Preview: London 2012 Theatre Highlights

I’ve already put pen to paper (keyboard to screen?) looking at some of my ‘must sees’ for 2012 but those shows have been outside the West End.

With increasing prices, ‘premium’ seating, restoration fees, booking fees, handling fees etc. before you even start to think about transport, programmes and a second mortgage to buy an interval drink, the West End has somewhat dropped down my theatre going agenda. There are a few shows however that are likely to tempt me back onto Shaftesbury Avenue and the surrounding environs.

Sweeney Todd – Adelphi Theatre

Having seen this remarkable revival of Sondheim’s gothic opera at Chichester, it was clear the show was destined for a West End berth. Clearly designed for a prosc theatre rather than Chichester’s thrust, and with the star casting of Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, it was always London bound. The updated setting may upset some but the sheer power of the production overcomes any niggles.

Top Hat – Aldwych Theatre

The regions have been enjoying this unashamedly retro musical for much of 2011 and it’s a sheer delight. A good old fashioned musical spectacular that now taps its way into London.

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – Kensington Gardens

Ok, so not officially West End but the combination of C.S.Lewis, theatrical magic and Rupert Goold make this a must see.

Long Days Journey Into Night – Apollo

It is indeed a long journey so take a cushion but Eugene O’Neil’s American classic sees David Suchet return to the Apollo after his triumph in All My Sons.

Cymbeline – Barbican Theatre

Yukio Ninagawa returns to the Barbican with his trademark, groundbreaking, visually stunning productions. His Japanese Hamlet remains one of the clearest productions of the piece I have ever seen.

And though nothing is announced yet lets hope that Sheffield’s Company and West Yorkshire Playhouse/Derby Live/Royal & Derngate’s The Go Between find a London home this season.

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