29 Oct 2021

A Guide to the Best West End Theatre Shows

The West End is the arts and entertainment area based in the west of London. Leicester Square and Covent Garden are key areas of this world-famous theatre district. West End theatre shows tend to be big productions that attract audiences from all over the country!

There are around 38 theatres in London’s West End, each showing a different popular production. There’s a variety of productions to choose from, and the majority of them are musicals.

To find out about the must-see shows playing at theatres in London’s West End now, keep reading!

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New musicals

Back to the Future: The Musical

The background is mostly blue, with some red, and white lightning strikes in the top half. There's two white men (one elder with white hair, one younger with brown hair) standing in front of a red car on the left of the picture. There is white writing which reads 'It's time to change musical theatre history' at the top of the image, and orange and red writing in the middle which reads 'Back to the Future the Musical'
Credit: from the Adelphi Theatre page on LW theatres

Back to the Future: The Musical is now playing at one of the biggest theatres in London, the Adelphi Theatre. Go back to 1955 with Marty McFly and Doc Brown in a new musical adventure based on the popular Back to the Future films. Adapted by the creators of Back to the Future, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, this production is everything Back to the Future fans could want and more!

Since opening this production has received glowing reviews from critics and theatergoers. Don’t miss out on your chance to see this smashing new musical. Book your tickets to the popular production yesterday!

Cinderella

The Gillian Lynne Theatre, formerly known as the New London Theatre, is currently showing the new Cinderella musical. This romantic comedy is based on a story written by Oscar winner Emerald Fennell and has taken the West End by storm. So far, it’s been adored by both critics and fans!

Belleville is the most aggressively picturesque town in the history of the world. It’s a fairy tale town, and the only one who refuses to take part in the fantasy is the loud-mouthed Cinderella. With the legendary Andrew Lloyd Weber being responsible for the soundtrack, Cinderella is sure to be a musical that will get your toes tapping!

Popular musicals

Wicked

You’ve probably heard of the gravity-defying, popular Wicked musical. It’s one of those productions that all musical lovers plan to see one day. It’s currently running at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and is the 9th longest-running West End theatre show.

Wicked is a prequel to the world-famous Wizard of Oz film and tells the story of the witches and the wizard. It offers an intriguing back story to the famous cast of characters you thought you knew. This story includes a magical musical soundtrack that you’ll want to listen to on repeat.

Now it’s time to trust your instincts, close your eyes, and leap into the wonderful world of the Wicked musical!

Mama Mia

A snapshot of one of the West End theatre shows 'Mama Mia'. The image shows three women wearing blue and white standing in a line and singing into microphones while leaning back slightly. The woman in the front of the line has a purple feather boa wrapped around her head. There's a blue table with a bag, bottle, and mirror in front of them
Credit: from the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres gallery for the Mama Mia production

Mama Mia, how could we resist you? This brilliant story skilfully told through the music of ABBA is a musical must-see!

Set on a Greek island, Mama Mia is a story of love, friendship, and family, where heroine Sophie goes on a quest to discover her real father. This mind-blowing musical premiered in London over 21 years ago and is still very much in demand. It’s easy to see why!

Mama Mia is currently playing at the Novello Theatre. It’s one of the most well-known and popular West End theatre shows in London. Don’t miss out on your chance to see this iconic, family-friendly musical. If you want to feel the beat from the tambourine, book your tickets today!

West End theatre shows that aren’t musicals

Prima Facie

An advert for one of the West End theatre shows. The background is dark blue. To the left of the picture is a woman looking calm and wearing a white court-room wig with a red light shining on her. Overlapping this woman is a semi-opaque picture of the same woman screaming but lit up in blue. On the right large white writing reads 'Jodie Comer, Prima Facie, written by Suzie Miller, directed by Justin Martin, 15th April to 18th June 2022 Harold Pinter Theatre.'
Credit: from the Harold Pinter Theatre ‘Prima Facie’ page

The Harold Pinter Theatre is named after one of the most influential British playwrights of the last 100 years. The iconic venue has hosted many great West End theatre shows, including the first showing of The Rocky Horror Show in London. Now playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre is a brand-new production, Prima Facie.

Prima Facie is a one-woman show. In the show, the unexpected forces a young barrister to confront the lines between the patriarchal power of the law, the burden of proof, and morals. In this brand-new award-winning play, well-known actress Jodie Comer makes her West End debut!

If you’re looking for a hard-hitting and intriguing new play, check out Prima Facie. It’s only on for a limited season (ending in June 2022), so don’t miss out on your opportunity to see it. Book your tickets today!

The Play That Goes Wrong

A snapshot of the west end theatre show The Play That Goes Wrong. In this image to the right there is a man in a purple blazer lying a green leather look sofa, with his eyes open. To the left of him is a  man in a white and blue striped blazer leaping forwards with his left hand stretched out in front of him. There are around 11 people behind this leaping man watching in shock.
Credit: from the Duchess Theatre official page for The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong is a popular humorous play currently running in the Duchess Theatre. This side-splitting comedy has been described as something like Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off!

In The Play That Goes Wrong, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society decides to put on a 1920s murder mystery. Of course, as the name suggests, things definitely do not go to plan. The accident-prone cast must battle through a series of setbacks and incidents to get to that final curtain call.

This hilarious production is so hysterical, it even won the Best New Comedy award at the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2015. If you’re looking for a play that’s going to have you crying with laughter, then book your tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong now!

The Mousetrap

An advert for the west end theatre show 'The Mousetrap'. The image has a black and wood effect background. In what looks like orange neon lights, there is written in the middle of the image 'Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap'. Underneath this it says 'Have Youdunnit?' in white writing.
Credit: from the official The Mousetrap production page

The Mousetrap is a murder mystery by Agatha Christie, and it’s become an iconic West End theatre show currently running at St Martin’s Theatre. It’s famous around the world for being the longest-running show in the history of British theatre!

Set in a country house cut off by snow, a group of friends are horrified to discover that there’s a murderer in their midst. One by one we learn more about suspicious characters, until the final nerve-wracking moment when the identity and motive of the killer are uncovered. This thrilling story of suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

If you’re a fan of murder mysteries and thrillers and want to watch something that will keep you on your toes, book your tickets to The Mousetrap today!

Classic musicals

Les Mis

A snapshot from the west end theatre show Les Mis. The image shows a man wearing a scruffy red and brown jacket with a worn yellow t-shirt. The man has dark hair and a beard, and is holding his hand to his chest.
Credit: from the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres’ gallery for the Les Mis production

Can you hear the people sing? If not, you might still need to book tickets to the classic Les Mis musical! Based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis is a historic musical set during the 19th Century in France. This heart-wrenching production is currently playing at the Sondheim Theatre!

The story follows ex-convict Jean Valjean, who’s imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. Once released he is hunted by his rival and ex-guard, Javert. This tense and in parts tear-jerking musical is the perfect period drama for musical theatre fans!

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera is another production with music by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s currently running at Her Majesty’s Theatre, a popular venue with a historic auditorium that fits around 1,200 people.

Phantom of the Opera is a haunting love story set in the Paris Opera House. Here hides the phantom, shamed, and feared for his appearance. When the phantom falls in love with his protégée Christine Daaé, things get complicated.

With a beautifully built set, breath-taking special effects, and a hauntingly good soundtrack, Phantom of the Opera is a musical you won’t want to miss!

The Lion King

A lit-up white sign with gold writing that reads 'Lyceum Theatre'

The Lion King, now playing at the Lyceum Theatre, is a brilliant production based on a popular Disney film. Set in the Serengeti Plains, this spectacular musical tells the story of the lion Simba on his journey to becoming King of the Pridelands.

With a fantastic soundtrack, fun range of special effects, and stunning set and costume design, it’s easy to see why The Lion King has been running for almost 22 years! This world-famous production has been seen by over 65 million theatre fans globally and is a strong West End favourite. Book your tickets to this exciting musical extravaganza today!

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