Shows to see this October half term
Posted on 17 October 2023
Trick or Treat? Weird Barbie or Oppenheimer for Halloween? Pumpkin or cinnamon spiced candle? There’s a reason why they call October spooky season, because for those of us who suffer with indecision, the fear of missing out is real! When the October Half Term rolls around, we're left wondering - just how are we going to spend the holidays?
Fear not, we've handpicked a selection of the West End’s best shows that will suit the whole family. Whether you have big kids, little ones, or a mix of both, there is something for everyone this October Half Term. So, light a candle (sorry, we can’t help you decide which one) grab your blanket, and unwind as we guide you through the very best of the sows to see this Half Term.
1. Crazy For You
The classic musical comedy written by Ken Ludwig with music and lyrics by Gershwin and Gershwin, is the perfect pick for Strictly fans. The fab-u-lous theatrical spectacle is jam packed with high-octane dances that would leave Craig Revel-Horwood reaching for his 10 paddle!
Charlie Stemp (Half A Sixpence, Mary Poppins) stars as Bobby Child, a young banker torn between his dancing dreams and his and fiancée's demands. Enamoured by the local theatre, Bobby longs to join the performers on the stage, however his mother and fiancé demand that he continues the family tradition and work at the family bank in New York. His two worlds collide when he’s sent to Nevada to foreclose on a dilapidated Victorian theatre. It is here, hundreds of miles away from his fiancé, that he meets the woman of his dreams, the theatre owner’s daughter, Polly (Carly Anderson), and where his own personal drama begins.
Filled with sequins, feathers and beautiful ballgowns, Crazy For You is an ode to old Hollywood glamour, that will leave the whole family dancing the whole way home (sorry kids!)
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman’s touching tale of childhood, magic, and memory takes you on an unforgettable trip to the ocean at the end of the lane. Travelling back to his childhood home, a man bumps into his old neighbour and relives an extraordinary friendship with a remarkable young girl he can no longer remember. Lettie Hempstock.
Lettie is not the typical girl next door; her family aren’t typical either. Possessed with a deep knowledge of the supernatural and mythical beings, the Hempstock’s introduce the boy to a series of fantastical, if perilous, adventures. With Lettie's guidance, the boy must confront the malevolent forces that have been awakened, but can the once shy and reserved boy tackle the frightening challenges head-on?
Filled with breathtaking illusions, puppetry, and perhaps a touch of real-life magic, The Ocean at the End of the Lane will leave the whole family spellbound.
3. MAMMA MIA!
Whether you’re a dancing queen of 17 or 70, MAMMA MIA! is the feel-good show for the entire family. Bursting with 23 ABBA songs, this sunny slice of self-discovery, is sure to brighten up the dark October skies.
Sophie is busy planning her wedding to her true love, Sky. The dress is picked, the flowers are plucked, but there is one thing missing: a dad to walk her down the aisle. After discovering three potential fathers in her mother’s diary, Sophie decides to hedge her bets and invites all of them to her special day. Soon Harry, Sam and Bill arrive on the small Greek island keen to reconnect with their (potential) daughter. Will Sophie work out who her father is before the wedding march starts?
The unstoppable feel-good musical has captured the hearts of millions since its West End premiere in 1999. Find out why the musical has people screaming Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie more!
4. Mrs Doubtfire
A whirlwind of impressions, prosthetics and laughter, Mrs Doubtfire is a fresh faced, fast paced romp for all ages.
Adapted from the cult 1993 film, Mrs Doubtfire follows the divorce of Daniel and Miranda and the childcare issues that come from it. Sure, the basis doesn’t scream laugh out loud comedy, but as Mrs Doubtfire can attest, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
After losing custardy at the divorce hearings, voice actor Daniel Hillard does the obvious, and disguises himself as an old Scottish nanny named Euphegenia Doubtfire. Daniel's deception, created with the help of his makeup artist brother Frank, is his only shot at spending time with his three children. As he gets lost in his new character, he also grows closer to his kids than he ever was before and he learns more about how to be a father than he ever anticipated. But how long will his charade last before he gets exposed?
Frozen has had audiences under its icy spell since its West End debut two years ago, and it shows no signs of letting go!
Adapted from one of the most successful animated films of all time, Disney’s Frozen features all the original hits that made the 2013 animation the from the cult classic that it is today. In addition to “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” “Love Is An Open Door” and “Let It Go”, the musical also boasts new favourites from the Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter and lyricists Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
Turning tired tropes on their head, this is not a traditional love story. There are no pining princesses or rushed royal weddings here. When Elsa loses control over her magical powers, the kingdom of Arendelle is plunged into an ice-cold winter and the newly crowned queen seeks solace in isolation. Anna, determined to bring back summer and mend her relationship with her sister, embarks on a quest with the help of an ice harvester named Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven, and a magical snowman named Olaf. Together, they journey through the icy wilderness to find Elsa, and return Arendelle back to luscious land it once was.
6. Back to the Future
Did you know, that if Back to the Future was set today Marty would travel back to 1993! Now that’s heavy.
Everybody’s favourite skateboarding sci-fi comedy (admittedly, there aren’t loads of those around…) recently celebrated its second year in the West End. Winner of the Best New Musical at last year’s Olivier Award’s, Back to the Future has been delighting audiences of all ages, whether they were lucky enough to experience the classic 1985 film on the big screen, found it a few decades later on Amazon Prime or have never seen it before.
Join Marty as he crash lands in 1955, following an impromptu ride in a DeLorean turned time machine assembled by his BFF, and mad scientist, Doc Brown. Here he finds himself face to face with his teenage aged parents. Which causes confusion, embarrassment, and the potential destruction of the universe as we know it. Desperate to flee back to 1985, Marty must convince his parents to fall back in love. However, when his dad can barely utter a coherent sentence to Lorainne (his future mum), and with his future mum seemingly having the hots for someone else (worryingly, therapy inducingly, it’s him) things go from bad to worse. Can Marty play matchmaker to his parents, or will his chances of going back to the present go up in smoke?
This electric musical is filled with heart, humour and state of the art effects. Now make like a tree and book your tickets yesterday.
7. The Little Big Things
Adapted from Henry Fraser’s Sunday Times best-selling autobiography of the same name, The Little Big Things is perfect for the big kids. A tale of acceptance, determination and hope, this breathtaking and bitingly funny musical, encourages its audience to celebrate the little things in life. Because ‘it’s the little things that make the big things real’
When a single moment shatters reality as they know it, Henry's family finds themselves torn between a past they can no longer recognise and a future they could never have anticipated. A holiday go’s disastrously wrong for the Fraser brothers when an accident at sea changes their lives forever. Henry, a Rugby prodigy, now must face his new life as a teenage tetraplegic.
The basis of the musical may not seem like a barrel of laughs, but humour punches through every scene. Henry may have undergone a traumatic experience, but he isn’t going to let it change him, or how others may perceive him. This uplifting new musical is a real tonic for our times.
8. Noises Off
Recommended for ages 12+, this fast-paced farcical comedy is seriously silly. When backstage drama overspills onto the stage, a hapless touring company fails to stick to the script, leaving disaster and destruction in their wake.
Noises Off follows the rehearsal, opening night, and final performance of the production ‘Nothing On,’ a raunchy new play. However, the most entertaining, and vocal, drama takes place backstage. Actors fall in and out of love, bitter jealousy runs rife, and friendships are tested, however they are all determined that the show must go on.
Everything goes hilariously wrong in this play within a play, which makes it so right for an unforgettable evening of funny, family, entertainment.
When is half term 2023/24?
Half-term dates vary across the UK for different schools; however, they generally tend to fall during the same months. The October half term tends to fall in the last week of the month, the February half term falls in the middle of the month, and the summer half term begins at the end of May. You can find your child’s half-term and holiday dates on your local council’s website.
Half-term theatre tickets in London
Half term presents the perfect chance to make the most of exclusive prices and favourite family classics. To see our extensive list of family productions click here.