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Which one theatre - musical to attend in London?

Which one theatre - musical to attend in London?

Old Apr 24th, 2007, 08:31 PM
  #1  
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Which one theatre - musical to attend in London?

I have posted a similar question in tripadvisor forum.
I wanted to know the views from Fodorites as well.
We [With our daughter -20 years] want to attend one musical thetre show during our short stay at London. Which should be the best? We haven't seen any.

We have already booked for Othello at Shakespeare Globe Theatre.

We have been thinking of Wicked, Mamma Mia or Mary Poppins. [?Les Misérables ]
It should be a once in a life time show.
Can you guide us?
Thanks,
K.
kamleshrut is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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My all time favourite show is Les Miserables - moves me to tears every time. It's a serious story but the music is magnificent. If you like that sort of thing.

Mama Mia is an absolute hoot and I've seen that a number of times as well. What a lot of fun and it's just great hearing our fave Abba songs again.

This is a very difficult question to answer as it really is a case of to each his own. The two shows above, imho, are equally good but completely different - it just depends on what you like.

Good luck deciding - when we are in London in November it will probably be between Les Mis or Chicago for us.
stormbird is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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Yay- fun question!! I am a musical theatre major and just got back from studying abroad in London! I saw three out of the four shows while I was there: Wicked, Mary Poppins, and Les Miserables (I've seen Mamma Mia here in the states). I was not terribling impressed with the Les Mis cast. Vocals were exceptional, but the acting was definitely subpar. Wicked and Mary Poppins, however, were amazing.

I saw Wicked twice: once during a dress rehersal and again after opening night. I wasn't in love with the woman who played Glinda the first time, but her performance definitely improved by the second time. The show has been open since mid October, I believe, so she should be great by now. I don't know if you are familiar with the show at all, but it's incredible. I've cried every time I've seen it (3 times now). Is Idina Menzel still there? She is phenominal!! Great special affects. I'm running out of adjectives to describe this show.

Mary Poppins was like a dream. Definitely a departure from most Disney musicals (not a big fan normally). This show was lovely- I fell in love with the movie when I was a little girl so watching the show was kind of like stepping into a time machine. The girl who played Mary Poppins was brilliant- really young, no older than 23 if I am remembering correctly. Her voice, well, I'm jealous-so clear. And Gavin Creel (Burt)...I want to marry him. The set was spectacular.

Mammia Mia is a cute, fun show, but simply cannot compare to Wicked or Mary Poppins.

I have a hard time putting one show above the other because they are soo different...but, if I was forced, I would say Wicked.---But, Mary Poppins is a CLOSE second. You really can't go wrong with either show.

Enjoy!!!
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 01:14 AM
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Thank you amandakay00 and stormbird for going thro' a difficult journey for us.

Is there any rating available other than at monkey site? Rating for music, storyline, acting, special effects, etc/

I have not reached yet to any conclusion. Still making up my mind. Will take opinion of the other family members. As we will be experiencing Othello on the previous day, another tragedy {Les Miserables] would be too much to bear at the end of our tour.
K.
kamleshrut is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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I have to say that if you want a once in a lifetime experience, IMO London West End theatre won't give you it. When I lived in London I tried several West End shows and was shocked at their mediocrity in every way - not much better than a school production. It's my opinion that with very few exceptions WE theatre is aimed solely at tourists who aren't regular theatre-goers and won't be coming back. If you really want a top class theatre experience you need to go somewhere like the National Theatre - which does occasionally do a musical.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 04:37 AM
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Billy Elliott, Billy Elliott, Billy Elliott
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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My 19 and 21 year old daughters LOVE Les Mis. We all saw it in London last spring, and the voices were great, and of course the music is fabulous. I enjoyed watching the way the show was staged on the rotating set.

When I went to London last month with my 21 year old, I gave her the choice of Wicked or Spamalot. She chose Spamalot and it was really fun. Definitely not a tragedy! I still want to see Wicked, though.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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I'd cross Mama Mia off your list. It just isn't that spectacular...nice for a normal weekend, but not for a once in a lifetime event.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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There is no such thing as a once in a lifetime theatre experience...if there was you wouldn't be able to get tickets for it less than a year before.

The evolution of the musical is very interesting and was the subject of a PBS show in the State a couple of months ago.

Time was a show opened up on Broadway and found its way to the West End as a rule (there are exceptions)...now it seems the exact opposite shows open up on the West End and eventually migrate to Broadway (see Mary Poppins, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia, Les Miz, Phantom)....also there have been a great many revivals going on in London of older shows. In recent years we had My Fair Lady, the King & I, Guys & Dolls, Evita, Cabaret, Sound of Music. A Chorus Line is supposedly on the way. If you read some blogs,many consider the mega musicals pure rubbish. I will say most of them provide what they're supposed to provide namely a very pleasant evening's entertainment.

Given by druthers, I am sure you will love Mary Poppins. it's great. I also enjoyed Billy Elliot..how they could find kids with the talents these kids have is unbelievable. Les Miz is something everybody should see once, I don't feel that way about Phantom. You want a "musical" very British, try Blood Brothers. Mamma Mia is just an excuse to listen to Abba music; not that this is a bad thing necessarily.

My 2 choices, for an enjoyable night out, not for a once in a lifetime evening, would be Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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Thanks xyz123 for a crisp and precise suggestion and detailed discussion.
You seem to be right. Let us just enjoy the evening with a fantastic musical.

I am looking forward for Mary Poppins, I think.
K.
kamleshrut is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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xyz123, I'd say 'His Dark Materials' was a once in a lifetime theatre experience.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 03:00 PM
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Amandakay00 - I sent a copy of your post to Gavin Creels mom after reading your post this morning. I haven't gotten a reply but I'm sure it made her smile.
Kamleshrut - I saw Mama Mia in London about 5 years ago and thought it was lots of fun. I'm old enough to remember all of the ABBA songs but my 3 daughters were not familiar with the group or their music. For days afterwards they were singing the songs and talking about how much fun they had at the show. None of us has seen Mary Poppins yet but know people who have seen it in London and N.Y. and loved it. I have seen Wicked three times and am thinking about getting tickets when it comes to town this summer,so that is clearly my favorite. My daughters thought it was a toss up between Wicked and Mama Mia. Spamalot is fun but again I remembered all the Monty Python skits and my daughters were clueless. One got it, one didn't and the third said it was just ok. Good luck with getting tickets for the show of your choice. I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever you pick.
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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>>>>>
xyz123, I'd say 'His Dark Materials' was a once in a lifetime theatre experience.
>>>>>

yes, in fact it was close to a lifetime in duration!
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Old Apr 26th, 2007, 01:07 AM
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walkinaround : pah, you obviously didn't go to 'Tantalus' (9 hours + intervals) !
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2007, 01:55 AM
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I'd somewhat agree with "His Dark Materials"

but I'm sorry to say that our "Mary Poppins" experience was one of the worst diction-slaughtering moments in theatre we have ever experienced.

I think if you go and can forget about the "experience of a lifetime" 'requirement' which probably sets you up for disappointment you'll have a great show...hope so anyway.
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Old Apr 26th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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<Hope so anyway> I got it Dukey.
I have changed my mindset. Strictly no no life time thing. And I will remember this for other itineraries as well. Seriously.
Now coming back.
Is there any rating sort of thing? In a magazine on net or like?
Thanks a lot.
K.
kamleshrut is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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Mileaday---You know Gavin Creel's MOM?? Wow, when I graduate and move to New York to try to make it, maybe I should post here for some connections!
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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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I'd take issue with the "suggestion" that West End productions are mediocre and like a school production. Please tell me what school you went to so I can go see something!!! I'd suggest if someone was shocked at the mediocrity of the West End productions they saw, they did a very poor job of planning and choosing.

And while I love the National, quality isn't always guaranteed there either. Their production of Cyrano a couple years ago ranks as one of the most "amateurish" and sometimes boorish productions ever.

I realize it's "IN" to bash the West End, but to suggest that the quality there isn't often equal to or surpassing Broadway is just silly. And don't forget a number of West End shows come from The National and other sources of GREAT theatre. Would one suggest that the History Boys was wonderful at the National, but when it moved to the West End and to Broadway it became "amateurish"?

Meanwhile I'm surprised no one has mentioned Billy Elliot.

And kamleshrut, I think you have to accept that there is no definitive answer to your question. What is once in a lifetime to one person, may be dullsville to another.
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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 07:42 AM
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"Meanwhile I'm surprised no one has mentioned Billy Elliot. "

I did Patrick...3 times!\/

We loved it..and the talent of those kids! WOW
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Old Apr 28th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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We have 4th row seats for Billy Elliot next month-am really looking forward to it as everyone I know who has seen it raved about the talent of these young performers. Next time though I want to see Les Mis since all I've heard is raves about it for many years.
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