9 Shows to Keep You Smiling on Blue Monday
After three weeks of January, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed or to get caught up in the stress of these tough winter days, but don’t forget the West End is here for you all year round if you need an evening of self-care. Monday, January 21 is “Blue Monday,” i.e. the saddest day of the year, but we’ve got plenty of joy right here.
The London theatre scene is always alight with cheery shows to keep your spirits up when you’re feeling low. Grab your tix now and fill your winter with high notes instead!
There is no way to not be in a good mood after watching children sing spirited songs composed by a famous comedian based on a novel by an adored children’s writer. Heartwarming and hysterical at the same time, Tim Minchin’s beloved West End musical “Matilda” is the perfect fix for a dour mood. With it’s magical message of overcoming obstacles using only the power of the mind, you’ll be inspired to have a positive attitude that lasts through the winter.
The Play That Goes Wrong
If you’re feeling down on yourself because you’ve already failed your New Year’s resolution, sometimes there’s no better fix than watching other people fail more. “The Play That Goes Wrong” perfects the art of screwing up in this silly slapstick show in which a bumbling cast and crew bungle their murder mystery. After seeing this catastrophe, you will feel more than capable of tackling your goals again.
School of Rock
Fans of the 2004 film will already know the heartwarming story at the core of this exuberant musical. A man who cons his way into being a substitute teacher finds his ticket to winning the Battle of the Bands with his class of tiny punk rockers. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes with a cast made up of incredibly talented adolescents, “School of Rock” has all the ingredients of a proper mood-booster.
It’s basically a scientific certainty that it is humanly impossible to be in a bad mood after listening to two hours of ABBA. “Mamma Mia!” has been delighting theatre audiences in London since the 90s, and can turn even the worst of bad days around. Take an evening for yourself and bop along to your favourite songs. Bonus: They’ll be stuck in your head for days so the good mood will last that much longer.
Everybody’s Talking about Jamie
Though the dreary lack of sunshine in these deep winter months can be difficult to conquer, thankfully there are few shows with a sunnier attitude than “Everybody’s Talking about Jamie.” This five-star musical lights up the West End with its positive message to celebrate individuality with a “joyous punch in the air about following your dreams and being yourself” (Time Out).
A surefire way to stave off a cloudy mood is to immerse yourself in the nonsensical world of the idealistic, bumbling hero Don Quixote. This production of the timeless farce from the Royal Shakespeare Company stars David Threlfall and Rufus Hound and doesn’t stray from the play’s tradition of delivering pure joy.
For someone who’s in a funk, the best remedy is loads more funk! For almost three years now, London has hosted a little piece of the Detroit spirit, lifting moods to the sounds of “Motown.” The musical soul of the Motor City is crammed with familiar tunes like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” All in all, even in the dead of winter, it’s impossible to leave this show without “Dancing in the Street.”
Feeling too depressed to decide which musical to see? Why not let the absurdly talented cast of “Showstopper!” make one up for you? This “ingenious and engaging mix of improvisation and musical theatre” throws together a completely new show every single night (Guardian). Without missing a beat, the cast concocts hilarious parodies and clever storylines for a high-flying joyride to make you forget any winter woes.
The Book of Mormon
If the grumpy voice in your head is telling you to hide away for the rest of January, well “Turn It Off” and go see “The Book of Mormon” instead. This brilliantly cheeky comedy from the writers of “South Park” has been sending audiences into fits of giggles in the West End since 2013. An irreverent musical about two idealistic missionaries in war-torn Africa, “The Book of Mormon” may bring tears to your eyes, but only because you’ll be trying to control your laughter.