If I had one complaint about London theatre, it's that it doesn’t always come cheap. This means I don’t get to see everything I’d like to, what with having to pay a mortgage, buy food, that kind of thing. In an ideal world, I’d go and see pretty much everything at least once, with a few rare exceptions. But since that’s not an option – at least until I become a millionaire - here are 10 West End productions I hope to catch in 2015.
The Old Favourites
Les Misérables – It’s been over a year since I last saw Les Mis, and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. This epic story of redemption and love against a backdrop of revolution is one of my all-time favourite shows, and I can’t wait to see it again.
The Lion King – I’ve always found this show very difficult to describe and adequately express how amazing it is. ‘People pretending to be animals’ somehow doesn’t sound quite as cool as I want it to. But if you love the Disney movie, or you just want to feel like a kid for a couple of hours, to laugh and cry, cheer and boo, The Lion King is not to be missed. I’ll see you there.
Once – having read the reviews, I’m starting to put aside my doubts about Ronan Keating in the lead role of Once, and I hope to squeeze in a third visit to this brilliant musical before it closes in March. Once is completely original and perfect in its simplicity, as well as featuring some seriously great songs by the brilliant Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, two of my favourite musicians.
The ‘I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Seen That Yet’s
War Horse – I know, I know. I can’t believe it either. Everyone I know who’s seen War Horse has told me how brilliant it is, and it’s won a ton of awards, so I don’t know why I haven’t got there yet. Perhaps it’s because I know I’ll cry buckets at this tale of a boy and his beloved horse, separated by the horrors of World War One. But then again, I made it through the emotional trauma of Miss Saigon, so now I feel like I can pretty much handle anything.
Matilda The Musical – This has been on my list for ages, and I’m determined to see it this year. I grew up reading Roald Dahl's books, and will always love his larger-than-life characters and brilliantly random plots. So I really want to see the stage adaptation of this inspiring story about a young girl who decides to take her destiny into her own hands and break free of her horrible, lonely life.
Mousetrap – the world’s longest-running play, by Agatha Christie. It’s been going for 60 years, and I still haven’t managed to see it yet. Which is odd, because I actually love a good murder mystery, even though I’m always hopeless at figuring out whodunnit. Mostly I'm impressed that all the millions of people who've seen the play over the years haven't revealed the killer's identity. It seems about time I got in on the secret.
The New Arrivals
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – as a Spanish graduate, I remember enjoying Pedro Almodovar’s classic movie when I was at university. I also spent some time living in Madrid, where it’s set, so I’m intrigued to see how they’ve adapted the film and the location for the London stage. And I’m also a fan of Tamsin Greig, who’s making her musical theatre debut in the show. So it's going on the list.
The Ruling Class – I’ll be honest and admit that the main attraction here is James McAvoy; I’m a little bit in love with him, but so far I’ve never managed to see him on stage. (I can’t believe I missed Macbeth.) Having said that, the play itself, a satirical comedy by Peter Barnes, sounds like something I’d enjoy whoever was in it. Mr McAvoy is just a bonus.
The Scottsboro Boys – I’ve just heard this is closing soon, and I really want to see it while I have the chance. It’s based on a true story about nine black teenagers falsely accused of rape in 1930s Alabama, and sounds like something that will simultaneously inspire and enrage me (always a fun combination), in much the same way that Twelve Angry Men did at the same theatre a few months ago.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games – I’m a bit surprised to find myself including this in the list, since it’s never really occurred to me to go and see Michael Flatley or Lord of the Dance before. But having heard good things from a friend who’s seen the show, and been weirdly fascinated by a performance they gave on TV recently, I’m quite tempted to check it out, if only because it’s something a bit different.
So there we have it. Of course my real wish list is much, much longer, and I’m already thinking of shows I’ve missed out. But hey, you have to start somewhere.
What’s on your list for 2015?
By Liz Dyer
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