See these amazing shows based on best-selling books in the West End!
Curling up with a new book is a wonderful way to relax. Going on journeys with fictional characters can change your life, and you’ll dream of embarking on unbelievable adventures in real life. But what if you could see your favourite storybook characters for yourself? Plenty of West End shows are based on books, and they’re bringing the literary world to life in exciting ways.
Literary characters like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Matilda in Matilda the Musical or Lyra Belacqua in The Book of Dust will take the stage in London this season. Or you can see classics in a new way with shows like Life of Pi and Witness for the Prosecution. Get your book club together and see your favourite reads come to life at the theatre.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
While longtime fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe may have a clear picture of Narnia in their minds, this endlessly creative staging will surprise audiences. C. S. Lewis’s Narnia tale sees the Pevensie siblings discover a new world on their doorstep — or through the wardrobe — that’s there’s for the taking. Who will you side with? Aslan, or the White Witch?
Harper Lee only published two books in her lifetime, but she’s hailed as one of the greatest American authors of all time. Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is considered a literary masterpiece, and now it’s coming to the West End in 2022. Rafe Spall plays venerated defense lawyer Atticus Finch, who represents a wrongly accused Black man Tom Robinson in a case that divides 1930s Alabama. Like the original novel, Atticus’s daughter Scout tells the story onstage. All rise for To Kill a Mockingbird. Take your seats now.
Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, Life of Pi, isn’t just about a young boy spending over 200 days on a life boat after a shipwreck with animals for company. It’s an existential reflection on life, whether it be philosophical discussions, behaving piously, or just surviving at sea. After an award-winning book and a critically acclaimed film adaptation, Life of Pi is now getting the stage treatment, complete with a puppet of Bengal tiger Richard Parker. Venture on the journey of a lifetime at Life of Pi.
Hands up if you’ve ever read a Roald Dahl story? The children’s writer penned stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and The Witches. But it’s the story of Matilda, a gifted child who defeats her headmistress with special powers, that’s captured the hearts of West End theatregoers. For over 10 years, Matilda has wowed audiences with its clever choreography and British charm. Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty, but with Matilda Wormwood, everything is oh so nice.
You’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, so you’ll know of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. But how did she gain her wickedly ways? In 1995, Gregory Maguire wrote a prequel which explored Elphaba and Glinda’s friendship, and ultimate demise. Wicked dramatises these stories, and the hit musical has seen Elphaba fly at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for over 15 years. Instead of flicking through the pages to find out the answers, discover what really happened between Elphaba and Glinda in Oz at the theatre.
Not only is Agatha Christie a crime writing mastermind, her stories have taken over the West End. The Mousetrap continues its record-breaking engagement as the longest-running play of all time, and Witness for the Prosecution has transformed London County Hall into an immersive theatre. Witness for the Prosecution is adapted from Christie’s 1925 story, “Traitor’s Hands” and follows a man called to the stand in a murder trial. Book jury seats and you’ll play a crucial role in deciding whether one man can walk free.