Despite the theatreland blackout in the West End of March this year, with more empty theatres than ever before, the spring season is looking strong with lots of new openings. As a die-hard theatre goer I am often first off the mark with getting (bargain) tickets when shows are announced. The spring season is also looking particularly strong for celebrities, which can add a certain level of glam to a show (we’re talking performances from Ralph Fiennes, Billie Piper and James McAvoy) or can make a potential flop bearable (Matthew Perry, Lindsay Lohan, I’m looking at you).
Here are my picks for spring 2016 and a couple of tips for getting your tickets and enjoying your evening:
Sunset Boulevard, London Coliseum
Starring Glenn Close, this remake of the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 90’s hit has been getting rave reviews. If you like an all-singing, all-dancing, beautifully staged, being ‘hit by a singing tank’ kinda musical (or grew up in the 90s when Close played Cruella Devil in 101 Dalmatians…) this is for you. I got tickets to a preview night and I thought it lived up to the hype – I even got shivers when Close performed ‘With One Look’, which hasn’t happened since I saw ‘Defying Gravity’ in Wicked. I got my tickets in person from the London Coliseum box office for £12. They were in the balcony but weren’t too bad but in hindsight I should have gone for the £20 tickets. If you have time to pop in the staff are very helpful and will patiently go through every evening until they find available tickets for your budget, you can also order over the phone or on line but you will be charged a booking fee.
Frankenstein (Ballet), Royal Opera House
Based on the gothic novel by Mary Shelly, the world premiere by the Royal Ballet’s artist in residence, Liam Scarlett opens in London’s Covent Garden on Wednesday 4th May and I’m super excited. Since moving to London, a trip to the ballet has become one of my favourite evening activities and there is no better place to visit than the Royal Opera House. People assume that going to the ballet will break the bank – and if you want to sit in the stalls than you are looking at £110 per ticket! However, a little known fact is that the Royal Opera House offers tickets from just £5 to EVERY performance. I recommend going for the lower slips in the amphitheatre which are around £15 each. The Royal Opera House also does an AMAZING student scheme which is free to join. On Saturday 7th May, every seat in the house is reserved for students with tickets starting at an incredible £1. There will also be a live screening of Frankenstein across the country on the 18th May for those unable to attend in person and students can get two tickets for £10.
Guys and Dolls, The Phoenix
Guys and Dolls is set to be the new West End revival, premiering at The Savoy before transferring to the Phoenix it is currently booking until October 2016. The show was nominated for SIX Oliver Awards but what excites me most about this production is that the choreography is by the INCREDIBLE, now retired Cuban ballet star, Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright (winner of Best Choreographer at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2013). I managed to pick up tickets back in February for £15 from Timeout so it’s definitely worth shopping around to see if you can find any bargains.
Dinner tip – FlatIron on Demark Street does incredible steak for just £10! Arrive before 6pm to be sure of a table and dinner before the show starts.
Romeo and Juliet, The Garrick
Everyone knows Will Shakespeare’s classic tale of star crossed lovers but starring Downton Abbey’s Lily James and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden –possibly two of the most beautiful young actors on the scene at moment – and directed by Kenneth Branagh, this show is not to be missed! It has a limited period running from the 12th May until 13th August but £17.50 tickets are still available to some performances at LoveTheatre (don’t forget your Quidco cashback). Go, go, go! I have a feeling this will be a sell-out. For those of you not in London there is a live screening across the country on 18th May.
Dinner tip – avoid Leicester Square unless you want overpriced, over-busy restaurants. Bryon Burger, Bill’s and Carluccios are all within a 5 minute walk of the theatre so book a table in advance and sign up to their newsletter to be emailed discounts.
Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre
Who isn’t looking forward to Aladdin opening on 27th May?! If it’s anything like the award winning Disney’s The Lion King it’s going to be INSANELY GOOD. Rehearsals may have just started but tickets went on sale last autumn and though it hasn’t yet sold out, they were very popular. If like me, you haven’t yet got tickets (I know, boo L) I recommend holding on until the post Christmas sales and going in January when theatres are quiet if you want a bargain or trying your luck getting reduced tickets on the day.
Dinner tip – located in the heart of Soho you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a dinner location. My choices would be Mildred’s, Shroyu or Burger and Lobster – if you have any money left after purchasing tickets, of course!
What will your next theatre trip be?