CRITICS CHOICE: The Top 10 New Musicals in London – November 2015

What Musical should you see first in London? Here is out list of London’s Top 10 New Musicals.

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!

Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre

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.
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Beautiful The Carole King Musical on Broadway

2. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Everything about the production seems fresher, lovelier and livelier than on Broadway. It’s a feast for eyes and ears and, when it is done, the feeling of elation is irresistible. I can count on one hand the number of musicals which have tempted me to dance along with the final tune, after the bows, but this show is another.
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Showstopper at the Apollo Theatre
Dylan Emery, Justin Brett, Ruth Bratt, Andrew Pugsley, Lucy Trodd, Adam Meggido and Philip Pellew in Showstopper. Photo: Geraint Lewis.

3. Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
If you attend the theatre regularly, you will undoubtedly have encountered that rare, awful, but entirely exquisite, moment when an actor dries, a prop fails, a door doesn’t open or a dress falls apart. You will recognise the peculiar, particular moment of fused horror and wonder that flickers across the features of the cast as some battle to keep going and others try, usually hopelessly, to stifle laughter. Showstopper! thrives on such moments; indeed, in a way, the adrenalin from the uncertainty about the choice another actor will make fuels the comedy and creativity.
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In The Heights Kings Cross Theatre
Sam Mackay and the cast of In The Heights. Photo: Johan Persson

4. In The Heights
In sum this is a show that deserves all the plaudits that have come its way and should receive a long run both at the King’s Cross Theatre and in even larger West End venues.
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Close To You at the Criterion Theatre
The cast of Close To You. Photo: Johan Persson.

5. Close To You
I’ve got to say that my first reaction to Close To You at the conclusion of tonight’s performance was simply “WOW!” Followed shortly thereafter by “Isn’t there any more?” Trying to highlight individual performances or individual songs is pointless, this is a show to be savoured as whole, not just once but many times.
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The Book Of Mormon Tickets London

6. The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon begins long before you step into the theatre. London is adorned with its posters, our offices echo with remembered jokes and songs. As you enter Leicester Square, you are bottlenecked towards the Prince of Wales – particularly if there’s a film premiere – and when you step up to the theatre, you are encircled by queues for entry and ticket collection alike. The atmosphere is spellbinding, and the weight of expectation is colossal. I’m delighted to say that my expectations were met.
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Romance Romance at the Landor Theatre

7. Romance Romance
This is an intriguing and valuable revival with some very solid performances at its heart. I am not fully persuaded that this double-bill has earned a lasting niche in the repertory, but the performers make a persuasive and consistently attractive case for it.
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8. 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.
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9. Bend It Like Beckham – Exceptional Discount Offer Available Til Nov 3
Act Two is practically perfect. It starts with a fabulous number for the girls, Glorious, and it never looks back. It’s full of great music from Goodall and the range of styles he covers is significant. He uses Punjabi tunes effectively, there is a terrific solo for Jules’s mother, There She Goes, a melodious duet which is gentle and joyful, Bend It, then a stirring quintet and an overwhelmingly joyous piece which celebrates the wedding of Pinky and Teetu in contrapuntal tandem with the celebration of the football grand final win. By the time the second Act is over, the longeurs of the first have been brushed aside, and the infectious sense of harmony and happiness is irrepressible.
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Closer To Heaven by Jonathan Harvey and The Pet Shop Boys at the Union Theatre, London

10. Closer To Heaven
What makes the musical stand-out is it unashamed gaiety, and I use that word in its modern sense. This is, as Nicholas De Jongh said when the piece premiered, “the first truly gay musical to be written and composed by Englishmen” to reach the West End. It is also essentially youthful, and quite uncompromising in dealing head on with the vagaries and traps of young adulthood: sex, drugs (use and sale), pop music, alcohol, predatory conduct, prostitution, love, survival, sexuality and, most compellingly, the family you create separate from the family into which you are born.
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