Entertainment Options in London are Endless

When looking at entertainment in cities around the world, London has some of the best. This is because of London’s West End, which gives Londoners and travelers the opportunity to see various musicals, plays and shows. Even beyond West End, there are so many theaters and shows that are relatively inexpensive and easily accessible to the public. Seeing plays and musicals is not only a fun way to spend an evening and relieve some stress, but also an educational opportunity and chance to look at the world from different perspectives. 

On my own, I’ve seen $ Juliet and Come From Away. & Juliet is a remix of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. The audience is able to follow Juliet’s journey of self-discovery as she takes control of her destiny and rewrites her story, all while listening to iconic pop anthems from artists like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. Come From Away is about Gander, Newfoundland, a small Canadian town where 38 planes were forced to land following the 9/11 attacks. Based on true stories, the musical looks at some of the islanders and 7,000 stranded visitors, as they came together to support one another during a time of crisis, confusion and anxiety. These are two very different shows on very different topics, yet there is so much to take away from each of them and reflect on after stepping out of the theater (and some amazing soundtracks to listen to afterward).

I have also been able to see some shows because of one of my classes this semester: ENG 320, or Interpreting Shakespeare. We read and see a performance of a Shakespeare play one week, then discuss the performance and how it compares to the text the following week. So far, we have read and seen performances for Much Ado Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. In Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre, we saw a more modern interpretation of the play, taking place at “Hotel Messina” in the 1950s-1960s. We looked at protagonists and antagonists in the text and live production, as well as what bold interpretations, were made by the director and actors and why. A Night At The Kabuki was set in late 12th century Japan, telling the story of Romeo and Juliet, along with the director’s take on what would happen beyond the written ending of Shakespeare’s play. The show was also set around original recordings of Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” (and yes, they played Bohemian Rhapsody). Each production had modern elements weaved into the plots of Shakespeare’s classic plays, and it was interesting to see, as it made me think about the plot and characters in new ways.

I think the shows available in London, whether they are on the West End or not, are both fun and educational, and if possible, everyone visiting London should try to see one. I am looking forward to the rest of the performances I will see with my Interpreting Shakespeare class, and I hope to see a few more West End musicals and plays while I’m here!