42nd Street

42nd Street

‘… 42nd Street is so chock full of entertainment that it barely fits on the stage…’ – Broadway reviews

Grammy Award-winning Sheena Easton stars as Dorothy Brock in her West End debut.
All the stops are pulled out for this tale of Broadway’s Golden Age, directed and co-written by veteran Mark Bramble with a cast of over 50 and featuring the songs We’re In The Money, Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, Dames, I Only Have Eyes For You and 42nd Street.

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The Lion King Theatre Breaks

The Lion King - Theatre Breaks

The Lion King – Theatre Breaks – 15 years in the West End

Another long-standing West End favourite today in my series about classic musicals. The Lion King theatre breaks are a popular choice with all ages. The Lion King has been running in the West End now for an amazing 15 years. The Lion King has been seen by 12 million people in London and over 65 million worldwide! It is now the highest grossing stage show ever! As I  have explained before the show is not just for children and it is a perfect choice for theatre breaks, especially for mixed age or gender groups, as it has something for everyone.  If you remember the film then you are in for a surprise when you see the stage show. It has all the music you remember but so much more, and the staging is totally spectacular.

The Lion King – the story

The Lion King follows the same basic story as the Disney film. Simba is a young lion and is the crown prince of the Serengeti lions. He is set up by his evil uncle, Scar,  who makes it look like Simba is responsible for the death of his father the King. After King Mufasa’s death Simba runs away  vowing never to return. Of course he meets a meerkat and a warthog and that’s when his adventures begin…

Two minute version? Hamlet in Africa with music and lions 😎

The Lion King – the staging

The power of this production is in the wonderfully evocative, imaginative staging. We have a sort of minimalist stage with a rising rock and a large sun backdrop. Much of the atmosphere is created by clever lighting.  The costumes are simply stunning and there are some amazing special effects. Yet everything looks as simple and direct as a children’s book.

The main actors wear vaguely African costumes with animal masks that still allow you to see their whole face. There are also huge elephants, giraffes on stilts, bicycle powered antelopes  hold long bendy poles with  birds on the end. All played by human actors. There are numerous clever effects that are simply yet effectively achieved. It all adds up to a magical experience.

By the end of the evening you will feel part of The Circle of Life and totally Hakuna Matata !

The Lion King – the music

The show has all the Elton John/Tim Rice songs you remember from the film but they are subtly altered, reinvented in a more African style. There are two big African drums positioned either side of the stage and they dominate the production.   There are also several more African flavoured numbers that including Zulu style choral singing. These have been written by South African composer, Lebo M,  who also made the African additions to the more familiar songs.

You can hear what I mean in this video of the London cast singing The Circle of Life:


The Lion King Theatre Breaks Available Now

You can book now on our Readers Offer site for a wide range of Lion King theatre breaks. One of best things about it is that you can book for as many people as you like without any fuss. So if you are a family or group or 8 or even 12 you can still easily book online without having to phone up.

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Matilda Theatre Breaks

A great choice for  theatre breaks.

A great choice for theatre breaks.

Carrying on with my series on classic shows, today I’m looking at Matilda. Theatre Breaks to see this show are popular with all ages. It is a great choice for a family theatre break or to see with groups of friends.

Roald Dahl wrote the original story of course and many of us have seen and enjoyed the film. Music adds a new dimension (not to mention Tim Minchin’s great lyrics!) and the whole story comes to life on the Cambridge Theatre stage. This RSC  production has been popular for theatre breaks since it first opened. It has won lots of awards including  Best New Musical, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Matilda the Musical- the story

Matilda -Theatre Breaks

Miss Trunchbull – Matilda -Theatre Breaks

In this classic Roald Dahl tale, Matilda is a cruelly neglected child with hidden, and quite magical, powers.  Her life is made miserable by her awful parents. Her mother and father are truly dreadful and see no value at all in their bookish daughter. At school the intelligent child is terrified of the outrageously vile headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. The only light in Matilda’s life is spending time with her teacher, Miss Honey. However,  Matilda is definitely the heroine of the tale and it is she who must battle evil and save her favourite grown-up not vice versa!

So there you have it, a typical Roald Dahl story where the main heroic character is a child who must take on evil to save themselves and those they love. What this misses out of course is that the ‘evil’ characters also bring lots of humour to the story. The show is full of laughter and like all Roald Dahl can be enjoyed on many levels.

Matilda the Musical- the music

The music and lyrics for the show were written by Tim Minchin. You probably know him better as a talented stand up comedian. He has brought all of that madcap, creative talent to the show. Just watch this video from the Oliviers in 2012 to see what I mean:

 Book Matilda Theatre Breaks

There are lots of possible Matilda theatre breaks packages on our Readers Offers site. You can choose from rail, coach or self-drive breaks and stay in a range of inner, or outer London hotels. Have a look and see what you fancy.

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Top Shows for Theatre Breaks

Top Shows for  Theatre Breaks -1

Top Shows for Theatre Breaks

I’ve been doing a series of posts about the top shows for theatre breaks recently. These are the shows that are consistently popular, they vary a little each year as new shows slip into replace closed shows. Some shows have been on this list for years, others are fairly new arrivals in the West End. The top shows for theatre breaks this year are listed in detail below.

10 Top Shows for  Theatre Breaks 2014

1. Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys - Theatre Breaks

Jersey Boys – Theatre Breaks

This show just goes on and on being popular. A great choice for a theatre break for any occasion. You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.

2. Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! - Theatre Breaks

Mamma Mia! – Theatre Breaks

Another show that has survived a move to a smaller theatre and done well. Mamma Mia! continues to be a popular choice. Equally good for those girly weekends or for a romantic occasion. You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.

3. The Lion King

The Lion King

The Lion King – Simba

At first glance you might think it was just for children, but you’d be wrong. The Lion King is consistently popular with all age groups. Great music, spectacular costumes and dancing and a good plot. What more do you need? You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.


4. Wicked

wickedtheatrebreaks Another show that might seem most suitable for children that works well for all ages. Wicked has fantastic music, laughter, tears and some really spectacular effects. You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.

5. Les Miserables

Les Miserables - Theatre Breaks

Les Miserables – Theatre Breaks

This one really is for grown ups. A superb plot, taken from a classic novel, fabulous music. This is the absolute classic show for theatre breaks. Popular for all sorts of occasions, particularly anniversaries. You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.

6. Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot - Theatre Breaks

Billy Elliot – Theatre Breaks

Another show with a great plot, music and dancing. Ideal for anyone over 12 (because of some of the language). A great show to introduce people to theatre breaks. You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.

7. Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon Theatre Breaks

Miss Saigon Theatre Breaks

A golden oldie that’s returned to the London stage. Miss Saigon has been a very popular choice for theatre breaks this year (2014). You can read more about it here. I do wonder how long it will last though, so, if you want to see it check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.


8. Matilda

A great choice for Friday night theatre breaks this winter

A great choice for Friday night theatre breaks this winter

Now this one you could be forgiven for thinking is really for children and you’d be wrong. Matilda has been a favourite with all ages. This is not just a children’s show. Not at all. You can read more about it here (soon!) or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.



9. War Horse

TheatreBreaks-warhorse Again, although this is based on a children’s book and even has puppets, don’t be fooled. This show is definitely for grown-ups too. Take lots of hankies. You will cry. A great show for theatre breaks for any age. You can read more about it here (soon!) or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.


10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

charlie and the chocolate factory

Check out Charlie & the Chocolate Factory theatre breaks

Another Roald Dahl story slips into the top 10. No surprise really as Dahl was such a great story teller and his stories were never just for children. Charlie is a great show for a theatre break. It’s full of laughter, fun and  spectacle. The music is entertaining and the performances great. I defy you not to come out smiling! You can read more about it here or check for dates and deals on our Readers Offers site here.


So there you are, 10 top shows for theatre breaks.


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Billy Eliot Theatre Breaks

Billy Elliot - Theatre Breaks

Billy Elliot – Theatre Breaks

Next in my series of classic shows is Billy Elliot. Theatre breaks to see this show have been in the best sellers ever since the show opened back in 2005. In fact next year will see the show’s 10th anniversary in the West End and that means they must be doing something right! Billy Elliot has won  10 Tony Awards and been seen by over 8 million people world wide! It is a great choice of show for a theatre break. The story is touching, involving and uplifting.

The story of Billy Elliot

Billy learns to dance

Billy learns to dance

We follow the story of Billy growing up in a mining community during the  1984/’85 Miners’ Strike. One day Billy stumbles out of his boxing class and into a ballet class. There he meets a teacher who helps him to discover a passion and a talent for dance. Billy has to fight for his right to dance against peer-group pressure and the fury of his father.

It is basically the same plot as the film on which it is based, just as tender, just as funny, but with the addition of music it becomes something else. Something far more powerful and engaging.

The Dancing and Music Are Sublime

Book Billy Elliot  Theatre Breaks

Book Billy Elliot Theatre Breaks

The show has superb choreography. You will see some of the finest dancing available on the West End stage. Some of the set piece ensemble dances are just amazingly acrobatic. You will be impressed! The young dancers go to ‘Billy School’ where their skills are honed until they are trained athletes.

The dance is complimented by the outstanding musical score by Elton John. The songs flow naturally through the plot and really add to the stage show.

There are quite a few videos to watch so take as long as you like and that will give you a great taste of Billy Elliot:

Billy Elliot Theatre Breaks – the details.

There are lots of choices when it comes to booking Billy Elliot theatre breaks. If you click through here to our Readers Offer site you will find theatre breaks by coach, train or drive yourself.



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