Theatreland favourites in final flourish

Reporter: Robin Johnson, first published Sat 07 Jan 2017 10:00

One of the hallmarks of a great theatre show is how long the remnants of the experience stay with you after the final curtain has gone down; the sights, the sounds, and the electrifyingly invigorating atmosphere that go hand-in-hand with witnessing a world class production in London’s Theatreland.

So it’s some feat to provide those same sensations to audiences for performance runs that stretch across many months, let alone years. But having enchanted both new and returning audience members alike night after night, 4 such acclaimed productions are set to play their final shows this weekend and take some well-deserved final bows, a fitting farewell to some of London’s biggest hit shows.

The Bodyguard
Must End Saturday 7 January

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard (Photo: Paul Coltas)

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard (Photo: Paul Coltas)

A musical with so many awe-inspiring vocals, you’ll be set for your shower karaoke performances for days afterwards. The Bodyguard received 4 Olivier Award nominations in its original 2014 West End run before embarking on a UK tour in 2015-16, arriving at the Dominion Theatre in July 2016.

Chock-full of a whole host of Whitney Houston classics - take your pick from numbers like So Emotional, Saving All My Love, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, One Moment In Time and I Will Always Love You, to name but a few - this production’s show-stopping songs are superbly performed by Beverley Knight and supported by eye-popping visual spectacle in abundance.

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard (Photo: Paul Coltas)

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard (Photo: Paul Coltas)

The combination of the cast’s seemingly effortless talent and the show’s stylistic bravado surely mean that many theatregoers will eagerly await the return of this electrifying musical romantic thriller.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Must End Saturday 7 January

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly four years since Director Sam Mendes first invited us into his beautiful realisation of Roald Dahl’s World Of Pure Imagination. But this weekend, we find ourselves bidding a fond farewell to this ingeniously staged and visually spectacular musical adaptation of one of literature’s most deliciously dark tales, set in the delightful splendour of the titular Chocolate Factory.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Winner of two Olivier Awards in 2014, and nominated for 5 others, the wondrous world of Willy Wonka has captivated West End audiences with its depictions of sugary corridors, edible delights, chocolate gardens, squirrel armies, eccentric confectioners and, of course, the Oompa-Loompas.

Audiences on the other side of the Atlantic can look forward to their golden tickets arriving soon, with the show transferring to Broadway later this year.

In The Heights
Must End Sunday 8 January

Sam Mackay and the company of In The Heights (Photo: Johan Persson)

Sam Mackay and the company of In The Heights (Photo: Johan Persson)

At In The Heights' recent one year anniversary performance, producer Paul Taylor-Mills perhaps best summed up the journey that the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical had been on: "… two and a half years ago, everyone told us not to do it… but here we are.”

Here we are indeed, 4 Olivier Award nominations - including 3 wins - later. Since taking residence at the King's Cross Theatre in October 2015, the sizzling salsa musical has captured hearts and minds with its vibrant, effervescent performance, toe-tapping music and lyrics, jaw-dropping choreography, and its almightily passionate heart.

The company of In The Heights (Photo: Johan Persson)

The company of In The Heights (Photo: Johan Persson)

It's an irrepressible mix which has seen audiences jumping to their feet curtain call after curtain call, dancing along to the scorching beat. You can bet that London theatre aficionados won't have heard the last of Washington Heights and El Barrio.

The Railway Children
Must End Sunday 8 January

The Railway Children, now playing at King's Cross Theatre (Photo: Johan Persson)
The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre (Photo: Johan Persson)

And, finally, to the beloved Olivier Award-winning production of The Railway Children, the quite brilliant Entertainment show which continues to see families' collective jaws dropping in unison at the sight of a magnificent 60-tonne steam train making its way towards centre stage every night.

Complete with railway track and platforms, the King's Cross Theatre has played host to Mike Kenny's acclaimed stage adaptation of E Nesbit's popular novel since 2014, and has since whisked audiences away on the magical journey of siblings Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis in the countryside.

Full of joy, discovery, and friendship, there's been little more uplifting than the spirit of their adventures in a show packed full of wonder for all ages. Playing in tandem with In The Heightsm in their King's Cross home, the shows have truly transformed the face of Theatreland this decade.