10 moments we're excited for when the West End returns
| By Jade Ali
Theatre and live entertainment have amplified their importance in their absence. Culture is food for the soul and London is lucky to be crammed full of theatres and venues, with the West End at the heart of it. The days are bleaker without the shining lights of London theatres, but the West End will light up again and here are just some of the moments we’re looking forward to the most.
Live theatre has the power to put you through a full rollercoaster of emotions but those moments that have you feeling empowered are certainly unbeatable. ‘Roar’ from & Juliet always makes my soul set on fire and I can’t wait for the day that I see Juliet rising up, sparks flying and the ensemble doing that iconic dance #IfYouKnowYouKnow
Moments of elation
So many shows make you feel like you’ve ascended to another plain. The moment when your heart soars and swells with utter delight – those are special times, and we can’t wait to return to that. ‘Welcome to the Rock’ from Come From Away is a number that always guarantees the biggest smile on my face; I’m waiting for the day when the Come From Away company stomps up the Phoenix Theatre stage again!
The incredible thing about theatre is that there is so much room for variety, different stories, different styles, different settings, etc. No matter what it is, there’s nothing like seeing a show that has you on your feet come curtain call. If you’ve seen a moving play or a pioneering performance, you want to show your appreciation and what better way than clapping until your hands hurt. Standing ovations are particularly fun with feel-good musicals that get you dancing and maybe even singing along. Take me to the day when I’m dancing along to ‘Proud Mary’ at TINA.
The way a show opens has a lot of power as it sets the mood, and no one wants a slow burner. The opening takes you out of the real world and immerses you into the show you’re set to see. So many memorable openings come to mind but I know when I hear the words “Divorced, Beheaded, Died” at the start of Six, I am going to have to muffle my screams of pure delight.
Muffling your laughter
Whether it’s your favourite genre or not, you can’t underestimate the power of comedy. Maybe you prefer a musical with plenty of laughter or maybe you want a side-splitting show. The moment when you have to muffle your laughter is undeniably one of the greatest parts of live theatre. The Play That Goes Wrong is a show that always guarantees I’ll need to tame my laughter at various points.
Let me set the mood: The usher has just directed you to your seat as you balance your ticket, your drink and your programme in your hands. You say “excuse me” and apologise to every person you pass, who stand or move their legs to make room as you shuffle to your seat. You pull down the plush red seat and set yourself down, peering at the stage as you shrug out of your coat and get comfy. All the while, there is a carefully selected, pre-show playlist that blankets the auditorium. What theatre do you envision yourself in?
For me, I’m sitting in the Shaftesbury Theatre, waiting to see & Juliet, as a mix of nineties and noughties music plays on.
Trying not to sing along
Unless you’re at a dedicated sing-a-long performance, you know you need to refrain from singing along but they sure do make it a challenge. Whether you’re seeing your favourite musical with a soundtrack you have on repeat or you’re seeing a jukebox musical that is jam-packed with hits, the temptation to sing can be near overwhelming. Watching shows at home are fun because you can sing along but I can’t wait for the day of biting my cheeks and being in awe of an incredibly talented cast.
Being one with an audience
An unbeatable feeling is being a part of an audience. There’s something truly special about going on the same journey as hundreds of people around you. Being a part of an audience is such a unifying experience and one that’s going to hit different when we return to the West End.
Live theatre is a unique experience in many ways but a moment I’m looking forward to is being in that magical bubble. The moment where everything melts away and for 2 hours nothing else exists or matters. Live theatre has the power to whisk you away and command attention seemingly effortlessly. You sit back and you’re taken on a journey; the cast and crew create a whole new world that you can escape into and it's magical.
Maybe we didn’t always appreciate intervals enough in the past but that’s a moment that I’m looking forward to. The music and lights die out and the safety curtain comes down as the auditorium lights come up. You’re buzzing with thoughts and feelings all whilst rushing to restrooms and/or the bar. Everyone is chatting away, excitement fills the air and the atmosphere is magical. You’re in the in-between, where you’re half immersed in the show, but can stop for a moment to really appreciate it all, before diving back in. And not forgetting, #IntervalTweet – I can’t wait for those!