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 Life of Pi and Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of). Get your book club together and see your favourite reads come to life at the theatre.
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.
Stories by Neil Gaiman make readers use their wildest imagination to get to grips with characters and scenes. Now, these unbelievable moments are coming to life in the West End, thanks to the stage adaptation of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The mystical story follows two young people who venture back in time, left with no choice but to rescue themselves from demons. Be spellbound by fanciful imagery, and then cry at heartfelt moments. Visit a new world in the West End — it’s yours for the taking.
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.
If you’ve read the British classics, it’s likely you’ll have read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The romantic novel features the heartthrob Mr. Darcy, who shakes up a local community and its single women. Pride and Prejudice is synonymous with love, lust, and heartache, but what if Pride and Prejudice was the basis for 1990s girlpower? Think Spice Girl meets Bridgerton in this modern adaptation, which rolls the Jane Austen story with pop songs. Get your microphones at the ready!
Philip Pullman is a master at fantasy writing. The stage adaptation of his bestselling novel, His Dark Materials, garnered success with two Olivier wins. Now, there’s a brand new Philip Pullman story on stage, as The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage transforms the Bridge Theatre into a make-believe wonderland. The fantasy play is a prequel to His Dark Materials, and tells of two young people who are tasked with raising Lyra Belacqua. Are you ready to delve into a new world?
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.