#FOMO London theatre - Five stunning West End shows to see
And a few off- West End venues totally worth visiting when in London.
When I first moved to London I had just graduated from university and was doing an internship, only paying for my very basic needs, meaning I was fairly poor! A quality seat at a West End theatre show, meanwhile, costs a bit more than what "basic needs" would cover in London.
So for months every day I would take the tube back home and miserably look at those glamorous posters all over the station, inviting me to see yet another spectacular show I couldn't afford. You can almost hear the opening song of the poor girl with big dreams who has just arrived in the big city... Anyway, dramatic entrance aside, that's where my #fomo on London theathres was really activated and I promised myself the day I start earning a decent salary, I would see every show I want to see in this city!
And I meant it, and I did it. In the eight years I spent in London, I couldn't go to every festival, food market, pop up bar, museum or gallery I may have wanted to, but I saw every play and musical that was on my bucket list.
This is my list of must-see West End shows and some other pretty amazing theartes worth visiting in London.
The Lion King
Photo credit: Disney official logo
The Lion King musical is an explosion of colour, music, dancing and astonishing costumes. It is one of the most visually pleasing theatrical experiences I have ever had and it is virtually impossible for anyone not to enjoy this breath-taking production.
The musical has been on the West End for more than 20 years now and is unsurprisingly still one of London's best-selling shows.
Photo credit: Cameron Mackintosh Ltd
Do you hear the people cry, crying like they have just seen Les Mis? This phenomenal theatrical experience left me in tears and singing "One Day More" for weeks.
The story is already beautifully told in the book and of course played in the film production, but hearing those songs sung emotionally on stage is such a powerful experience that only a live performance can bring to you.
The longest- running West End musical was revamped at the start of 2020 as a new production with a changed cast, but is evidently as amazing as always.
The Phantom of the Opera
Photo credit: The Really Useful Group
Another long-running show that can give you goosebumps just after hearing a few notes played by the masterful orchestra.
One of West End's true masterpieces, The Phantom of the Opera keeps up with its reputation with lavish sets and costumes and of course music that is out of this world.
Matilda the Musical
Photo credit: The Royal Shakespeare Company
A great example of how a favourate children's book and movie can be beautifully turned into an on-stage musical that is certain to bring such joy to you whether you are a child or an adult.
In Matilda the Musical, the story of the amazingly clever girl who adores books is just as cleverly combined with fantastic songs, beautiful sets and impeccable acting.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
A visually breathtaking spin-off of the favorite story set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. You can see parts one and two on the same day or different days to extend the magical experience.
Trouble is tickets are really hard to get but if you manage you are in for a lot of un-muggle fun! (Click here for more Harry Potter-themed activities in London!)
So much choice!
That's far from all and walking around West End's Theatreland you are likely to be completely blown away by the choice of shows to see.
Other West- End classics that I have seen are Wicked and Mamma Mia! - both among the best-selling London shows and for a reason.
I also look forward to seeing Hamilton in August - fingers crossed that all theathres will have safely reopened by then. I have been trying to get tickets for that show literally since it arrived in London in December 2017, but it's been impossible. I can't wait to find out what all the fuss is about :)
Off - West End theatre experiences
Photo Credit: The Vaults official
There is so much more to the world of London theatre than West End though.
From the grand Royal Opera House where you can see some world-class opera and ballet performances to the Vaults of London, hidden in the underground world of Waterloo Station where alternative arts come to life.
There are also amazing independent not-for-profit theatres, such as The Old Vic, where you can find much cheaper tickets (I wish I knew about that when I first arrived in London!). That is also a great way for you to give back to your local area, support young actors and ultimately be part of a good cause as these theartes often function as charities.
And then of course there is the cultural landmark that is Shakespeare's Globe. Even though it is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, it won't fail to take you back to those Shakespearean days with its stunning architecture inside and out, classic plays and incredible costumes.
So whether you feel like a world-class ballet performance while enjoying a glass of expensive wine or seeing an alternative remake by student actors playing at a converted garage place, London will have you covered. Because theathre is the beating heart of London and will be your most unforgettable reminder that you are in one of the best cities in the world.