The top shows in the West End that started out in the UK
Although there are a variety of productions that have transferred from Broadway, London theatres are also home to British West End shows born and bred in the UK. Filled with unique British humour and commentary, as well as true stories told on stage, we take a look at shows across the West End which either received their premiere in London, or transferred from a regional theatre to a playhouse in the capital.
British West End shows to see in London
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Based on a real-life story as told in ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’ which aired on BBC3, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was first performed at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in 2017. Featuring original music by Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells, the show’s limited engagement was destined for greater things, transferring to the West End later that year. A story of courage, bravery and embracing community spirit, the musical continues to inject happiness into West End audiences at the Apollo Theatre.
Tom Stoppard returns to the West End in 2020 with his latest play, Leopoldstadt. In early 20th century Vienna, cultured individuals flocked to the city that was bustling with intellectual excitement. 10% of the city in 1900 were Jewish, located in the Jewish quarter of Vienna after Emperor Franz Josef granted full civil rights. Inspired by real-life events from his family history, join a family as they rediscover their Jewish identity throughout the 20th century. Find out more about plays by Tom Stoppard here.
Only Fools and Horses: The Musical
Del Boy and Rodney first came onto our screens in 1981, quickly becoming beloved television characters across the country. In 2019, the Trotters became the latest West End stars in Only Fools and Horses: The Musical. With an original book, lyrics and music by Paul Whitehouse and Jim Sullivan, the production gives audiences the chance to relive their favourite moments from the TV show, as well as enjoy a Cockney knees-up in the heart of central London. Why not check out the best moments from the television series?
Hailed as one of ‘the most uplifting pieces’ of musical theatre from Britain, Six has become a theatre cult phenomenon. After performances around the country and a sell-out season at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Six made its West End premiere at the Arts Theatre as part of a national tour. Based on the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, the musical is a celebration of their stories, combining 500-year-old history with a 21st century feel. In 2019, the production returned to the Arts and continues to extend!
As the world’s longest-running show, it’s no surprise that The Mousetrap is one of Britain’s best plays. Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery classic has been performed over 27,500 times and continues to intrigues tourists and theatregoers from around the world, as they uncover a part of West End history. When guests are trapped in a hotel with a murderer on a loose, the race is on to uncover the murderer’s identity. As audience members are asked to keep the secret once they’ve seen it, it really is up to you to learn what happens at The Mousetrap.
Originally performed at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, the stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda opened in the West End in 2011. Whilst the musical is based on the book and subsequent film adaptation, Matilda Wormwood finds herself in a new predicament in the musical, in a show featuring lyrics by Tim Minchin, a British comedian. Still possessing her telekinetic powers, she quickly learns that you have to be a ‘little bit naughty’ in order to get what you want in a show that’s fun-loving and cheeky with plenty of heart.
Plays by William Shakespeare are performed up and down Britain throughout the year, but the post-modern West End Shakespearean era starts with & Juliet. Spinning the love story on its head, Miriam Teak-Lee will star as Juliet in a musical where Juliet travels to Paris after deciding she wouldn’t take her life. Listen to the songs in & Juliet here and get ready for British West End shows to become pop-ified!
The world premiere of Local Hero will also take place at the Old Vic, following a driven Texan oil executive as he sets out to build an oil refinery in a Scottish seaside village. When the locals rise up to stop their homes from being spoiled, who will get their way? First playing in Edinburgh in 2019, head to the London premiere of Local Hero in 2020 and take a theatre trip to sunny Scotland!
Want to read about shows which have transferred from the West End to Broadway? Check out our guide here!