CRITIC’S CHOICE: Top 10 New West End Musicals 30 June 2015

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-(Momma-Rose)-with-members-of-the-Gypsy-company.-Photo-Johan-Persson

1. Gypsy
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

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

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

2. 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

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

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
It is an absolute sensation – guaranteed to restore and replenish your inner child and to restore your faith in the concept of the good old fashioned musical.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Bend It Like Beckham at London's Phoenix Theatre

The Hounslow Harriers in Bend It Like Beckham. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

4. Bend It Like Beckham
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.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

miss-saigon-4

5. Miss Saigon
For, as a whole, Miss Saigon has never looked better or engaged more acutely with the heart-shattering stories of love and loss which pulse through it and which are contrasted, deftly, with the grim realities of international armed conflict and the political posturing and cultural imperatives of different races.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

memphis-3

6. 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

7. 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

The-Clockmakers-Daughter

8. The Clockmaker's Daughter
It’s a great story, but the show’s most glittering treasure is its music. There are folk tunes, love songs, impassioned ballads, comedy numbers, patter songs, soaring melodies, complex harmonies and splendid polyphony, all with a sprinkle of Irish jig around the edges. The inherent power and attraction of the score is helped in no small measure by a superbly assured delivery of the most difficult, and gorgeous, music by Jennifer Harding who excels in the central role of Constance. This is an engaging, absorbing, fantastical musical, radiant with possibility and truth. It’s confronting in parts and heartbreaking in others. And it is full of magical moments.
READ OUR REVIEW | BOOK TICKETS

Sunny-afternoon-5

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

, , , , , , , , ,