It’s always sad to see when a show posts a closing notice or a show that is only running for a limited run looms nearer its final performances, but it’s even sadder to see this happen to fantastic shows that really seem to shape the West End with their presence.
This is a funny situation with the shows that we’re talking about today: SHOWSTOPPER is a musical that changes every single night because it’s entirely improvised so it’s the show’s concept that makes it what it is; MISS SAIGON ran for almost two decades not too long ago in the West End so it’s strange to think that this show can define the West End once again; GYPSY is a musical that hasn’t been seen on the West End in over 40 years so it’s strange to have seen it stand out with such success in a modern revival of the musical with shows like Kinky Boots and Bend It Like Beckham playing with such great success, for example. I think it’s fascinating to see that three different shows can all represent London theatre so fantastically and that all of their timelines have converged together at the same time to make a theatre scene so diverse that it makes me proud to call myself a frequenter of the West End.
Let’s start by talking about SHOWSTOPPER and why you have to see this show before it leaves the Apollo Theatre on November 29th. I saw this show just after it started performances at the Apollo back in September with my friend Chaya who actually saw the show this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe. She said it was hilarious and because we bond so well over humour because we both find the same things funny, I trusted her opinion and by heck am I glad that I did. The show was genuinely laugh out loud funny from start to finish, be it the jokes they were making or the references they made to popular musicals; it was fantastic. The concept is great as well: the host for the evening asks the audience to come up with ideas of musicals to inspire the music, places to inspire the setting, story points to inspire the plot and of course, the all important title. The night we saw the show, it was called ‘Poke Me’ and followed the story of a man and woman finding love through speed dating in South America, with musical influences like The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Company and Hairspray. It was fantastic.
Now for arguably two of the best shows currently running on the West End that I can’t believe we will have said goodbye to in the not-so-distant future. One of my top five favourite musicals of all time GYPSY landed back on the West End for its first major London revival in history and with Imelda Staunton at the helm, it is obviously an incredible production. I was delighted to hear of its West End run because I was planning on heading down to see it at the Chichester Festival Theatre where it started its life, but I live so near to London so this journey was so much more practical. This production is beyond incredible and every single cast member brings this classic piece of Broadway theatre to life in such a classy and modern way. I adore it and truly think it might be some of the best musical theatre I have ever had the pleasure of going to see. If you’re a fan of classic, brassy Broadway musicals then you seriously cannot miss this before its season ends on November 28th – I’ll be there again on Wednesday the 25th so make sure to say hello if you see me!
Finally, we have to talk about this major revival of my favourite musical of all time which goes by the name of MISS SAIGON. The revival started its run at the start of Summer 2014 and on February 27th, the show will close its doors at the Prince Edward to make way for Disney’s ALADDIN to come in afterwards. The tale follows the story of Kim and her finding love in an American man during the Vietnam War and the repercussions that follow. It’s a gorgeous tale of love and devotion set to a dramatic and vast backdrop of beauty and it is, in my opinion, the best musical running on the West End at the moment. I’ve already seen this production three times and I plan on seeing it at least once more before I put my bum to seat at the final performance on the evening of Saturday February 27th. If you haven’t caught it yet, go and see it before it takes its final flight – I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Have you seen any of these shows yet, and do you plan on seeing them again/for the first time before they end their runs? What did you think of them? Tweet me @shaunycat and @theatre_direct to let me know your thoughts!
Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.