If you love culture and the performing arts and are traveling to England for the summer, we recommend some of the best theatrical productions on the London stage, classic plays and successful comedies that have earned great reviews from the critics as well as the demanding London audiences. But if you prefer musicals, see here the best of the season in The West End.
Gielgud Theatre // Until June 7, 2014
The great Angela Lansbury, a living legend of theater, film and television, returns to London’s West End after 40 years— in a new stage production by Noël Coward— to become Madame Arcati, an eccentric woman with supernatural powers who gets invited by the noble writer Charles Condomine to perform a seance at his mansion with the idea of gathering material for his next book. While in a trance, Madame Arcati inadvertently summons the ghost of Elvira, Condomine‘s late wife, who becomes a mocking, mischievous spirit that tries at all cost to get back her husband to the detriment of Ruth, his current wife. Blithe Spirit is a comedy starring well-known actors, which features a clueless medium, a husband, two women facing each other and a whisper of continuous and rampant mischief in the air.
Aldwych Theatre // Until September 6, 2014
The prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company presents the play Wolf Hall, the first part of a series of novels by Hilary Mantel on the historical figure of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to power. Mike Poultons, a famous English playwright known for his thrilling stage adaptations, conceived this theatrical version, masterfully directed by Jeremy Herrin. The London Review highlights this adaptation as unique, exemplary and magnificent, as the exceptional cast offers a first-rate theatrical performance. Particularly noteworthy are Ben Miles, who plays a lucid and rational Thomas Cromwell; Lucy Briers, as the stoic Catherine of Aragon; Paul Jesson,in the role of the scheming Cardinal Wolsey; and Nathaniel Parker, with a stunning and unforgettable performance as an irate Henry VIII.
Vaudeville Theatre // Until August 2, 2014
Considered by the critics a wickedly captivating comedy, Handbagged, the new work by playwright Moira Buffini and directed by Indhu Rubasingham, explores the relationship between two of the most important British women of the 20th century: Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Two female icons who were born just six months apart, one to govern and the other chosen to lead. Who had—in fact— the upper hand, and what did the world’s most powerful women talk about when the gates of Buckingham Palace were closed? The answer can be found at the Vaudeville Theatre in London, in a mise en scène that will be in theaters until next August. ■