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Help: never been to london!!

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wickedkiwi
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joined:8/5/04
Stand-by
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8/5/04
Help: never been to london!!#1
Posted: 4/12/08 at 1:25pm
Ok so: I am spending May 31-June 3rd and June 16-18 in London, and I have absolutely NO idea what to see.

What's going on over there that's exciting?

Granted, aside from catching Gone With The Wind/Lord of the Rings (curiosity mostly, are they any good?), I'd rather spend my time watching something by an established company or brand new, not necessarily commercial stuff (equivalent of off-broadway). That said, what shows should I see? Any particular companies I should check out? Hot new plays from hot new/established playwrights/directors? Any particularly good actor vehicles???

I'm sorry I just have no idea where to begin!!
Tenme por lo que soy, por lo que puedo ser, y si te importo hoy, tenme nena, o vete!
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Weez
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/16/05
re: Help: never been to london!!#2
Posted: 4/12/08 at 2:28pm
What you want is the National Theatre. http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ They have three theatres in the complex and like to do repertory, so you can generally have up to six shows running at any one time.

I'd come up with some other ideas, but I'm massively braindead right now. Hohum...
exedore
Broadway Legend
joined:4/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/20/05
re: Help: never been to london!!#2
Posted: 4/12/08 at 8:10pm
The National is always good, and tickets can be had for very cheap. I liked Lord of the Rings as a spectacle that cuts to the chase (despite its long runtime), but that's a very minority opinion. Spacey's also doing a fantastic job with the Old Vic, and this year's season has been extremely solid. It's also hard to go wrong with anything at Trafalgar Studios (Studio 1 is extended run transfers, Studio 2 is touring/workshops).

Good places for alternative theatre: Barbican/BITE, Battersea Arts Centre (a nightmare to get to your first time, be warned), the Bush, the Gate, the King's Head, and many many more. The best thing to do is pick up Time Out and read the West End Whinger blog to get a feel for what's on and exciting.

That said, you may need to adjust your expectations. London doesn't really have the comfortable Off-Broadway scene that New York does, and you either have the Fringe or the high end subsidised houses/West End. There are a few places (e.g. the Chocolate Factory) trying to rebrand themselves as "Off-West End" but it's not catching on well and the terms are nowhere near as clear-cut or defined as in NYC. Case in point, Trafalgar 2 is 140 seats but classified as West End. Upstairs at the Gatehouse (in lovely Highgate) has 128 seats but gets listed as Fringe despite a populist artistic policy.
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Scripps2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/19/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/19/08
re: Help: never been to london!!#3
Posted: 4/13/08 at 5:04pm
There are also some good recomendations on this link which are recent

http://westend.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=962444&dt=12&boardid=3