London theatre - what to see

Russell Cook takes a look at some of the diverse productions taking to Londonís stages over the wintery months ahead.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 26th Jan 2013

With the festive panto season wrapped up for another year, London’s theatre scene appears to be getting right back on track. The capital’s venues are offering a tantalising and inspired list of shows that will, perhaps ask a lot more from audiences than a Dick Whittington, Jack & The Beanstalk melee ever will. However, that’s not to say they are too serious and lacking in fun, as there really is a diverse mix of performances, catering to all sorts of punters.

January sees the return of global triumph, Cirque Du Soleil, with its 'Kooza' production (pictured) taking to the stage at no less than London’s Royal Albert Hall. Described as a return to the origins of Cirque Du Soleil, it combines circus traditions that highlight the physical demands of human performance in all its splendour and fragility, whilst laughs and smiles are aplenty, themes of fear, identity and power are explored. If the show is anything like previous runs at the Albert Hall, expect nothing less than mind-blowing. Until 14th February.

Later on in January and through until March, dreamthinkspeak production, 'In the Beginning was the End' takes place at London’s National Theatre at Somerset House. Led by artistic director Tristan Sharps, the show mixes “Leonardo-inspired hydraulics and modern mechanical engineering with a special blend of film, installation and live performance, revealing a vision of the world either on the verge of collapse – or the brink of rebirth.” Such powerful imagery and the prospect of intimate audience / performer interaction offers something quite exciting. Until March 30th.

February sees hugely successful Broadway production, 'The Book of Mormon' - brainchild of South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with composer, Robert Lopez – take to the stage at the ever popular Prince of Wales Theatre. An edgy and sometimes outrageous satire musical, 'The Book of Mormon' “takes shots at everything from organised religion to consumerism, the state of the economy and the musical theatre genre itself.” Expect this one to be a sell-out run, so get hold of tickets now! From February 25th.

Off the beaten track of London’s West End there are plenty of gems to be found. With the Polka Theatre’s family friendly 'Too Many Penguins' (until Feb 16th) receiving fantastic reviews since beginning in October; the Menier Chocolate Factory’s (Southwark) 'Merrily We Roll Along' - Maria Friedman’s directorial debut – offering a brilliant adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s time-travelling musical (until March 9th), and Tricycle’s (Kilburn High Road) 'One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show', described as the “Cosby show meets Restoration comedy”, there is an abundance of theatre spread richly across the capital this winter - and with a little digging there really is something for everyone.

Words: Russell Cook

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