls has been crafted by Brit funny woman Jennifer Saunders and Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer. The story follows a young girl who becomes an overnight celeb on an X Factor style show, but what happens to her friends and family along the way is anything but simple.
Why it’s good: Advance reviews are looking promising but previews don’t start until the 27th November. Hopefully the music of the Spice Girls combined with Saunders’ wit and Kramer’s experience will win over the critics.
Tickets: prices from £20 – £85. Click here for more information.
Sarah Jordan @S_L_Jordan