The Best of the West End

Millions of tourists hit the West End each year to see a musical or theatre production in the bright lights of London.

Some shows run for just weeks, others for years and even decades – showing true resilience and timeless appeal to audiences of all generations.

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Here’s a rundown of the longest running shows in the West End’s history, and a few tips on how to pick up discounted tickets…

1) Mousetrap

An Agatha Christie whodunit? classic which has been running for over 60 years, Mousetrap premiered in November 1952. Its popularity with audiences shows no sign of slowing down, and the production is now playing in St Martin’s Theatre. It hit 20,000 performances in December 2000, and has been the longest-running West End show since 1958.

2) Les Miserables

This French musical was revamped into a new film in 2012,  but this doesn’t seem to have affected its status with West End audiences who are still keen to catch the live show. It’s currently playing at the Queen’s Theatre, and has been performed in the capital over 11,000 times since its initial run in 1985.

3) Phantom of the Opera

This tragic love story has been thrilling audiences since 1986, and is testament to how a timeless tale can span generations. Carrying one of the most famous soundtracks in the world, thousands flock each year to witness the masked Phantom fall in love with the beautiful Christine. The must-see tale is now being played out in Her Majesty’s Theatre.

4) The Woman in Black

Currently performing at the Fortune Theatre, the cast and crew of The Woman in Black will celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary in June 2014. The story was made into a major motion picture starring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in 2012, which no doubt escalated its popularity with younger audiences.

Of course, such popular productions rarely discount tickets – but there are a few ways to get your hands on top seats without breaking the bank. There’s the obvious: don’t go on a weekend. Weekday and matinee shows are always the cheaper option, and you can save a lot of money by taking a day off to indulge yourself in a theatre trip rather than waiting until the weekend.

There’s also third-party ticket vendors which sell on-the-day tickets and returns, sometimes at knock-down prices. Although these are a rarity, it’s well worth giving them a visit if you’re in the West End and fancy an impulsive trip to a show.

Combining a show with a meal could also save you a small fortune – many third-party sites will include a pre-dining option close to the theatre of your choice, and it’s usually much cheaper than finding your own restaurant.

Make sure you check out several comparison sites before making your booking – it may be that one has a flash sale or a few cheap tickets on selected dates, which are not offered on other websites. Also remember to keep your eyes peeled for email alerts from vendors and third party sites which may offer discounted tickets for a limited time. It’s well worth signing up to a few websites which offer this service – one of your favourite shows is bound to appear at some point.



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