How to chose the right theatre show in London

Something a bit different from my blog this week as I’m always being asked about theatre in London. There are so many shows on all the time in the West End and off West End, how can you chose the right one for you? Tickets are not cheap and you want to make sure that if you can only see one show that it really is the best. So, here are some handy headings to help you work through your choice and ideas about what’s on at the moment:


1. Star vehicles
Major high profile movie stars love the tread the boards in London and we’ve seen Jude Law, Gillian Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Radcliffe, Ewan McGregor, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (together!) and, going back a bit further – Nicole Kidman, Matt Damon and John Malkovitch, to name but a few. We often have the pleasure of seeing Kevin Spacey as he is the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre where he stars and directs. So you can usually find a show with a big name or two if that’s what you are after. Right now you can catch Kiera Knightley and Elizabeth Moss in The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre and about to open is Sienna Miller in Flare Path at the Theatre Royal. Matthew Fox is also about to open. So much to see!
2. Musicals
This one is straightforward and the London stage is full of good musicals. Your main choice will be around long running favourites such as Phantom of the Opera, the Lion King, Chicago. Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Billy Elliott or some newer kids on the block such as Legally Blonde or The Wizard of Oz and Love Never Dies (also know as Phantom part 2!). Musicals tend to be on for long runs so are often easier to book in advance if you are planning a visit but they are very popular so book as early as if you can!
3. Hot tickets.
There is always a buzz about new openings or the hot favourite in town. At the moment it’s Frankenstein at the National Theatre directed by Danny Boyle, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch who alternate the two lead roles each night! Tough to get tickets for but worth the effort. Hot tickets are usually for short runs so grab them fast and keep you eyes on the press for the next big thing.
4. Classics
There is always some Shakespeare to be found in London and really worth going to the Globe in the summer to see these performed in authentic surroundings. But other theatres offer the Bard and at the moment we have Twelfth Night at the National Theatre directed by Peter Hall and starring his daughter Rebecca. Classics can include Ibsen, Chekov, Wilde and Coward and currently we have Blithe Spirit (Coward) in preview. Always worth checking the National Theatre for ‘proper’ plays, serious and extremely high quality.
5. Off West End
There is a rich source of great theatre outside of the West End. Try these for interesting new plays and stars in the making as well as established actors. These theatres tend to have quite short runs but it is well worth checking them out and the best venues are: The Donmar (a personal favourite), The Almeida, The Bush Theatre (very small), The Lyric, Soho Theatre and the Young Vic.
For information on any of these shows or venues or to find listings try:
And of course some photos… Priscilla, The National Theatre, The Donmar and The Globe

Bye for now.