London Theatre: is it all Musicals?

By: Msmith

The West End is often most famous for its musicals; those grand extravaganzas of singing, dancing, high drama and rambunctious fun. Is there anything else to find there though? Everybody is different; it's what makes the world most interesting, and everyone's tastes are different, so musicals aren't going to be everybody's favourite cup of tea.

Not to worry though, London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, it has almost everything you could ever want at almost any time of the day and it's West End is one of the most active theatre scenes in the world: of course it has more than musicals.

There is in fact a wide range of straight theatre dramas on offer in London, some of the longest running shows on the West End are traditional dramas.

Longest running of all is the Mousetrap, the dramatisation of one of Agatha Chritsie's most famous detective novels. Mousetrap has been running for an epic 60 years from the Ambassador's theatre, drawing the audience through all the twists and turns of a classic murder mystery and leading them to deduce their own conclusions to the mystery.

Another of the longest running shows is The Woman In Black, a horror and one of the most chilling experiences you will ever see as an audience. The Woman In Black is the show to really prove the power of the theatre, the immediacy, the overpowering of the senses and the ingenious stagecraft traps audiences into a pit of the most thrilling horror, more terrifying than any cheap American monster movie.

On top of these blockbuster plays, London has other legendary playhouses that regularly produce the cutting edge of drama. The Old Vic theatre is owned by infamous Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey and is home to a constant season of new and invigorating productions featuring constantly stellar casts from across the globe.

And to finish I have definitely left the best till last, London is home to some of the most influential and altogether brilliant theatre in the world: Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the most produced writer across the globe, his work written four hundred years ago is still being produced into blockbuster movies, his writing not only changed theatre staging, storytelling and acting, Shakespeare influenced the very language we speak; being the first to use around 2000 words in common use today. So when somebody gets confused by the language of Julius Caesar and complains "it's all Greek to me", they are inadvertently quoting the play itself. Shakespeare's works were mostly performed from his infamous Globe theatre, and that theatre has been lovingly restored in London for audiences to enjoy the work of the greatest writer to ever hold a pen, in the very environment it was originally written for.

So there really is much more than musicals in London, the city is home to one of the most thrilling theatre scenes in the world. So don't be put off by the dominance of Andrew Lloyd Webber: you can't fail to find something else you'll love.

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