While I’m here in London, I ‘ve tried to see as many shows as I possibly can. Growing up twenty minutes north of Manhattan, I learned to love the theater and Broadway from a young age. Unfortunately, I am not talented enough to be on the stage, i.e. I can’t sing or dance or act, so I just love theater from my seat in the audience. So, when I had access to some of the best shows in the world only a twenty-minute tube ride away, I knew I had to make the most of my time here in London.
Here is a ranking of all of the shows that I saw in London. (Disclaimer: I loved all the shows so this was very difficult to do, and I would recommend seeing each and every one of them if you get the chance! Also, this review is based on overall experience, not just the show!)
7. In last place sadly, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Now I loved this show, I saw it with my sister when she came to visit, and we had an amazing time. The show is incredible, and though it was a long day since we saw both
Part 1 and Part 2 back-to-back, it was really amazing. What was not so amazing were the seats. Our seats were fairly high up since tickets were so expensive and I had the unfortunate luck to sit behind a man who had the largest head in the entire world. Sadly, this meant that I was leaning to one side for the entirety of both performances. On top of this, the seats in the theater were very small and tightly packed, probably the worst seats of any of the shows that I have been to here. For these reasons, it is sadly my least favorite.
6. The Great British Bake Off
I loved this show. I saw this with a few friends for a class I’m taking about theater in London, and it was overall just very, very sweet (Pun intended). If you are a fan of the television show, you will love it, if you aren’t, you might just like it. I was skeptical about how they were going to give the show enough heart and drama considering the premise of the television show is pretty peppy without a lot of depth, but I was pleasantly surprised by the performance. It’s an ensemble cast but with one girl I would consider the “main character,” and although you don’t get too deep, you do get to hear from each contestant and by the end of the show, you’re just walking out with a smile on your face. And a cupcake in your hand because they sell cupcakes at the theater, obviously.
5. Phantom of the Opera
This was a show I had always wanted to see, so when tickets went on sale, I knew I had to go. Now, my mom told me that this show was so boring when she saw it on Broadway that she fell asleep halfway through. While I would not call the show boring, I do kind of get what she meant. The songs are long and operatic (duh) so if you are not interested in that style of singing or can’t pay attention, I could see someone getting lost or bored. But what were pretty amazing were the special effects. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil you if you do decide to see the show, but it had my gasping at times and staring in disbelief at what was happening on stage. It’s also cool that the show is set in a theater, because you feel like you’re there with the characters in a haunted theater in London, because you kind of are… Anyway, the show was really good in my opinion, a heartbreaking love story with absolutely beautiful sets and costumes and even better singing.
Sylvia is a new show that I also saw for my theater class, and it was a surprise hit for me. It follows the suffragette movement through Sylvia Pankhurst’s eyes. The show is very moving and comparable to Hamilton with its music style and historical fiction musical genre. One of the other Hamilton-esque aspects of the show is that it is mostly a Black cast, despite the fact that Pankhurst was a white woman. Overall, the show was
incredibly moving, empowering, and just cool with its simple set design and costumes but absolutely beautiful performances.
I. Loved. Six. I’m sure you have heard of Six by now as it was a viral sensation on TikTok a few months ago, but I can assure you it is worth the hype. The style of the show is pretty unique in its format, with the six women playing the wives being the entire cast and remaining on stage the entire show. It’s more of a girl-boss concert medley more than anything else. The show was shorter than I expected but in hindsight, it really didn’t need a longer runtime. The songs were obviously amazing, I was singing them for days after the show, and overall, it was just a really fun feel-good show.
This show was incredible. My performance as it turns out was pretty unique because a few hours before the show, they didn’t have anyone to play the green Heather because a lot of the cast had fallen sick. Because of that, a girl who had only just joined the company came in and learned the lines and spacing for the entire show hours before going on. Because of that alone, I was very impressed with the cast and the performances. For those of you who don’t know the show, it can be dark and triggering
at times, but remains hilarious and fun the rest of the time. The show is amazing and definitely one you have to see.
And finally, tied for first: Les Miserables and The Book of Mormon
I could not pick a favorite, so I am doing my favorite for drama, Les Miserable and my favorite for comedy, The Book of Mormon.
Les Miserables was incredible, like I knew it was going to be. The music was spectacular, the acting was insanely good, and the sets were jaw dropping. I would 100000000% see this show again and again for as long as my heart hold out because it was very sad (obviously it’s called “The Miserable”) but amazing. It helped that I had a very good seat for this show, fourth row middle so I had very few distractions and felt like I was right there with the characters. My one complaint would be that a was confused for a few seconds because the race of Cosette and Eponine switched from the child actors to the adult actors which did pull me out of the story for a minute, but other than that, the show was absolutely perfect.
The Book of Mormon was the most surprising show for me because I expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to love it. I was laughing the entire time, more than I had laughed in months to be frank. It was so much more than I expected it to be, but that might be on
me for having low expectations. We also had great seats for this show, I was in the front row with my parents when they came to visit and aside from a few *awkward* scenes, we had a really, really great time. It had so much silliness and heart and we walked out of the theater feeling really good. It was an incredible show that I would absolutely see again in the future.