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Lyric Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Shaftesbury Avenue
Lyric Theatre, Thriller Live

Time Out says

Michael Jackson fans get their thrills at this historic West End theatre

Today, Lyric Theatre is the home of 'Thriller Live', the Michael Jackson jukebox musical that's been getting fans moonwalking with delight since 2009. But behind the '80s tastic hoardings, this theatre has a history that stretches back centuries.

The theatre's facade doesn't have the grand neoclassical stylings or Victorian gothic flourishes of most of its West End neighbours, for a very good reason: it's actually built inside the remnants of an old house. Dr William Hunter was an anatomist, and collector of horrible-but-probably-scientifically-important things in jars whose 1776 residence acted both as his home and as a medical museum. These days, his collection can be seen at the Hunterian Museum, because in 1886, the interior of his former house was gutted and fitted out with state-of-the-art Victorian theatre which regaled audiences with the lighter kind of musical comedies. 

The Lyric Theatre relied on then-cutting-edge hydraulic technology, using water from the River Thames to power its lifts and backstage machinery. Today, it still raises its curtain using hydraulic power, in an auditorium that retains much of its original 19th century sumptuousness. There are 915 seats on four levels, supported by golden columns and topped off by a grand ceiling with a central chandelier.

Before the success of 'Thriller Live', some of the Lyric Theatre's most successful shows include the original West End production of 'Blood Brothers', the jukebox show 'Five Guys Named Mo', and 'How the Other Half Loves', the 1969 adultery comedy that made playwright Alan Ayckbourn's name. 


Shaftesbury Avenue
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Peter Pan Goes Wrong

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This review is from 'Peter Pan Goes Wrong's 2015 run. It returns for 2023. Ages eight-plus Peter Pan soars! Or doesn’t, in this extremely funny follow-up to ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, which transferred from a fringe venue to the West End, won an Olivier for Best New Comedy earlier this year and gladdened the hearts of theatre-makers everywhere. The original cast are back for this production. If you saw ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, there are few surprises here. It’s an ingeniously simple premise: drop an audience into a fourth-wall-breaking performance of a show that falls apart spectacularly from the first scene. Here, that’s an adaptation of JM Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, directed and starring the pompous Chris (Henry Shields), who – in spite of his amusingly seasonal, pissed-off insistence that this is ‘not’ a panto – is properly boo-hissable. And not just as Captain Hook. The real director of ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’, Adam Meggido (who’s just had huge West End success as co-creator of ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’), stages everything beautifully, creating a breathlessly chaotic atmosphere that distracts us from the obvious technical skill and sophistication necessary in order to make everything break down so hilariously. There’s some inevitable flying-related japery, with the ‘actors’ swinging haplessly into scenery or abruptly disappearing. But while this – and the various set malfunctions – are good for quick laughs, it’s the cast’s comic timing that really powers it, fr


  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Musicals

Nearly six years after its pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre, ‘Hadestown’ opens on the West End in 2024, with casting TBC. This review is from November 2018 and its previous run at the NT. Already lined up to transfer to Broadway in 2019, it would be pretty embarrassing for all involved if Rachel Chavkin’s musical theatre staging of Anaïs Mitchell’s massively acclaimed 2010 ‘folk opera’ album ‘Hadestown’ was received less than rapturously at the NT for what is, effectively, its warm-up for New York. ‘Hadestown’ is not perfect, but it is really, really good. The wonderfully diverse songs of Mitchell’s expanded, virtually sung-through soundtrack are the bedrock. From the demonic trombone riff that powers opener ‘Road to Hell’, through Hades’s stentorian authoritarian anthem ‘Why We Build the Wall’, to the graceful encore some two-and-a-half hours later, it is a musically thrilling, lyrically eccentric articulation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth that has gratifyingly little to do with musical theatre convention. As much as anything else, it works because of Chavkin’s exceptional casting. Amber Gray, a regular with Chavkin’s avant-garde theatre company The TEAM, is boozily magnificent as sozzled party-girl Persephone. André De Shields, the original Broadway Wiz in ‘The Wiz’, is scene-stealingly brilliant as a suavely shamanic Hermes. Eva Noblezada is a sweetly grungy Eurydice. Patrick Page’s bowel-quakingly low voice as Hades is practically a special effect. The biggest

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