Love is a many splendored thing, but how do you choose the perfect theatre show for that special someone in your life? Using the most romantic movie of all time, we’ve unravelled the top ten Love Actually moments to match them with their perfect Valentine’s & Galentine’s theatre gifts!
But this heart-shaped holiday isn’t just the preserve of the already loved-up. For all us singles, there’s also the more recently arrived Galentine’s Day. This tradition began in a 2010 episode of Emmy-nominate sitcom Parks and Recreation and it’s grown and grown ever since. Now, this annual celebration of female friendship is a fixture in the theatre calendar – a sort of Valentines Eve to celebrate the love we all share.
So sit back, pop the champagne cork and dive into a box of your fave chocolates as we take a trip through this selection box of love in all its varieties!
John & Judy
Remember that time you agreed to be a stand-in for an adult film? No, us neither. Still, if you’re one of those lucky people with the body of a greek god and the confidence to show it off, at least you won’t find these saucy scenes with (Judy) Joanna Page and (John) Martin Freeman as cringeworthy as we all do. Still, they’re a pertinent reminder that love comes in all shapes and sizes and sometimes take a bit of practice.
Love-o-meter: 7/10 (three points off for cheating by having a lighting designer in bed with you)
Perfect show for an honest look at love: Cinderella
At the Gillian Lynne Theatre from 30 April 2021
Find tickets from £23.40
Juliet, Peter & Mark
Remember that scene where Juliet (Keira Knightley) who just married Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) answers the door to Mark (Andrew Lincoln)? Well, assuming you can get past how Andrew Lincoln’s character would explain away the enormous A2 placards if his best mate had got to the door first, this grand romantic gesture is now a classic movie moment. Who hasn’t found themselves in a dysfunctional love-triangle and tried to use stationery as a way out? Erm….
Love-o-meter: 7/10 (lost marks for fancying your best mate’s girlfriend)
Perfect show for looking at love on an angle: & Juliet
At the Shaftesbury Theatre from 28 May 2021
Find tickets from £23.40
Colin, Tony & that American trip
Tony (Abdul Salis) tells Colin (Kris Marshall) he’s crazy to go Wisconsin on holiday (not a bad point to be fair). So, when Colin leaves his pal and arrives in the US (with no awkward questions at immigration about why he has nowhere to stay), it’s a little surprising that he winds up in a steamy foursome with three beautiful Americans. Not so much “love actually” as “what, honestly?”.
Love-o-meter: 8/10 (In your dreams, Colin – 2 points off for the terrible shirt).
Perfect show for a girls night out (without Colin): Magic Mike Live!
At the London Hippodrome from 16 April 2021
Find tickets from £46.80
Sarah, Karl and Michael
One of the most frustrating storylines in Love Actually is the brewing office romance between Sarah (Laura Linney) and Karl (Rodrigo Santoro). Things are way overcomplicated by Sarah’s inability to just tell Karl that she’s her brother’s carer. But then lots of us are hesitant to open up to people and that’s probably the point. Still, who hasn’t watched the movie at least once and found themselves screaming “JUST TELL HIM. HE’LL UNDERSTAND!”
Love-o-meter: 6/10 (It would have been higher if she’d only told Karl…)
Perfect show for hidden identities: The Art of Banksy
50 Earlham St, West End from 20 May 2021
Find Tickets from £25.80
Daniel, Sam & Joanna
The more we love someone, the more it hurts to lose them. Daniel (Liam Neeson) gives one of the most heartfelt performances in the film as recently widowed dad to Sam (Thomas Sangster), struggling to deal with his own feelings while helping Sam deal with his grief. Sam seems to have recovered pretty quickly through a combination of playing the drums and falling in love with his classmate, Joanna (Olivia Olson). That’s kids for you…
Love-o-meter: 8/10 (for the dad/son bond, not the unconvincing juvenile crush)
Perfect show for family bonding: Mamma Mia!
At the Novello Theatre from 7 June 2021
Find tickets from £18.00
Jamie and Aurélia
If there had been apps like Apple itranslate in 2003, this storyline might never have happened. Back then, if you fell in love with someone who spoke a completely different language, you had 2 options: 1) Just snog and point at things, or 2) Go to evening classes. Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz) seem to have chosen a little of both, which is what made this plot so endearing. They also spent quite a lot of their relationship in a lake, which works in any language.
Love-o-meter: 9/10 (anyone who takes an evening class to speak to you is a keeper)
Perfect show for people who let the music do the talking: Tubular Bells: Live in Concert
At the Royal Festival Hall from 7 August 2021
Find tickets from £35.40
David and Natalie
As office romances go, the story of David (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) is a little cliché – man in position of power starts relationship with female secretary…the film gets away with it because, aside from flirting over the fondant fancies and visiting her family to sing carols, nothing really happens. Well, except for Prime Minister David riding to Natalie’s rescue by standing up to a corrupt, sleazy President of the USA. And of course “that dance”. Actually, we’d even forgive the terrible dancing for a PM who stood up to the last President…
Love-o-meter: 8/10 (we had to knock two points off for the Downing Street Shuffle)
Perfect show for Galentine’s Day: The Drifters Girl
At the Garrick Theatre from 4 November 2021
Find tickets from £24.00
Billy Mack and Joe
One of the most original, and believable, relationships in Love Actually is that of ageing rocker Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) and his long-suffering manager and friend, Joe (Gregor Fisher). The fact that Joe’s actually a bit in love with Billy (even if just b-romantically) really helps us understand why Joe would put up with all the years of drug-fuelled abuse. We all have at least one friend who is a complete nightmare. If you don’t know who yours is, then it may well be you!
Love-o-meter: 9/10 (only losing a point for the terrible tinsel)
Perfect show to celebrate friendship: Anything Goes
At the Barbican Theatre from 8 May 2021
Find tickets from £25.00
Harry, Karen and Mia
One of the reasons Love Actually is beginning to show its age, is the sheer number of male boss/female PA – type relationships. Harry (Alan Rickman) shows Karen (Emma Thompson) his thanks for a lifetime of commitment by starting an affair with Mia (Heiki Makatsch). To make matters worse, when Karen unwraps a CD instead of a necklace for Christmas, she realises that their marriage is over. Of course, the other option is that the necklace was actually in one of the other unopened boxes, but that’s just being picky about plot-holes.
Love-o-meter: 9/10 (for Emma Thompson’s tearjerking turn and Alan Rickman’s velvety voice)
Perfect show for turning the clock back: Back To The Future
At the Adelphi Theatre from 14 May 2021
Find tickets from £22.48
On the surface, it might seem like Rufus (Rowan Atkinson) drew the short straw in Love Actually as the only character without an on-screen relationship. But we think that love is about more than just what we see on the surface. Every one of us is loved, whether or not we live alone, and whether or not we have family around us. Our lives are interconnected in ways we never really consider and each and every one of us has a story that interlinks and overlaps with others, at work, with friends, online and in a million other ways. That’s what Rufus represents and that’s why for us, he’s the true star of Love Actually.
Love-o-meter: 10/10 (for representing the love in every one of us)
Perfect show to celebrate being single: Six
At the Arts Theatre from 20 April 2021
Find tickets from £28.75
In the mood for romance? Take our fun love-o-metric compatibility test and find your perfect Musical Theatre love match!