West End Hits: Our Countdown16 Jul 2018, by Uncategorised in
From classic musicals to boundary-breaking dance spectacles, the West End is becoming more diverse than ever. So what are the must-see shows playing the moment? Here’s our countdown of the top five productions you don’t want to miss – just click the arrow to read on…
5) Tapping the Boards: 42nd Street
The only “classic” in our list, this dazzling revival oozes glamour, sophistication, and style. The show tells a classic rags-to-riches story, charting Peggy Sawyer’s rather haphazard ascent to fame as she tap dances her way to the top spot in a Broadway show. “We’re in the Money” being its most famous song doesn’t quite do the show justice; the dances are mesmerising, inspiring many a young audience member to pick up a pair of tap shoes and run to the front of dance class. The tap dancing chorus are never a toe out of line, and they fill the stage with their resounding energy and talent. Their numerous costumes sparkle under the bright lights of their Broadway stage, in a show that will charm every audience member.
4) Defy Gravity: Wicked
An old one but a good one, Wicked will always remain a firm-favourite among West End fans. The show takes us over the rainbow, revealing the backstory of Elphaba and Glinda, the Witches of Oz. The musical will leave its audience – young and old – questioning what makes someone ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with its heartwarming, showstopping numbers. The dance routines are nothing short of spectacular, guiding the audience through their adventure in Oz with extravagance and elegance. Wicked boasts one of the most popular soundtracks, and the vocals demonstrated by the show’s leading ladies, currently Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans, take the performance to new heights.
3) Magic and Mischief: Matilda the Musical
Never a beat out of sync, the triple-threat children who take over the stage every night give West End veterans a run for their money. The staging is creative, energized and bright; the songs are a work of genius. Written by Tim Minchin in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, this sharply-witted comedy musical genuinely is fun for all the family. The music ranges from the melodic ‘When I Grow Up’ to the raucous, rioting number ‘Revolting Children’, all with fully choreographed dance sequences and ambitious solo routines. Roald Dahl’s beloved characters are brought to life by the diversely talented performers, and although Olivier-award-winning Bertie Cavel’s interpretation of Miss Trunchbull may seem hard to beat, each actor who dons that wig makes the role his own!
2) The American Sensation: Hamilton
After all the excitement coming over from the States, you would have to have been living under a rock to not have noticed the Hamilton hype surrounding the multiple Tony-award winning musical. Starring newcomer Jamael Westman, this hip hop musical charts the rise and fall of America’s “ten dollar founding father without a father”, Alexander Hamilton. The premise may sound a little dry, but the non-stop musical is anything but. Each dance number borrows from hip hop, contemporary, and commercial jazz, making you wish you were dancing right alongside the performers. The show celebrates diversity and inclusivity through its casting, by demonstrating that talent, not looks, should define who takes centre stage.
1) New Kid on the Block: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Dubbed ‘a new musical for today’, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie certainly doesn’t disappoint. Its fabulous, fast-paced numbers will have you dancing in your seat before you know it, and the staging is as dramatic as the eyeshadow. From lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, the show follows the life of Sheffiled-born Jamie. A boy who doesn’t quite fit the mold, Jamie attempts to navigate his way towards self-acceptance and stardom. With the help of his ever-supportive mother, Jamie breaks boundaries, fights prejudice, and manages to rid his life of bullies while stepping out into the spotlight. And all while dancing in a gorgeous pair of red high heels!
Author: Hannah Evans