From the Apollo Victoria to the Queen’s Theatre, the glamour of London’s West End has been there for all to see stretching back many decades. With hundreds of shows by word-class playwrights, actors and set designers, choosing your favourite can be a lengthy, but enjoyable, task to have. Here we reflect on what has graced our stages and choose five absolute classic theatre shows you need to see.
Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic Phantom of the Opera celebrates a record-breaking 31 years on the stage.
It’s the highest grossing musical of all time and first wowed audiences back in 1989. It continues to combine a tragic love story with Webber’s mesmerising score and set design.
The multi-award winning musical tells the tale of a half masked, disfigured composer who lurks in the shadows of the Paris Opera House, only to be intoxicated by the beauty of his protégé.
The Woman in Black
Not for the faint-hearted, the terrifying Woman in Black has been rattling the bones of West End audiences since 1989.
It’s the second longest-running play in the West End and still makes for fantastic viewing, if you can handle a scare or two.
Based on the Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story the show is currently based in the Fortune Theatre. It’s set in a small English town where a malevolent ghost brings devastation to the lives of its inhabitants.
Les Misérables is the longest running musical in the world and has been viewed by more than 70 million people in 22 languages across 43 countries.
Still as popular in its 30th year, Les Misérables is a global sensation that’s set in the 19th-century and follows the story of an ex-convict turned mayor who is on the run from the law after he breaks parole.
The performers’ rendition of iconic anthems, such as I Dreamed a Dream, will lead a lasting mark.
With nearly 25,000 performances, The Mousetrap is the West End’s longest-running production and is still as entertaining as ever.
Enjoy fatal plot-twists with suspicious characters through this famously intricate storyline.
Dame Agatha Christie’s instantly recognisable style creates nail-biting suspense where murder lies around every corner.
Angus Jackson directs Williams Shakespeare’s epic political tragedy as it returns to the West End at the Barbican. Originally written in 1599, roman hero Julius Caesar returns from war to be met by a rebellion where his life, and power becomes under threat.
Packed full of drama, political backstabbing, thrilling action and betrayal follows the plot as the race to claim the empire spirals out of control.