London Book-Musicals


I recently visited London (again) and this time I decided to finally go see some shows.

I went to 4 musicals, almost all book-related, with the exception of Lion King. But who doesn’t love Lion King?

I am not a crazy musical fan as you might think after this post.

With the exception of Lion King, I would prefer all the others to be just theater. Or to be more correct, remove the ballads! I find ballads in musicals very boring.

I will present the four musicals here. You can see their trailers by clicking on the titles.

1. Lion King

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The first one I saw, the most expensive and the best!

I was sitting on the last row (45 british pounds!), so I couldn’t really see the actors’ faces, but everything was clearly visible and audible.

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This musical was really ART.

The way they made the costumes was amazing, the choreographies were very nice, the different sets were perfect, in a minimalistic style.

And keep in mind that this was the hardest story of all four I saw to be transfer into live show. All the characters are animals!

The script was almost exactly the same as the cartoon movie, with the addition of a couple of more scenes and songs and also some more funny moments.

I definitely recommend watching it if you ever go to London.

(actually I think they show it in other countries, it will soon come to the Netherlands, so search, maybe it is closer to you than you expect!)

2. Matilda

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This is the one I liked the least of all.

The set was amazing as you can see in this photo:


I really liked the opening song about spoiled kids, I liked Matilda’s family and of course mrs Trunchbull (played by a man and very very funny). All the sets were amazing: mainly the school and the library, but also miss Honey’s home and Matilda’s home.

What I didn’t like:

  • Matilda: I didn’t like the little girl playing her and also I couldn’t understand a word she was saying when she sang. They chose to portray her as audacious, while in my opinion she was a nice girl that had to make some “naughty” things to punish bad people. But in the book these pranks were fun, in the musical they seemed mean.
  • The changes in the story: the writers chose to insert a whole different story that Matilda narrates to the librarian and then they tied it to miss Honey’s life story. It was not a good choice in my opinion, I would prefer to leave the book as it is, making only the necessary adaptations to turn it into a musical. There were some good minor story changes however.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

One of my favorite books as a kid.

I think the musical was very good, they transferred the book into a play with a great success.

Once again the sets were amazing. I couldn’t get a nice photo before the show started, but there were many Willy Wonka stuff lying around the theater like this awesome cotton candy stand:


And the theater staff was also dressed accordingly!2015-10-19 19.24.54

I really liked Charlie’s home and how they chose to portray the other 4 kids.

I think the best part was when they were announcing the golden ticket winners on a big TV.

The chocolate factory was of course not as I imagined 🙂 but it was not bad.

They only showed part of the chocolate waterfall room and then went to the special rooms (inventions, squirrels and tv-room), which are more “scientific” then “dream-come-true-drooling” anyway.

As you can see, I bought the book… again…

But I don’t have it in English…. (ok, I admit that I actually bought it for the cover).

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I also bought this ridiculously expensive charm bracelet, which actually broke (by itself!) while I was still watching the musical!

Thankfully I could change it during the break.

I found the “Willy Wonka Gobstopper” in a London candy store. I believe that no one is allowed to make a Willy Wonka chocolate bar. But for some reason, in my mind Willy Wonka chocolate is Cadburys Dairy Milk.

And after trying some new Cadburys flavors during this trip, this feeling got reinforced!

Try them if you can find them!

I seem to have a hard time locating them online (even descriptions of them), but they sell them at the airports:

Jelly Popping Candy Shells  (explodes in your mouth!)

Cookie Nut Crunch (my favorite!)

Rocky Mallow Road (with marshmallows!)

4. Wicked

I have to admit that before the musical’s break, when I wandered off to the theater gift shop, I had no idea that Wicked was a book.

Even more embarrassing, before I planned my visit to London, I didn’t even know it was a Wizard of Oz spin-off

And to make things worse, I have to admit that I haven’t even read the Wizard of Oz… or whatever that book is actually called.

I only knew it was a very famous musical so I decided to go watch it.

Some hours before the show, I read a Wizard of Or recap online to be prepared.

This time, I was sitting in the very front, but side, so I couldn’t see the whole stage.

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It was very annoying at first, but soon I got so absorbed in the story that I totally forgot about it.

This was the only musical that was a new story to me, all the others I had read or watched literally dozens of times.

I was worried that I wouldn’t liked it, but I was totally wrong.

I loved the story! Especially the magic-college part.

There were many funny moments inserted in the story and Glinda was a delight.

Probably because it is a show that has been going on for many years, the sets was much less impressive then the other three shows I watched, although there were some impressive parts:

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It wasn’t bad, but the other three shows were extremely impressive set-wise.

The costumes and the choreographies were very good and so were the actors.

And since I really liked the story, I bought the book:

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I will read first read the Wizard of Oz (or whatever it is called) that just arrived and then I will read this.

Now that I looked around on Goodreads a little bit, it looks like both of them are two series of books? Did I understand correctly? This Oz thing is so confusing! Maybe I should just watch the movie…


2 thoughts on “London Book-Musicals

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