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A selection of current shows to show mama you care!

If you haven't already arranged your Mother's Day gift for this coming Sunday, 3rd April, then shame on you!   However all is not lost - why not snap up some tickets for the ultimate treat for her: a night on the town to see a top West End London show!   Theatre tickets make the perfect gift as it's not always something mum would buy for herself, but you know how much she deserves a touch of glamour and fun.  She can go with you, with dad, or a friend, but either way she'll have a thrilling night out.

Most productions don't play on Sundays so the list is shorter if you want to go on the day itself, but there are a few out there.  Shows performing this Sunday include the perennial feel good show The Lion King, stunning Michael Jackson tribute show Thriller Live!, burlesque revue The Hurly Burly Show, hold-on-to-your-seats scare-fest Ghost Stories and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons musical Jersey Boys.  However if you already have something planned for this Sunday, why not prebook a future outing so that mum has something to look forward to.  Here's a few of our favourite shows that we think might be mum's cup of tea.

Mamma Mia! at the Prince Of Wales theatre is an obvious feel good favourite that has been doing brisk business since it opened in London in 1999.  The ABBA musical is so beloved by audiences the movie version starring Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried has become the most successful film musical of all time.  The live show at the Prince Of Wales has an electric atmosphere, with people often standing in their seats to boogie along with such classic hits as Dancing Queen, Super Trouper, Lay All Your Love On Me, S.O.S. and many more.   Mother Donna has been enjoying a charmed life marching to the beat of her own drum on an idyllic Greek island, but all this is about to change when her inquisitive daughter starts to make plans for her own upcoming nuptials.  Never having known her father's identity, she digs about in Donna's journal and invites the three possibilities - three skeletons from Donna's raucous past - as surprise guests.  Mamma Mia indeed!

From a fun and frivolity mother-daughter based comedy to an intense mother-sons focused musical masterpiece.  Blood Brothers  at the Phoenix Theatre is one of the longest-running musicals in West End history, 23 years this July, and it is no wonder with such a compelling, heartbreakingly tragic story.  A single mother in a terrible financial situation makes the heart-wrenching decision to give away one of her newborn twins.  She resolves to never let the brothers know their kinship, but fate has other ideas and their paths cross years later as the separated brothers' worlds collide and their mother struggles with her secret feelings of guilt and a desperation to keep them apart.  The musical features a breathtaking score with such songs as Marilyn Monroe and Tell Me It's Not True, and the pivotal character of Mrs Johnson has been played by Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Melanie C and numerous Nolan sisters over the years.  Ex-Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton has currently been posting rave reviews in the role and is scheduled to perform until July.

Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre offers a more upbeat, retro feel if your mum was…or still is a rock 'n' roller.  Set in the late 1950s young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national songwriting competition…as well as the attention of the gorgeous Sue.  Meanwhile shy Laura is about to make an impression on one of the boys too when her hidden prowess on the piano suddenly sees her burst into life.  With a backdrop of world famous 50s and early 60s rock n roll hits such as Runaround Sue, Dream Lover, Only The Lonely, C'mon Everybody and Let's Twist Again, the musical crackles with snappy dialogue and a unique nostalgic feel.  The script is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who penned the popular TV classics Shine on Harvey Moon, Birds Of A Feather and Goodnight Sweetheart.

Spanning the bridge between play and musical is the terrifically reviewed End Of The Rainbow at the Trafalgar Studios.  Featuring a bravura performance from Olivier Award winning Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland the play has had to be extended due to phenomenal public demand.  Set in December 1968 the play depicts Judy Garland in the months leading up to her death.  We see her preparing for yet another comeback as she is about to embark on an exhausting series of concerts at The Talk Of The Town, that she hopes will catapult her back into the public's hearts.  Despite a wrecked Hollywood career, failed marriages and an ongoing battle with alcohol and drugs, Judy remains compelling, defiant and spellbinding as ever, never losing her trademark spiky wit.  Although billed as a play the show features an onstage six piece orchestra, and Bennett performs a number of Garland's most recognisable hits such as Get Happy, For Me And My Gal, The Trolley Song and her signature song, Over The Rainbow.

Another new play that has opened to enthusiastic reviews is the revival of Terence Rattigan's Flare Path.  Directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Sienna Miller, James Purefoy and Sheridan Smith the production captures the angst, longing and heartache that was commonplace during the Second World War.  It is 1942 and in a hotel on the edge of an airfield in Lincolnshire, a young bomber named Teddy is reunited with his actress wife Patricia.  The arrival of Peter, a famous heartthrob film star, and the ordering of an urgent bombing mission over Germany leads to Patricia being torn between passion and loyalty.  The atmospheric play is by turns both comic and touching while planes flying overhead of the hotel punctuate the dangerous wartime backdrop and add a portentous sense of menace.  The Telegraph called Miller and Purefoy's performances "profoundly moving and wonderfully funny" and The Guardian praised Smith as "quite stunning".  The play is captivating audiences at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited run until 4th June.

These are just a few of the current shows that might tickle mum's fancy…if you can't decide on one of these or the others listed on our site, why not leave the decision in her hands.  London Theatre Direct vouchers will ensure that she has to spoil herself with an evening of decadence, but takes away the pressure of you getting the show wrong!   And why not make the evening extra special with a delicious pre-show meal?  A number of the shows on our site we have paired up with high quality restaurants just a stones-throw away from the theatre - check out our meal deal packages on the London Theatre Direct site for more details.

You know she deserves it!

[posted by James, 29/03/2011]


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