Our Top 10 Theatre picks for Movie Lovers
Fancy a trip to the West End this Christmas? Some of the best loved movies have made the transition from silver screen to stage, so why not take your pick from this little lot?
The Lion King
Lyceum Theatre, Covent Garden
This is probably one of the favourite and most successful shows of recent years. The Lion King has been running since 1999, but finishes its West End run next Summer, meaning that if you’ve never managed to catch Simba, Mufasa and Rafiki on stage, you should probably get in soon! Amazingly innovative and impressive costumes but with the same tear-jerker of a story that we all know and love from the original Disney animation, The Lion King is a fail-safe for a fun night out.
Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus
4 actors play a minimum of 139 roles in this stage version of Hitchcock’s classic whodunit. Re-imagined as a comic farce, nothing has been cut from this play and all the iconic scenes from the movie are included, there’s even the first ever theatrical bi-plane crash! The show has had brilliant reviews and has won an Olivier award as well as two Tonys. 39 Steps promises to deliver something a little bit different to your bog standard West End musical, and would be the perfect night out for any devoted Hitchcock fan.
Piccadilly Theatre, Piccadilly Circus
This is one musical that needs no introduction. Though strictly speaking Grease was a stage show before it was a film, it’s probably one of the most accessible and well loved movie musicals ever, with one of the best selling soundtracks in pop-movie history. A classic boy meets girl story of love, misunderstandings and ultimately satisfactory endings with too many toe-tapping karaoke favourites to count, Grease is brilliant feel good fun. Grease’s crowd drawing abilities even after nearly 40 years are testament to just how good it is. Its present London run only lasts until next Spring and stars Noel Sullivan of Hear’say fame as Danny with Lauren Samuels from the BBC’s Over the Rainbow as Sandy; it’s another show to catch sooner rather than later!
The Duchess Theatre, Covent Garden
Only running for a short time over the festive season, Love Story is a musical adaptation of the 1970 film of the same name. It tells the tale of Oliver and Jennifer, who fall in love and marry against the wishes of Oliver’s family. Although tragic in places, it’s commonly known as one of the most romantic films ever made, with the famous line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. It’s been met with some pretty good reviews, with many saying they preferred it to the original film. Just make sure you’re prepared to have a good old blub, tissues at the ready!
Legally Blonde, The Musical
The Savoy Theatre, Emabnkment
Reckon its an acquired taste? Think again. If you liked the original film or others like it, (Clueless, Mean Girls etc) it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re going to enjoy this very recent, breast-thwackingly brilliant screen to stage adaptation. This show is gaining praise right across the board, with 4 star ratings from The Times, The Independent and The Telegraph. Legally Blonde is the story of Elle Woods, the California girl who enrols in Harvard Law School in order to impress her ex with just how serious and studious she can be. Ridiculous plot though it sounds, Legally Blonde the movie has achieved something of a cult status and won Reese Witherspoon an army of teenage fans for her portrayal of Elle. Now it seems Sheridan Smith is doing the same in the West End, wowing the critics and even scooping a nomination for best actress at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Didn’t think ditsy blondes and chihuahuas were your thing? You might just surprise yourself!
Flashdance, The Musical
Shaftesbury Theatre, Holborn
Female welder by day, flashdancer by night. Strangest premise for a story ever? One of them undoubtedly, but if that’s what a plot needs to facilitate some top notch dance moves and the amazing tagline “Every day, she works in a man’s world. Every night, she dances through the universe that is her dream.” then so be it. Flashdance is based on the cult 80s film about the girl who wants to break away from her mundane existence and become a classically trained dancer. There’s a love interest thrown in for good measure, but essentially it’s the dancing that’ll blow your mind. The musical adaptation even includes the infamous bucket of water scene! With films like Streetdance and Step Up never having been so popular, Flashdance is as relevant as ever and a must-see for all fans of the dance/romance combo.
The Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria
This film was surely made to be a hit West end musical. The story of a young boy from County Durham, (originally played by Jamie Bell) who defies convention and his family in his ambition to become a ballet dancer. The film was met with critical acclaim and a host of awards. With some really well developed characters and a slightly grittier plot than many musicals (although some of the stronger language was edited out for the stage version), Billy Elliot was an instant smash from the moment it hit the West end 5 years ago. With music by Elton John Billy Elliot delivers brilliant songs in addition to some fantastic dance numbers.
Dirty Dancing, The Musical
The Aldwych Theatre, Covent Garden
Possibly the number one chick flick of all time, prepare to re-visit your teenage years in this show stopping romantic dance spectacular. Live vicariously once again through the romance of Baby and Johnny in this sexy story of infatuation, passion and forbidden love. Re-imagined for the stage, this West end version contains extra scenes and delves deeper into the relationships of the characters. Dirty Dancing is a perfect alternative night out for the girls this Christmas, the time of your life guaranteed!
Apollo Victoria Theatre, Victoria
The ultimate theatre box office smash-hit of recent times, this show is an absolute must see for any fans of the classic Wizard of Oz. A prequel to the original story told in the film, Wicked documents the history of the witches of Oz and how they came to be. Wicked won 15 awards in its record breaking Broadway run, including a Grammy and three Tonys and it’s easy to see why. With catchy tunes, fascinating characters and a moving story, Wicked will keep you engaged right up until the final curtain call.
Prince of Wales Theatre, Leicester Square
Although originally a musical, Mamma Mia! had to make it onto the list, seeing as the 2008 film version beat Titanic to become the fastest selling DVD of all time! Mamma Mia! tells the story of Sophie, a twenty year old woman who on the evening before her wedding, sets out on the task of trying to find her real father. Interspersed with all the classic ABBA hits, including Dancing Queen, Take A Chance On Me and of course, Mamma Mia! this musical will delight and entertain on all fronts. Totally infectious feel-good fun!
So now you can see there’s really no need to compromise. Theatre and cinema combined into a super-festive treat for you and the film lovers in your life. Brilliant!