Made in Britain: 9 shows in the West End that started out in the UK
Although there are a variety of productions across the West End which have transferred from Broadway, London theatres are also home to shows born and bred in Britain. 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.
Shows in the West End from Britain
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.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
Based on the 1980’s books by Sue Townsend, the stage adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was first performed in Britain at Leicester’s Curve in 2015. Even though the show played for just a month, the tales of Adrian, Pandora and their friends captured the hearts of audiences far and wide, signalling a greater future for the show. In 2017, the show transferred to London, playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory and will receive its West End premiere at the Ambassadors Theatre in June 2019.
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 enjoyed a meteoric growth in the West End. 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, with a recent announcement the show would stay at the theatre until January 2020!
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 in the year. A story of courage, bravery and embracing community spirit, the musical continues to inject happiness into West End audiences at the Apollo Theatre.
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. The musical will receive a world premiere in Manchester before transferring to the Shaftesbury Theatre for its West End run from November 2019.
Ever since The Play that Goes Wrong opened at the Duchess Theatre in 2014, the Mischief Theatre Company have secured their status as a leading theatre company in Britain. With productions including The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre will take residency at the Vaudeville for 12 months with three brand-new plays. Groan Ups will see the company return to school as the characters ponder over whether it’s better to be a teenager or an adult, as adolescence is looked at in the company’s traditional comedic style.
Wanting to see more shows by Mischief Theatre? Why not check out our guide to Mischief Theatre shows in Britain.
The Man in the White Suit
The Man in the White Suit will receive a world premiere at Theatre Royal Bath before an already announced West End transfer at the Wyndham’s. Based on the 1951 movie starring Alec Guinness, Stephen Mangan will star as Sidney Stratton, a research chemist whose chance discovery of a radioactive material sees him become envied by his peers. With only Daphne trusting him, you’ll have to see the play to learn whether he can be trusted.
A Very Expensive Poison
Tales of international espionage and spies are at the heart of A Very Expensive Poison, receiving its world premiere at the Old Vic in 2019. When a shocking assassination happens in London, how will ordinary civilians and those in the know react, especially when lives are at stake? Inspired by real-life events surrounding Alexander Litvinenko’s suspicious death, the British play offers insight into radioactive villainy and what it takes to survive in high stake global situations.
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!