Critics Choice: 10 Best West End Musicals 29 May

What Musical should you see first in London?

We have compiled this list to save you the trouble of working it out! It's just our view – and everyone has one – based on our Reviewers' thoughts. We will update the list regularly so new productions get on your radar and when original casts change that is factored in.

Musicals which have been running for more than three years are not included – this is a list for new or relatively new productions running in London.

So go see them!

Imelda Staunton in Gypsy at London's Savoy Theatre

Lara Pulver and Imelda Staunton in Gypsy. Photo: Johan Persson

1. Gypsy – awarded BritishTheatre.com's only 6 Star Rating
Everyone in this company is superb in their part, everyone can really sing, really dance and really deliver the goods in terms of dramatic and comic acting. This is that rare beast: an exquisitely cast musical where the requirements of the parts have more importance in the casting process than potential box office draw or Twitter popularity. It is difficult to believe that there has ever been a better Rose than Staunton creates here.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Jerry's Girls at Jermyn Street Theatre

2. Jerry's Girls
This is a genuinely terrific night in the musical theatre. Gypsy aside, there is nothing to touch it currently playing in London in terms of value for money and sheer, unrelenting happiness. Emma Barton has heart in spades and performs with a lustrous, warm allure which is both seductive and motherly. Ria Jones is a gifted performer, a delicious singer, and she brings a wealth of experience, and a warm, luscious tone to her carefully delivered renditions of Herman’s standards. Sarah-Louise Young’s comic work in Take It All Off and La Cage Aux Folles is gloriously amusing.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Katie Brayben plays carole King in Beautiful at London's Aldwych Theatre

Katie Brayben and Carole King in Beautiful. Photo: Brinkoff Mogenberg

3. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The throbbing, majestic and luminous heart of this production comes from Katie Brayben’s faultless, radiant and absolutely triumphant turn as Carole King. Brayben recreates the feel, the sound, the look of Carole King in a completely authentic and resonant way – she feels like the natural woman.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Kim-Criswell-as-Margaret-and-Evelyn-Hoskins-as-Carrie-in-CARRIE---THE-MUSICAL.-Photo-Credit-Claire-Bilyard-(2)

4. Carrie
What is most admirable about Gary Lloyd’s directorial vision here is that no attempt is made to recreate the film, the book or even the way this musical has been produced before. He does not seek to make a musical horror story – rather, he makes a dramatic musical which has horrific elements. Kim Criswell is magnificent as Carrie’s mother. Her voice is in remarkable form and she sings the difficult score with bravura ease. Of course, the show has no hope without a tremendous Carrie and in Evelyn Hoskins, Lloyd has a true star. Hoskins is perfect.
READ OUR REVIEW | SOLD OUT

webCharlie-(Jake-Poolman)-and-the-Bucket-Family-in-Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory.-Picture-by-Johan-Persson-(2)

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Sam Mendes’ production of the musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in excellent shape. Nothing indicates that more clearly than the show not missing a beat despite the fact that three understudies were called upon to perform. The company didn’t hiccup. Routines are polished and well-drilled; Mark Thompson’s wonderfully colourful, and sometimes colourless, costumes and sets are in pristine shape and conjure up the requisite sense of magic effortlessly. The tunefulness and sprightly fun of Marc Shaiman’s music remains infectious and sweet.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

miss-saigon-3

6. Miss Saigon
It’s a palpable hit, a wonderful, searing and soaring revival of Miss Saigon borne aloft by three remarkable performances from Noblezada, Hong and Carroll.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Killian Donnelly and Beverley Knight in Memphis. Photo: Johan Persson

Killian Donnelly and Beverley Knight in Memphis. Photo: Johan Persson

7. Memphis
More than anything else, Memphis is about change and acceptance, and the important way culture and art (music, in this case) can be transformative in important and tangible ways. But it is not worthy or earnest in any way; rather, it relies upon humour, heart and hockadoo, creating mini-tornadoes of singing and dancing joy to propel your spirit into the stratosphere.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

book-of-mormon

8. Book of Mormon
For my part, it is as plain as a pike staff that the performers at hard work in this Parker, Lopez and Stone piece are, uniformly, at the top of their game and give more than 100% constantly. This production is far, far better than that original Broadway production.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Sunny-afternoon-6

9. Sunny Afternoon
There is a lot to like in Sunny Afternoon and overall the experience is more than satisfactory. It is great fun. Well worth seeing and hard not to enjoy.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

High Society at the Old Vic Theatre

10. High Society
The first fifteen minutes or so of Act Two are as good as, if not the equal of, any fifteen minutes of any musical currently playing on the West End (the final fifteen minutes of both of Gypsy’s acts excluded). In the main, this is down to three things: superb orchestrations (Chris Walker), fantastic musicianship (Theo Jamieson, Joe Stilgoe and a red hot band) and inspired, creative choreography (Nathan M Wright). Together, these three magical elements work musical theatre alchemy, and the cast go along with it infectiously, without restraint.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

, , , , , , , , ,