Growing up I rarely went into London until I was in my late teens and went for shopping trips with friends. We would wander the shops, hitting Topshop, Next, Camden Market and all the cool hangouts, we would grab a McDonalds and then head to Leicester Square to go to the cinema.
It was in my late teens I finally saw my very first Westend show with a friend, we grabbed last minute tickets from one of the booths not worrying what show we actually saw just as long as it was for that day. We ended up seeing Whistle down the Wind and from that moment I was truly gripped with the thrills of Westend shows.
Watching the actors on the stage seemed so different to the local productions I was used to, the costumes more elaborate and the backdrops and scenery grander. I was left in tears, yes it was an emotional show but it was more than that. The whole production pulls you in and you become part of the drama as it unfolds.
That was the first of many shows I have now seen. Paul hadn’t been to the theatre when we got together so I soon put that right and we enjoyed Calendar Girls, Spamalot and The Producers, he enjoyed those just as much as I did. I have also seen The Lion King and am desperate to take the children to see this.
When the children got old enough I wanted them to enjoy Westend productions just as much as me, it’s something we could enjoy together and although I initially worried they may struggle to sit through the long shows, I needn’t have as they adore the theatre as much as me…..and a bag of sweets and an ice cream do of course help!
Together they have seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom, out of these our favourite was Charlie and the chocolate factory, with even Harry, glued to the edge of his seat.
With Emmy being a little older, I have taken her on girly days out with just the two of us more often – let’s face it heading to a Westend show isn’t always cheap so being just the two of us keeps down the costs.
Together we have seen Wicked (we both want to see this one again soon, It would be my 3rd time), The wind in the Willows, Wonderland – this is actually the only show we haven’t really liked, Matilda and Kinky Boots.
Matilda was Emmy’s birthday treat last year, it is her favourite book and film and she was over the moon to make it a girly day out with just us two.
As always when we go to see a show we head into Covent Garden to watch the street entertainers beforehand, we wander around always heading into Hotel Chocolat for a treat to take into the theatre with us (and something for Harry as we can’t leave him out), we then watch the entertainment and head to the show.
Emmy was enthralled with the scenery, reading all the words she could see on the stage before the actors came on. She was gripped from the off, I wasn’t as keen on this one but that’s because so much was different from the book and I do prefer books over films or stage shows.
This didn’t put Emmy off though and she was convived it was actually Matilda on the stage, she even joined in with the singing and was resiting words before the actors did.
It is certainly one to see if you are a fan of the book.
After a show we always grab some food before heading home again, I let Emmy choose at it was her birthday treat, but it is always the same anyway -Pizza Express.
We have a list of shows we hope to see this year, these are:
For us adults:
- The book of Mormon
- The play that goes wrong
- The Mousetrap
- The comedy about a bank robbery
With the kids:
- The Lion King
- School of Rock
- Mamma Mia
Do you enjoy the theatre as a family? What is next on your theatre bucket list?