Top 5 Musicals I've Seen So Far


A few weeks ago on Show Sunday I wrote a post about the shows I’m looking forward to seeing this summer. I thought it would be only fitting if I told you guys about some of the best musicals I’ve seen in the past. This is in no particular order. I can wittle it down to five, but order them?! I’m too indecisive for that!

Miss Saigon – In 2015 I saw the revival of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. Based on the opera, Madama Butterfly, the story is heart-wrenching and tragic. Miss Saigon is a mega-musical about Kim, an orphaned Vietnamese girl trapped in the midst of the Vietnam War, and Chris, an American soldier. Kim is lead to a strip bar where she and Chris meet and fall in love. The star-crossed lovers only spend a short time together before they are torn apart by the unfortunate circumstances around them. What happens next is moving in many ways.

I’ve seen some mega-musicals that haven’t impressed me too much, the tourist vibe was either too strong or the performers didn’t quite hit the mark for whatever reason. However, Miss Saigon did not fall into that category. I was blown away, in fact I pretty much cried the whole way through. All of the performers were incredibly talented, it amazed me how they could reach such emotional depth eight times a week.  Eva Noblezada and Chris Peluso had phenomenal stage chemistry. My favourite performance would have to be from Jon Jon Briones though. He captured the audience as the Engineer, creating comedy in the perfect moments. After I left I found myself listening to the soundtrack for months. I still get goose bumps when I hear the notes soar two years on. Mark my words; I will see it again someday.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – A more traditional revival, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers toured in 2013 and I was lucky enough to see it. I hadn’t seen MGM’s movie so this was a completely new experience. I was enthralled by it! If you haven’t heard of the musical before, here’s a quick plot summary! Milly, played by Helena Blackman, meets backwoodsman Adam Pontipee, played by Sam Attwater, at the local tavern. They subsequently get married, and Milly goes to live with her new husband, only to find that he has six other brothers to look after. To solve the situation she decides to marry them off, and turns an unfortunate situation into a merry one.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was one of my first traditional musicals to watch and it is still one of my favourites now. The production was filled with lively and flawless choreography, with performers leaping over each other, lifting each other up and doing lots of quick turns. To add to this the vocals were flawless, and the costumes were to die for! Petticoats were twirling everywhere. All the men and women wore different bright colours, lightening up the stage. Just talking about it now is making me wish I could see it again! I’ll just have to watch the film instead.

Gypsy – I was lucky enough to see Imelda Staunton star in Sondheim’s biographical musical at Chichester Festival Theatre before it moved to the West End. A lot of popular West End shows were originally produced in Chichester; I guess I chose the right university to go to! Gypsy is based on the burlesque entertainer, Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir, which tells the story of her childhood, relationship with her mother and rise to fame. Its musical counterpart focuses on Rose Hovick’s need to live through her two daughters to experience the dreams she could never achieve herself.

Staunton’s performance left me speechless. Each line was delivered with expertise, she was a true gem! Her performance of the finale, Rose’s Turn was definitely a favourite of mine, the anger and passion in her voice and acting was immense. As well as Rose’s Turn there is another favourite part of this musical. During Let Me Entertain You (Reprise) in Act 2, Louise transitions into Gypsy Rose Lee, shown through a sultry yet sophisticated burlesque act. I wish I could be as classy and sexy as Lara Pulver who plays her.

Avenue Q – I have been waiting and waiting for Sell a Door to do another tour of Avenue Q. This musical is a lot more quirky and controversial than the last three shows on my list. Plus, it is funny as heck! Avenue Q is a parody of children’s puppet shows such as Sesame Street, addressing important topics through obscene jokes; topics ranging from the troubles of life and racism to sex and love. This show proves that you really don’t need a huge set to entertain an audience. A few puppets, a backdrop and some brilliant actors will do splendidly!

The story starts when Princeton goes in search of his purpose after getting a BA in English. The only affordable place he can find to live is Avenue Q, where he meets lots of hilariously unique characters such as Kate Monster and Gary Coleman. You get the opportunity to laugh through their strange conversations as you watch their relationships develop. I saw this performance so long ago now that I can’t remember who played who, but I do remember their voice acting being quite impressive, especially the woman who played cute Kate Monster as well as Lucy the Slut. It’s not surprising to me that people who aren’t musical theatre regulars also adore this musical. Now can they tour again please?!

Matilda – Matilda is one of those shows that you’ll leave and think, why can’t I have that much talent? Because believe me, the children in that show are stars. Right from the beginning they perform with a mass load of energy. I found myself grinning from ear to ear. Since I saw it for my birthday (thank you Fern) I have been dying to go see it again. Every aspect of this musical is incredible. The lyrics, the melodies, the set, the costumes, the performers, everything! Although it’s aimed at children everyone can love it. The show does feel a little bit like a pantomime, especially in the television song, but that’s what makes it so loveable!

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, is an inspiring story about a little genius who develops a parental bond with her teacher and sets out to save Miss Honey and her fellow school friends from the awful headteacher, Mrs Trunchball. Mrs Trunchball’s costume was goofily terrifying might I add! One parent had to take their child out because she started crying upon seeing her. It reminded me when I was a child and hid under my seat when the wicked witch came on stage. 

The child and adult performers really work together to make this show delightful. It is warm, clever and full of hope and joy. Just like a chocolate cake! (Small Bruce reference there) Tim Minchin does an amazing job at creating witty, intricate lyrics that matches with an equally intricate set and choreography! Like all the other shows mentioned, just thinking about it is making me want to see it again. I won’t give too much away as you really should see it yourself. I really hope that this musical stays in the west end for a good length of time. That way I can see it again!

So that’s my top 5 musicals that I’ve seen so far! I may have waffled on a bit, there’s so much more I could’ve mentioned. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and stay tuned for next Sunday when I’ll be reviewing The Addams Family. I can’t wait!

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