You can’t really get any more musical than Les Miserables, if that makes any sense. It literally set the blueprint for what truly makes a typical stage musical, with memorable characters, drama, comedy, tragedy, scream-worthy epic songs, a period setting and strong social message. The emblem of an etched girl (a young Cosette) imposed over the French flag, has become one of the most well-known images of modern-day theatre. And, with one of the longest West-End tenures, multiple awards and general widespread acclaim it’s understandable why someone would want to go see it, that someone being me. It’s been on my must-see list for years, primarily due to an obsession with the movie adaptation’s soundtrack (the film itself is… questionable – looking at you Tom Hooper’s weird directing – but the soundtrack, story and acting? Impeccable), but also due to it’s near-legendary status in the world of theatre. Hoping that my post-lockdown dreams of experiencing ‘ABC Café’ in the flesh (and undoubtedly crying uncontrollably in the process) will be achieved one day.
– Alice Fortt
Chicago the musical combines the perfect blend of sex, scandal, female empowerment and unforgettable songs. Set in the year 1926, and based on a play of the same name, Chicago follows protagonist Roxie Hart as she is convicted for murder. For those who haven’t seen the musical, I won’t give too much away, but watching Roxie navigate her way to freedom, amongst the ” merry murderesses of the Cook County Jail”, is an exhilarating experience. Sadly, I have not watched the stage musical, but have heard countless great reviews, and am an avid fan of the movie – which made me fall in love with the musical after just one watch. When life returns to normal, one of the first things on my list will be to finally watch Chicago on stage, as I am dying to know if/how the ‘Cell Block Tango’ could be improved at all from its perfect version in the movie. For those who haven’t experienced the wonders of Chicago before, I implore you to listen to the soundtrack, watch the movie, and fall in love with it just as I did.
– Maddie Lock
The School of Rock
Okay, I’ll admit it, I saw the film before I saw the stage production and honestly, to this day, I still think Jack Black is an icon for playing aspiring rockstar and fake cover teacher ‘Dewey Finn’. After the film, I was set on seeing the stage production. The music, written by so-called founding father of musical theatre, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, follows the downfalls and heights of Dewey Finn. After being dumped from his own band Dewey becomes a cover teacher for the local school by pretending to be his roommate Ned. Desperate to get the children excited about music he implements music to education, somehow combining Ozzy Osborne with maths, Bon Scott with science and history lessons becoming a timeline of Beatlemania. In my opinion, the DREAM cover teacher. Whilst impersonating his flatmate, Dewey realises he has the perfect ammunition for Battle of the Bands and enters the ‘School of Rock’ in a desperate attempt to show up his previous bandmates. A highly entertaining show, and definitely has something for everyone, from rock music to comedy to romance and drama ‘The School of Rock’ is a unique theatre experience and I urge you to see once life resumes as normal.
Kinky Boots is a powerful and yet incredibly funny musical blending the importance of sexual tolerance and gender identity whilst being a light-hearted easy watch. The story follows the son of a shoe factory owner, Charlie Price, who now owns the factory that is going under and Lola the drag queen we all fall in love with. Charlie meets Lola and finds an opportunity to make high heels for men, despite many of the male workers hating this idea due to their homophobia. Lola by being herself and showing what it truly means to be a man – which isn’t decided by clothes and mannerisms – the view of the homophobic men in the factory but also any prejudices that may have been held by the audience. Not to mention the musical score is top class, ‘Sex is in the Heel’ and ‘Land of Lola’ will be stuck in your head and you will never be able to look at high heels the same.