London has long been a bastion of culture, with a rich theatrical history including Shakespeare’s greatest masterpieces and otherworldly musicals. These are some of the shows that speak to the best of British culture, check out our guide to London theatre shows below and find out how you could save on theatre tickets with your London Pass!
This beloved Tony-award winning musical takes the Hollywood classic The Wizard of Oz and takes it for a spin. This touching prologue told from the perspective of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, revolves around how she changed from one of Oz’s most promising stars to storybook villain. Tackling themes like prejudice, compassion and friendship with laughter and tears, you’ll want to hang onto some tissues for the end of the first act and the iconic number Defying Gravity.
Brush up on your Disney knowledge and be prepared to sing along at this popular West End musical, which takes the classic film The Lion King to the stage. The stagecraft and costuming are stunning and ambitious, with seven foot elephants roaming the aisles and pride rock rising from the stage. Even the most cynical person will fall in love with this family-friendly musical.
Adapted from the horror novel of the same name, The Woman in Black is a spine-tingling experience not for the faint of heart. After a homeowner with an eccentric past dies, a young lawyer is sent to her eerie house to sort out their affairs and terror ensues as a deathly apparition begins to haunt him. There’s nothing that compares to sitting in a dark theatre, hearing the creak of a door as you hang onto the edge of your seat…
One of the new kids on the block, this musical takes the original Disney classic and switches it up from the stage. Expect all your favourite ballads – A Whole New World and carpet flights included – as well as a fast-talking genie, who drops pop culture references at lightning speed. A perfect family day out.
From the creators of South Park comes an unexpected musical, which follows two Mormon missionaries and their mishaps in war torn Africa. After Elder Price, the star of his class and one of the religion’s brightest sparks, and Elder Cunningham, the complete opposite, are paired together for an African mission, they find themselves having to deal with warlords, diseases and their own personal conflicts. (The music is way too catchy for its own good.)
Fans of La La Land simply must earmark this classic Gershwin musical when in the West End. Featuring some of George and Ira Gershwin’s best-loved music and lyrics, this award-winning Broadway musical has finally made its way to our shores and we are loving it. Telling a story of love, art and friendship after the war, set against the beautiful backdrop of Paris, the original film starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, which went on to win Best Picture in 1952!
It’s a classic story: a small-town girl comes to the big city with even bigger showbiz dreams, only to find the path to success harder than she thought. 42nd Street brings the infectious joy of Broadway to London with its main character Peggy Sawyer leading the way, accompanied by a high-kicking chorus and foot-tapping showtunes.
This play is the much-anticipated sequel to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and follows the next generation of wizards and witches, namely Harry and Draco’s sons. Written by Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, the show has been the talk of the town since it opened and its stagecraft and the way it brings spells to life are nothing short of magical. It’s a must for any London theatregoer – that is, if you can get tickets.
Get your dancing shoes on for this sparkly musical, where struggling shoemaker Charlie Price’s factory is given a second lease on life by a fabulous drag queen named Lola. Based on true events, Cyndi Lauper penned its upbeat score and it has since swept a number of Tonys since it first premiered in the US.
It doesn’t get more British than Roald Dahl and this charming adaptation of his story Matilda is easily one of the top five musicals in London. Matilda, a book-loving girl with a difficult family background, has her world forever changed by the arrival of her kind teacher Miss Honey and tyrant headmaster Miss Trunchbull. Just like its main character, the musical is bright, witty and full of warmth with a surprise round every corner.
Do you hear the people sing? Head to the Queen’s Theatre to see this stalwart of the London theatre scene, which has enchanted and devastated audiences for years. The musical is set during the lead-up to the French revolution and adapted from Victor Hugo’s literary epic of the same name, intertwining the lives of a thief, policeman, street rat, sheltered daughter and more in a complex web of love, fury and justice.