With Christmas fast approaching November is a very busy and exciting time for theatreland. Lots of exciting new productions have recently opened while some of the long running shows have welcomed new casts giving them a new lease of life.
Here are five shows you must try and see this month:
1. Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre
November promises to be a very exciting month for Wicked. Legendary cast members Louise Dearman and Gina Beck are currently enjoying their final weeks in the show, both ladies give unmissable performances as Elphaba and Glinda. They play their final performance on Saturday 16th November.
Then, on Monday 18th November, a new cast will join Wicked including international Dutch star Willemijn Verkaik as Elphaba. Earlier this year Verkaik played the iconic role on Broadway, making her the first and only actress to have performed Elphaba in three languages (German, Dutch and English). Wicked is a show which anyone can relate to, it features incredible songs, a grand design and an extraordinary storyline. There has certainly never been a better time to see the production.
2. From Here To Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre
From Here To Eternity marks Tim Rice’s first West End show in a decade. The production recently officially opened and people are still discussing Rebecca Thornhill’s show-stealing performance. From Here To Eternity is not a stereotypical musical, some have described it as a play with music and dance.
The production follows two affairs and is about life in the army. As the musical reaches its gory, dramatic conclusion war breaks out tearing the lives of the soldiers, and the love of the couples, apart. I saw the production a couple of weeks ago and am still humming a couple of musical numbers including ‘You Got The Money’. From Here To Eternity is certainly very different to anything else in the West End at the moment.
3. Keeler at the Charing Cross Theatre
‘There are two sides to every story’. While Andrew Lloyd Webber prepares to open his new West End musical Stephen Ward next month, The Charing Cross Theatre is also staging a production about the famous Profumo scandal.
Keeler is a play based on Christine Keeler’s book ‘The Truth at Last’. Not only is Paul Nicholas directing the production but he is also starring as Stephen Ward. As the excitement builds for the opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward, Keeler promises to be the show that everyone will be talking about.
4. The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre
Now in its twenty-eighth year in the West End, The Phantom of the Opera is still one of the most popular shows in the West End. It is a production everybody must see at least once in their lifetime. While some classical pieces of theatre are known for being a little drawn out and confusing, what I love most about The Phantom of the Opera is its simplicity – it is one of the best love stories ever written.
Argentinian singer and actor Gerónimo Rauch recently joined the production as The Phantom, fresh from starring as Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables. I have never spotted a single weak performer in the cast of The Phantom of the Opera. The musical is truly magical and is a perfect choice for the run up to Christmas
5. The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre
The 39 Steps is one of the funniest, most clever and underrated plays I have ever seen. From beginning to end the production is utter genius. Based on Alfred Hitchcock's film version of The 39 Steps, the cast of just foyr successfully manage to play 139 roles in 100 minutes. It is ridiculous and highly impressive.
You do not have to know the film in order to enjoy the play. The 39 Steps is a strong, hysterical piece of theatre in its own right... but if you have seen the movie you will appreciate just how incredible the production is. The 39 Steps is one of the best old-school British comedies in the West End at the moment and I can’t recommend it highly enough.