Since Jess now lives in London, I’ve been making the most of free accommodation and have just been on my second trip of the summer. As a drama graduate, I always make sure I make the time to go and see a show whilst in London and in the past two days have seen 3! Eee!! The following post will give you some tips on seeing west end theatre shows whilst in London and how to also do it on a budget!
My number one tip for seeing budget musicals is to download the app Today Tix (or just use their website) and use it to get discounted tickets up to 30 days in advance of your trip or just a few hours before a performance. They have all of the big West End shows on the website, many for cheaper prices than you’ll find elsewhere or by going directly to the theatre. The only downside is that they do not allow you to pick your own seats but instead give you the best seat available for the price range you have chosen.
There are also two other ways of getting discounted tickets. These are the front row lotteries; in which you enter the morning of the show for front row tickets at a set price given on the app, and they then tell you whether you have been successful in the lottery or not and you then pay the set price for the front row tickets. The other way is rush tickets; For every performance of certain shows, a limited number of rush tickets (again at a set price) will be made available, on a first-come, first-served basis. You do have to unlock this feature, simply by spreading the word about the production on social media via the app. These tickets are not always the cheapest that the app is offering for the show, but are often better seats than the cheapest seats being offered. Whichever way you choose to buy your tickets, I’d recommend using this app as they are cheaper than I have found in most other places.
The first musical we went to watch was The Book of Mormon which has come highly recommended by Amy. The show contains a lot of explicit language and sexual references and so has a parental guidance warning listed on the tickets.
I had listened to the soundtrack before watching the show but the actors really brought the songs to life, adding their own extra flair. I found myself laughing a lot more in this show than I do with many other musicals. The actors had got their characters down to a tee and their characterisation really added to the comedy of the performance.
Next, we went to watch Kinky Boots at a Wednesday matinee. Again this show contains a lot of explicit language as a warning if you are planning on bringing children to the performance. I hadn’t heard too much about Kinky Boots, other than bits and pieces, such as performing at award shows and on TV appearances. But other than that, I’d not heard any of the music or known much about the storyline. I was pleasantly surprised with the show although it wasn’t what we were expecting from the short snippets we had seen. Jess was also happy that it was set in England, particularly a part where she used to live, as many musicals, despite being on the West End, aren’t. The music was catchy and we went out singing the songs that had got stuck in our head and the musical had a good storyline, that was easy to follow and had some very moving moments in it.
Finally, I went to see Strictly Ballroom the Musical on my own in the evening of the Wednesday as Jess had had to go to work. Normally I wouldn’t like doing stuff on my own but it wasn’t bad as a solo trip and you spend most of your time watching the show rather than talking to whoever it is you have gone with. I’m not really sure what I can say about the musical as a whole but the dancing was insane! As a dancer myself, I was blown away with the dancing in the show and the stamina of the performers as there was very little time in the show that they weren’t dancing! The storyline was a bit basic but was strong enough to carry the show. Matt Cardle from the X Factor also performs as a sort of narrator for the show and sings pretty much all the songs in the show. His Australian accent was dodgy in some parts (especially when he really got into singing the songs) but he plays the part well. Also, the songs are well-known songs from the 80s and 90s so the audience feels comfortable and are even asked at some points to join in and sing along.
If you fancy a different West End musical to the ones listed above, check out Jessie’s review of ‘School of Rock’ or for other things to do whilst visiting London check out our review of the ‘Secret Studio’ escape room.
Overall I’d recommend any of these shows and each have their own selling point depending on what kind of show you’re going for. Thankfully with Today Tix, I was able to see all three of these shows for a grand total of £66, which you can pay for one ticket for some seats in some shows, and sometimes those aren’t even the best seats!