London musicals

Discover the best London musicals in the West End and beyond and book tickets

Photo: Manuel Harlan

It had fantastic reviews when it opened – but is it still kicking after five cast changes? Time Out brings you news, up-to-date reviews and discounted tickets in its comprehensive guide to all musicals in London's West End and beyond: the best shows, the worst shows and the weirdest and most wonderful alternative choices. 

Latest musical reviews

Review: Gypsy

Critics' choice

There are moments when ‘Gypsy’ feels like a lovely indulgence. Not seen in this country for 40 years, Jonathan Kent’s revival of this 1959 musical is like a collector’s loving restoration job on a beautifully-made vintage car. With a full, jazzy orchestra doing total justice to Jule Styne’s brassy score, some beautifully Gene Kelly-ish choreography, a discretely sumptuous set, clockwork stage management, and a huge cast, it purrs like a dream.

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Savoy Theatre Until Saturday November 28 2015

Review: Sweeney Todd

Critics' choice

If the West End won’t come to Tooting, then Tooting must come to the West End. Tooting Arts Club’s plucky site-specific production of Sondheim’s gory Victoriana masterpiece ‘Sweeney Todd’ caused a big splash in SW17 when it debuted at the venerable Harrington’s Pie and Mash last year.

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Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop (West End) Until Saturday May 30 2015

Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The Brits love an underdog. The Yanks love a winner. And Carole King was both. So it’s no wonder this biographical jukebox musical is shaping up to be a transatlantic smash, having already conquered Broadway. Hitting the big time aged just 16, gawky, self-effacing Brooklynite King went on to write a string of smashes for other artists during the ’50s and ’60s, before overcoming shyness and a failed marriage (to her writing partner Gerry Goffin) to strike out on her own with the world-conquering album ‘Tapestry’.

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Aldwych Theatre Until Saturday March 12 2016

Review: Sunny Afternoon

The Kinks were a bunch of delightfully scrappy north London outsiders, and at a push you might say the same about this musical based on their songs, which transfers to the Harold Pinter from the wilds of, er, Hampstead Theatre.‘Sunny Afternoon’ doesn’t feel like a big West End show, but that’s a compliment to Ed Hall’s spunky production and its air of scrubbed-up anarchy.

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Harold Pinter Theatre Until Saturday October 24 2015

Review: Miss Saigon

BOOM. CRASH. RRRAAAARGH. Forget that puny new Godzilla movie – here’s a real big beast of a blockbuster.

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Prince Edward Theatre Until Saturday December 19 2015

The top ten London musicals

From glamorous West End blockbusters to fringe theatre tearjerkers – they all have a place on our list

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By: Time Out editors

A-Z list of West End musicals

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The Brits love an underdog. The Yanks love a winner. And Carole King was both. So it’s no wonder this biographical jukebox musical is shaping up to be a transatlantic smash, having already conquered Broadway. Hitting the big time aged just 16, gawky, self-effacing Brooklynite King went on to write a string of smashes for other artists during the ’50s and ’60s, before overcoming shyness and a failed marriage (to her writing partner Gerry Goffin) to strike out on her own with the world-conquering album ‘Tapestry’.

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Aldwych Theatre Until Saturday March 12 2016

Billy Elliot the Musical

Critics' choice

Six years after it first stamped, swore, and pirouetted into audiences' hearts, 'Billy Elliot the Musical' continues to mark itself out as one of the best nights in town. Both as tough as a miner's fist after a Friday night booze-up and as soaringly sensitive as one of Tchaikovsky's swans, it's a gritty story of hope that works its magic by defying sentimentality and slaying stereotypes. 

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Victoria Palace Theatre Until Saturday December 17 2016

The Book of Mormon

Critics' choice

'South Park' creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's comedy musical about a pair of hapless Mormon missionaries won nine awards at the 2011 Tony awards. It's so extravagantly sold-out on Broadway – and with such expensive tickets – that this wildly-anticipated West End production may conceivably find itself filled up with impatient New Yorkers flying over for a bargain.

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Prince of Wales Theatre Until Saturday August 22 2015

Cats

Kerry Ellis replaces Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella from Feb 9 2015. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’, which ran for 21 years at the New London Theatre back in the days when people presumably had more money for drugs, is a stupendously weird piece of musical theatre. It’s an almost plot-free variety show based on a very ’80s pretension – an adaptation of a collection of TS Eliot poems – and an unerring sense of the British fondness for felines, face paint and old-fashioned parochial structures.

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London Palladium Friday October 23 2015 - Saturday January 2 2016

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Critics' choice

‘Skyfall’ director Sam Mendes’s huge new Warner Brothers musical confirms it: the hottest property in the West End right now is a grouchy, dead half-Norwegian, who loathed braggarts and greed, and spent most of his working life hiding out in a shed at the bottom of his garden. Roald Dahl probably wouldn’t have liked the whiz-popping rave that Mendes has created from his addictive children’s book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane Until Saturday June 4 2016

The Commitments

Brian Gilligan takes over as lead role Deco, John Currivan now stars as Billy Mooney and Sam Fordham is Mickah. In these straitened times, nothing gets bums on West End seats like a stage adaptation of a blockbuster film or novel. And this show, of course, comes trailing both: Roddy Doyle’s 1987 novel about a motley group of working-class Irish lads and lasses who form a raucous soul band; and Alan Parker’s 1991 mega-hit film version.

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Palace Theatre Until Sunday September 13 2015

Gypsy

Critics' choice

There are moments when ‘Gypsy’ feels like a lovely indulgence. Not seen in this country for 40 years, Jonathan Kent’s revival of this 1959 musical is like a collector’s loving restoration job on a beautifully-made vintage car. With a full, jazzy orchestra doing total justice to Jule Styne’s brassy score, some beautifully Gene Kelly-ish choreography, a discretely sumptuous set, clockwork stage management, and a huge cast, it purrs like a dream.

Read more
Savoy Theatre Until Saturday November 28 2015

Jersey Boys

Critics' choice

Here's the 'Jersey Boys' concept. Take one gleaming back-catalogue – that of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, whose Bob Gaudio-penned songs have become so woven into the fabric of Western pop culture that it's easy to forget who actually wrote them. Next, instead of torturously extrapolating a zany plot out of the lyrics, simply make the story of 'Jersey Boys' the story of the Four Seasons. Get a top-notch book, written by Rick Elice and Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman.

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Piccadilly Theatre Until Sunday October 25 2015

The Lion King

The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for 12 years – long enough for this show to rack up 5,000 performances – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. Gazelles spring, birds swoop and an elephant and her child lumber through the stalls. 

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Lyceum Theatre Until Sunday January 3 2016

Les Miserables

Critics' choice

If the second longest running show in the West End was looking a little tired, a rejuvenating orchestral facelift was just what the doctor ordered. Cameron Mackintosh's 'little girl' has shaken off that 1980s synth vibe and finally woken up to the organic noughties. This is a new, richer sound with strong operatic undertones and even the faint echoes of chamber music.

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Queen’s Theatre Until Saturday March 26 2016
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Comments

1 comments
Shaun
Shaun

Once is undoubtedly one of the most cleverly staged, superbly choreographed yet touchingly intimate musicals I have yet seen. The ceilidh style opening which demands the audience to be sitting down well before the start is a superb idea and totally fools the audience the cast are excellent musicians/singers/actors. True triple threat stuff. Once is ALMOST as good as The Last Five Years at the Factory of Chocolate. Almost. What worries me is that it won't get the support it deserves from priggish and greyed theatre critics or stupid "see poster - see show" tourists. If I had some money to help it along I would donate. Seriously. Put the Mormon book back on the justifiably dusty shelf and take a chance - just ONCE.