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London Theatre

I love the London theatre, the classical shows, the musicals and all the showbiz of this form of entertainment. I know quite clearly where this love comes from, and I know just why it has grown and developed over the years. I fell in love with the theatre due to my Mum, she was the person who introduced me to the sounds of the great shows. And it was my passion for all things London that helped develop this affiliation.

When I worked in the hotel industry, especially at the Strand Palace hotel, I was given loads of tickets for all the various shows, this continued when I moved to the Cumberland, so I was able to see so many of the great West End shows. Then when I started to bring my daughter and wife to the shows the attraction continued. I know that it should be all about the music, or even the show of it all, but for me, a vast amount of my reasons for loving the shows was because of connections to my life and my past.

I have seen just about every major show in the west end. A lot of them I have been lucky enough to see more than once. I have to say I am a real sucker for the classic musical, Chess, Chicago, Phantom, Les Mis, and Oliver are just some of those favourites, but for me, my all time favourite has to be Martin Guerre, I saw that show more than 6 times and really loved it. There was a real special feeling to the show, and I have no real idea just what it appealed to me, but somehow it touched me and made me want to sing and dance.  

Over the last few years I have gone less to the West End, and for me the reason is quite simple, I am not as much a fan of the new breed of show. Shows like Mamma Mia work as a west end performance and story, but some of the others, like “we will rock you” just do not do it for me whatsoever. Mind you I have to say, and yes I am bias, but the Madness dedicated show, “Our House” was brilliant and for me just so special. However the trend of creating shows from the back catalogue of has-been pop groups is not a good thing and maybe is something that needs to be stopped. The other new trend of the west end is the TV show recruited blockbuster. I have a mixed view on this, I do quite like the TV shows, and usually they pick great shows to feature, but again I wonder about the long term effect of this. You see for me the real fear is the impact of this commercially led ideation. Where are the classics of tomorrow going to come from.

One other aspect of the West End that I believe should be seriously invest in is the buildings themselves. If I was ever in a position to spend millions on a new building for London I do think one idea I would invest in is a London Theatre. The current buildings are very old, full of character granted, but also very hot, difficult to move around, some with bad sight lines, and generally quite run down. At some point someone needs to invest in the infrastructure of the theatre industry and invest in the buildings themselves.

Finally the last aspect of the west end that really needs someone to look at and sort out is the whole issue of tickets and ticketing. All over London there are ticket offices, a lot of them selling cheap or discounted show tickets. There is a booming “tout” market for London shows and any decent London hotel can access tickets, for a price, that it is believed are fully sold out. One thing I have never really understood is why the shows, the owners themselves, do not do more to sell the tickets directly to the viewing public. With the web and just how simple setting up a site can be, I just do not understand why the theatre is not the source for tickets. It would be just so simple to set up.

But the west end shows still remain one of the best things about London, one of the best ways to really enjoy a visit to the city and is really something that everyone should do at least once in their life. Go on, go and see a show, but be warned, once you do you will be hooked.   


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