I have always been an avid musical theatre fan as I grew up singing and dancing right up until University. In fact right now Non Stop from Hamilton is currently playing in the background (fitting right?). A night out at the theatre is my perfect evening, especially when paired with great restaurants or pre-theatre cocktails.
Having seen a lot of shows over the last couple months (sorry bank account) I want to share with you some of my favourite. This will be part theatre review, part sharing of my favourite places to go.
I’ve picked shows that you don’t have to buy tickets for a year in advance, most of these you can get on the day tickets and if you don’t have the app TodayTix then download it because you can always get lottery or rush tickets. If you have the day off (particularly on a weekday) try and get to the theatre at 10am for last minute tickets.
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour to Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre (5 minute walk)
Tickets: from £25.50, £20 front row lottery tickets
With over 300 varieties of gin, this is London’s largest gin collection under one roof. Located in Covent Garden, this quirky den has a library of sprits all listed by style and there’s a number of pairing tonics to choose from. The concept is that Phileas Fogg’s Great Aunt Gurtrude owns this parlour upstairs and downstairs is Mr Fogg’s Tavern. It’s quirky, fun and a perfect place to have a couple gin cocktails before heading to the Adelphi for Kinky Boots.
Kinky Boots is the phenomenal story that pairs Charlie, a struggling factory owner, with Lola, a fabulous drag entertainer. This unlikely combination causes a phenomenon and you will definitely be up and dancing by the end. It’s such a feel good musical!
Chick’n’Sours to Chicago (3 minute walk)
Tickets: start at £35.50, as it’s a short run there sadly aren’t any offers
I’m going to write a separate blog post about Chick’n’Sours which I will link in the future! Chicago is definitely the musical to see with friends and Chick’n’Sours is a great group restaurant. Definitely book this in advance (always do this if you’re looking for a pre-theatre menu as restaurants always get fully booked) and make your way downstairs for sharer cocktails, delicious food and lots of fun!
Now Chicago is my second favourite musical movie (beaten only by Moulin Rouge). The onstage version of the show is directed very differently to the movie. Whilst the movie plays on the dark satire, the stage show is more obviously comical. This is done very well and both Cell Block Tango and Razzle Dazzle were both better than I expected. Definitely worth catching whilst it’s still on.
Dirty Martini to 42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2 minute walk)
Tickets: £15 front row in advance, £25 rush tickets on the day
You will quickly learn that I LOVE martinis, so a whole bar dedicated to them is an absolute dream. Their martinis change seasonally so my favourites aren’t always on the menu, but I would recommend the blood orange and vanilla martini and the chocolate martini as my personal favourites. Definitely book a table or you will be standing!
Top tip for 42nd Street? Book the front row! These tickets are around £15 but in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane you won’t be straining your neck too much on the front row and you will be so immersed within the show. It is such a spectacle and the energy on stage is electric. Do not miss this if you love musical theatre, it is also a great introduction for someone who has never been to a musical because it has all the bells and whistles.
P.F. Changs Asian Table to Les Miserables, Queen’s Theatre (5 minute walk)
Tickets: start at £30.50
Growing up in Dubai, P.F. Changs was one of my favourite restaurants and I was so excited when it moved to London. Try their dynamite shrimp and you will know why I love it so much. Again, book! (reckon I’ve mentioned booking enough times yet?)
Les Miserables will probably always be one of the best shows to see on stage, it’s the longest running musical on the West End for a reason. I am a bit biased after weeping through the 30th Anniversary and watching the original cast perform beautiful duets with the current cast, but ever since I first saw it when I was 14 I have loved it. You will definitely cry at some point, but don’t let that put you off because there are elements that are absolutely hilarious and characters that balance out the somber scenes. It’s beautifully written and performed and the musical will remain in your head for years.
Be At One to Strictly Ballroom, Piccadilly Theatre (2 minute walk)
Tickets: start at £18, £25 rush tickets
Now I’m sure most have you have been to a Be At One, they’re basically a pret for cocktails, however if you are watching Strictly Ballroom on a weekday like I did you should definitely make the most of their brilliant happy hour. Cocktails are 2 for £10 and the bee’s knees and pornstar martinis are definitely the way to start your evening.
Strictly Ballroom is gorgeous, and the excessive sequins and neon lights only make the phenomenal dancing all the better. Will Young is absolutely AMAZING and the contrasting dance styles is incredible to watch. This has only just come out of previews so you may not have heard much about it yet, but I bought tickets for £18 and it’s the kind of show you can watch from the balcony and not feel like you’re missing out.
Opium Cocktail Bar to The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre (3 minute walk)
Tickets: from £27.50, lottery at the theatre which is the best way to get tickets
Opium Cocktail Bar is the optimum example of daring drinking. It’s designed to feel like you’re entering an illegal opium den in the heart of China town, fitted out with three floors of embellished Chinese rooms. Now this is hard to find as the door is unmarked, it’s a jade green door on Gerrard Street. The different rooms contain different bars and the best cocktails are self-smoking and served in mini black cauldrons.
The Book of Mormon is so unbelievably funny, assuming you aren’t a Mormon (I’ve never been with somebody who is Mormon but I can imagine they may not appreciate some of the humour). The songs are so tongue in cheek that you laugh at yourself for laughing at it. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t absolutely loved it.
I hope that gives you some ideas of nearby bars and restaurants to these theatres. I’d love to hear your thoughts!