Treat Yourself and Celebrate Self Care Week With These 10 Shows
It’s time to treat yourself. This week, Nov. 12-18, is Self Care Week, an NHS initiative encouraging awareness and support for people to take care of themselves physically and emotionally. When you’re not breaking out the sheet masks and bath salts, take the time to enjoy yourself at the theatre with these shows.
Here are some of the best London shows that tackle issues in a constructive and inspiring way.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
This heart-warming British musical (based on a real story) is about a teenage boy who wants to wear a dress to his school dance, but the story applies to anyone who’s ever felt different or excluded. Its call for tolerance is incredibly cathartic, and Dan Gillespie Sells’s pop score makes it a celebration. Bonus: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage is the latest cast addition.
Marianne Elliott’s gender-swapped production of the Sondheim classic makes the show feel thrillingly current. “Company” shows how coupling up doesn’t automatically bring total happiness and that marriage requires work and sacrifice. Rosalie Craig and Patti LuPone lead a brilliant ensemble, making this hugely entertaining, as well as thought-provoking.
I and You
Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones’s” Arya Stark) and Zach Wyatt star in Lauren Gunderson’s drama about two teens – one battling a lifelong illness – brought together by a school project on Walt Whitman. The story demonstrates how the pair come to understand themselves, and one another, through art.
The Height of the Storm
French playwright Florian Zeller addresses big themes in an elliptical way in “The Height of the Storm.” He immerses the audience in the emotions: the terror of grief, the confusion of failing faculties, and the hope for understanding. Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins are a dynamite duo in this production.
The Wipers Times
Amidst horror, sometimes laughter is the best remedy. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman tell the fascinating true story of the satirical newspaper created by British soldiers about life in the First World War trenches. Humour, here, equals civilisation, and keeps these men in touch with their community and humanity. Many will find inspiration in this uplifting tale of ingenuity, courage, and spirited defence of silliness.
Heathers: The Musical
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s musical also delves deep into adolescent angst – from bullying, homophobia, and suicide to eating disorders and school violence. As Veronica befriends the cool Heathers to gain social status, she slowly gets caught in the storm herself. Let all your angst out at this killer show.
Matthew Lopez’s landmark play asks what it means to be a gay man in New York a generation after the peak of the AIDS crisis. What is owed to previous generations? How much work is there still to do in order to overcome past traumas and find acceptance? This epic two-parter feels like bingewatching a boxset, thanks to director Stephen Daldry’s electrifying ensemble.
Everybody loves “Wicked” — and for good reason. The powerful story of friendship combined with fantastical visuals and that indelible score makes musical theatre magic. The musical tells an affecting tale of those who are misunderstood or discriminated against, and the importance of owning our power and using it to help others — an idea that is perhaps more resonant now than ever.
Lisa Carroll’s debut play, which was shortlisted for the Papatango New Writing Prize, follows a pair of alienated teens in Dublin. With its fresh, funny look at the realities of modern adolescence, the story touches on sexual politics, gender expectations, fraught friendships, and the challenges of figuring out who you are, where you belong, and how hard it is to break away from your past.
From struggling to find work during hard economic times to uncovering the confidence to pursue your dreams, “42nd Street” is always a relevant story. This show is a treat for anyone who needs joy in theatrical form.