Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Days 81-83: London's West End

The Harold Pinter theatre, playing 'Mojo'
I'm writing this on the train heading back from London. We've been going for about two hours and it'll be another four until I get back into St. Andrews, which leaves me lots of time to blog about the past week(end). 

I've decided to blog about London in three separate chunks: theatre, doctor who, and sightseeing. Instead of going through a list of what I did each day, I'll post about about each of those categories and hopefully my "story" will make more sense. 

I'll start with theatre, because I want to post these as soon as possible and the other categories will involve far too many photos which I don't feel like editing just yet. So, without further ado, what shows did I see in London?

Before going to London, I knew the West End had lots of good theatre. I just didn't realize that "lots" meant "more than you could see in one trip even if you saw two a day." It seems like every street corner has a theatre, each playing what claims to be London's best musical.

The magic word in the West End is 'day tickets.' Most of the theatres sell greatly reduced front row tickets if you show up at the box office the day of the show. While the front row can involve some slightly uncomfortable angles, being so close to the actors is just amazing.

The first show I saw, on Thursday afternoon, was Mojo, starring Rupert Grint, Ben Wishaw, and Colin Morgan. The play was really dark and gritty and didn't make an awful lot of sense (I still don't know what the plot really was, and I've been thinking about it for a few days) but the acting was phenomenal. Plus, I only paid ten pounds for front row seats, which put me just five feet away from some of my favourite actors.

On Thursday night I saw Les Mis, where I was completely blown away by the vocals. Unfortunately, that theatre didn't do day tickets, so I ended up just buying twenty pound tickets in the back corner of the theatre. The sound was still amazing, and their set (a revolving stage) was so cool, but I did miss being able to see the performer's faces. Still, the strong point of Les Mis is the music, and it certainly delivered.

'Wicked' had a super cool stage-- the dragon above it
moved around and breathed smoke!
Finally, on Saturday I bought thirty pound front row seats for the Wicked matinee. I had the soundtrack for the play on my computer, and I knew the general premise (the untold story of the witches of Oz) but I didn't really know the ins and outs of the plot, so I really enjoyed actually hearing the story for the first time. I'm not quite sure what I think about the musical's moral views, but the show has a great concept that was well executed. While the vocals weren't quite as strong (in my opinion) as in Les Mis, the set, the acting, and the energy made for a truly fantastic show.

Wicked's curtain, with a lovely map of Oz.
So. I've just seen three shows in one weekend, but I've still barely scratched the surface of what the West End has to offer. The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera.... So many big name musicals, and many others. Also, in January, the Royal Shakespeare Company's 'Richard II' (starring David Tennant) moves to London, and Coriolanus (starring Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss) opens, so I shall definitely be returning for another round of London theatre.

1 comment:

  1. The person who doesn't care even though she is stuck on this island, because she gets to see Les Mis in Toronto so I guess that is good enoughNovember 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    I don't care.