Dec 302012
Best shows to see with children

Best shows to see  with children?

Bringing the family to London for a theatre break is a great treat to look forward to in the grey days of January in the UK. I thought I’d suggest a few shows that the whole family can enjoy whatever their age. These are my choice for the best shows to see with children in London, Spring 2013

Matilda the Musical

Matilda at the Cambridge theatreThe obvious hot ticket is Matilda. It has been a huge box office draw and is really popular with almost everyone over the age of 7. The show tells Roald Dahl’s beloved story of Matilda, her ghastly family, the vile and powerful Miss Trunchbull and the lovely but rather wet Miss Honey. We see the growth of Matilda’s special powers brought to life with some brilliant and baffling special effects. There is lots of humour, some great ensemble singing and dancing from the troupe of young performers. Really the show is a great rollicking romp which anyone from 9 to 90 is going to be swept along with and enjoy. Even the critics love it and with good reason.
One word of warning, if you have a particularly sensitive 7 year old you might want to think twice. Miss Trunchbull is genuinely scary and vividly portrayed, and can cause nightmares!
If you do want to see Matilda then you may find it hard to get tickets unless you can be flexible about your dates and times. Matilda is such a hit it almost never appears on the discount theatre tickets lists. One way to get reasonably priced tickets is as part of a theatre break. You can check out Matilda theatre breaks on our Readers Offer site here.

The Lion King

Theatre breaks in Manchester - The Lion King

The Lion King

My second choice is the Disney classic The Lion King. You can’t fault it really. It is a wonderful, touching story which is easy to follow and probably already well known to most children in the UK. The costumes, dancing and spectacle of the staging make the Lion King a good choice for all ages and genders. Boys in particular seem to enjoy the show, which is not always the case. (I’m in dangerous waters here but I know that some boys have found Wicked, well, a bit girly. Ducks for cover!) There are moments in the Lion King that are spine tingling.
The Lion King has been on in the West end for many years and is not quite such a hot ticket It is therefore easier to get it as part of a reasonably priced theatre breaks package. You can check prices and dates for Lion King theatre breaks on our Readers Offer site here.

Shrek or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
For my third choice I’m torn between two shows, one that’s almost finished (Shrek) and one that hasn’t started yet (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Shrek at Theatre Royal Drury Lane If you want to go early in 2013 then Shrek is a great and an under-rated choice. Although the show is closing on 24th February 2013 it is still an excellent show and children love the story. There is also the advantage that there are some bargains to be had, if you are quick, even for theatre breaks. For example, at the moment, you can get a February  self drive Friday night ticket to see Shrek and a hotel theatre break for under £100 each! There are coach break available too. Have a look (Note – at first it looks as if it costs over £100 per person but that can drop once you choose your dates)
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory If you can wait a bit longer then book

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know it’s not till June but it is going to be worth waiting for! I’ve had to slightly eat my words about this show. It looks like it is going to be fabulous and of course it is Roald Dahl again. His story telling has a direct line to children and it looks like this production will do him proud.
While you wait for the show why not read the book with the children? I’m serious, even if they are old enough to read it themselves they will get far more out of it if you read it with them. Try sharing reading aloud, taking turns. (Ooops, sorry takes teacher hat off!) Sir Quentin Blake’s illustrations are such a joy they really should be the first model children have for all the Roald Dahl characters.
This is one show that it is probably worth booking well in advance as tickets are going to be popular. Prices for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theatre breaks are still quite reasonable but if it is a big hit they will go up. Have a look at advanced booking for a theatre break here.

Four really great shows to take children to see in the West End

So there you are, three, well four, really, great shows to take children to see in the West End. The great thing about all these shows is that they really are family entertainment. It will be no torment for any adult to sit through these shows and in fact many of the audience will be grown-ups out to see a good show. They all have matinee performances but even quite young children can cope with an evening performance if that’s what you want to do. Children are far more flexible in these matters than we sometimes think and the magic of the theatre will keep even the sleepiest child awake beyond their normal bedtime.

Need more advice about things to do in London with children? See this post.

 Posted by at 12:41 pm

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