Fun February Half-term inspiration!

We know it’s February and it’s freezing, but half term is going to roll around nonetheless and you certainly don’t want to be stuck inside all week. Lucky for you, London is host to a kaleidoscopic range of fun-fuelled and fascinating activities to keep you on your toes for the week! Check out our top picks below…

Musical magic…

Disney’s Aladdin

From award-winning Disney movie to smash hit musical comedy, Aladdin is an exuberant West End spectacular, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the much-loved Disney film, such as ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Friend Like Me’, as well as some brand new musical numbers for you and the kids to fall in love with. Book tickets for half-term now from £29.75.

Disney’s The Lion King

Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre

So we have a bit of a Disney theme going on right now, but we can’t help but spread the magic! What could be more special this half-term than seeing Disney’s longest running musical? Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, this multi Tony and Olivier award-winning musical will redefine your expectations of theatre. Book your tickets to experience the magic now.

Matilda The Musical

Hailed as a musical triumph and recipient of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, this fantastic piece of theatre continues to delight audiences. Matilda doesn’t just copy Roald Dahls’ classic tale, it adds new depth and is the perfect half-term treat for children of all ages and adults alike. Book tickets now from £23 and prepare to be blown away.

Exciting discoveries…

Body Worlds

Half-term is jam-packed with interactive activities across education, science, fun, health and wellbeing. Body Worlds have also partnered with The British Red Cross to offer guests CPR interactive workshops! There will be Medical Guides throughout half-term (12pm to 4pm) to answer questions on Mind, Body and Soul. Kids are also welcome to pick up and follow the brand-new Family Trail – all at no additional cost! Book tickets for a family-fun and fascinating day out now.

Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery


Take a trip to London’s Science Museum and explore the incredible wonder of Wonderlab. Kids can become scientists, fuel their imagination and immerse themselves in a world of wonder at this one-of-a-kind interactive gallery. A wonderful exhibition with several daily 20 min shows, this is a great experience for the whole family! Book tickets now.

Plays galore…

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

A perfect theatre trip for older children (recommended age is 11+), this story of discovery is funny, heart-warming and features an adorable treat at the end! Winner of 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards® including ‘Best Play’, don’t miss out on this unique play before it leaves the West End in April. Book selected tickets now with no fees.

The Wider Earth

The Wider Earth

Join a 22-year-old Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle’s daring voyage to the far side of the world, and discover the gripping story behind one of the most important discoveries in history. A perfect theatre trip for families this half-term, book tickets now from £23.50.

Opening soon…

February half-term may be just around the corner, but it’s never too early to start planning family activities! Read on for our top upcoming family shows!

The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice

Back on the Disney theme, but now with the added incredible element of ice-skating! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on an inspiring walk down memory lane in celebration of magic and family fun. With a national tour, this is the perfect trip for all the family! Book tickets now for a venue near you.

Where is Peter Rabbit?

Hop onto your seats and immerse yourself in the magical world of Beatrix Potter. Watch with delight as your favourite stories and most beloved characters are brought to life in this theatrical spectacular, with beautifully handcrafted puppets, enchanting original songs and a sprinkle of magic. Save up to 30% when booking for a family of four!

Beasts of London

Opening in April, Beasts of London explores the fascinating role animals have played in shaping the capital. Be guided through time, from the Roman era through Medieval London and right up to present day, narrated by the beasts themselves. Discover how animals – from lions and elephants, to horses, rats and pigeons – have shaped the city and its beastly history. Tickets start from just £8.80 – book now!

An American in Paris West End review round-up

Inspired by the Oscar-winning 1951 musical film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron – and first seen in 2014 in Paris and in 2015 on Broadway – An American in Paris is now dancing up a storm in the West End at the Dominion Theatre, with both leads firmly in place: the Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope and New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild.

One of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved musicals, An American in Paris tells the story of American GI Jerry Mulligan, an aspiring painter trying to make his way in Paris, who falls in love with young ballet dancer Lise.

The show received a phenomenal 28 five-star reviews after officially opening at the Dominion Theatre two weeks ago (Tuesday 21 March). Here we round up the reviews.

dancing aaip.pngPhotography by Tristram Kenton

Choreography 

It is undoubtedly Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography that steals the limelight. “The dancing is, if not the star, then certainly the moon” explains Anne Treneman (The Times: ★★★★★). Michael Arditti (Sunday Express: ★★★★★) agrees, describing it as being “of the highest calibre”, offering vibrant ensembles, jazzy solos and swooning duets. As pleasantly summed up by Ann Treneman, the balletic choreography, at times, truly takes your breath away.

aaip music

Set & Costume Design 

Mark Shenton (The Stage: ★★★★★) describes An American in Paris as a rare show where the designs also dance. The magnificent set and costume design by Bob Crowley, which are said to have “a touch of genius” (Michael Billington, The Guardian: ★★★★★), come an extremely close second to the choreography. The back-lit screens and sketches of rainy Parisian streets that change before your eyes are “so beautiful that you cannot help but fall in love with the city, too” (Ann Treneman, The Times). Further, the production, drenched in vivid colours, has a “visual splendour that few musicals can match” (Neil Norman, Express: ★★★★★).

aaip music

Music

In terms of music, the show offers lashings of gorgeous melody (Sarah Hemming, Financial Times: ★★★★★) and an eclectic range of Gershwin songs (Michael Billington, The Guardian). Rob Fisher eloquently adapts and arranges the musical score, including additional songs from the Gershwin catalogue (I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, They Can’t Take That Away From Me) to keep the show afloat, even in its darker moments (Neil Norman, Express).

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Casting

Wheeldon’s production has the luxury, original casting of New York Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet principal Leanne Cope, who are both effortless singers as well as “dazzling movers” (Mark Shenton, The Stage). Fairchild is excellent as Jerry: on top of being able to act and sing, he has the capacity to “glide effortlessly into a number” (Michael Billington, The Guardian). And gliding through them all is the “captivating Leanne Cope” (Georgina Brown, Daily Mail: ★★★★★), an exceptional ballet dancer blessed with a lovely voice.

Aside from the first-class leads, the support is labelled “impeccable” by Michael Billington (The Guardian) – Haydn Oakley lends an unexpected complexity; Zoe Rainey is an eminently stylish Milo, and David Seadon-Young is suitably sardonic as the aggrieved composer.

aaip music

An American in Paris – Overall

Overall, Mark Shenton (The Stage) gives much credit to Wheeldon for his “intricate command of both narrative and bold stage pictures”, in what is only his second time working on a musical. Similarly, Quintenn Letts (Daily Mail: ★★★★★) encourages us not to gripe about the staleness of the story, but instead celebrate the repeatedly inventive staging of Wheeldon and his designer Bob Crowley. 

An American in Paris has been showered in well-deserved five-star reviews from top critics, most notably from Shenton in The Stage, Treneman in The Times, and Letts in The Daily Mail, to name just a few. As eloquently put by Norman (Express), this Gerwshin-inspired show may not be the only musical-ballet hybrid, but it is almost certainly the best.

For a ‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvellous, ‘S Awful Nice evening, book your tickets to An American In Paris now.

The 20 Worst Musicals in History

We all have our favourite shows, the Book of Mormons and Harry Potters that keep the West End tills ringing…but every once in a while a show comes along that we love for all the WRONG reasons. Join us as we high-kick our way through 20 terrible West End Musicals which left their investors weeping and the critics licking their lips:  Read more

Here is how you can still see Nicole in CATS if you haven’t got a ticket yet.

The announcement of Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella has blown The Palladium Box Office with bookings and tickets were sold out within a few weeks of their release.

Since the show opening in December, reviews have been raving and several celebrities have been spotted in the audience – it seems this is THE West End event of the year (including 2014!) and getting hold of a ticket for performances before the 7 of February can be challenging indeed! So we thought we would help you out so you don’t miss out on all the fun.

GRAB THOSE DAY SEATS!

You will have to queue up. Get up early and arrive at the London Palladium Box Office before 8 am on the day of the performance you are aiming for – Day Seats are for the same day ONLY. There are around 40 tickets available every day (only) and they cost £25 each, but each person can buy only 2 tickets. You also MUST BUY WITH A DEBIT/ CREDIT CARD – they don’t take any cash over the counter. I have rang the Box Office and they haven’t seen anyone staying overnight yet – but I would try arriving very early just to make sure. The Box Office opens at 10 am and it sells out within a few minutes.

TRY THE SECONDARY MARKET

If you have some cash to spare (like over £100 per ticket) and want to book a little bit in advance then try STUBHUB (I have seen some tickets for £35 which seems a fair price to me). If you can’t find then go to SEATWAVE (but the prices are high!)

You can also try GET ME IN and any other re-seller you can think of – but it’s good to have a little browse as prices vary.

WHAT ** NOT TO DO **

Don’t buy off ticket touts on the streets! On top of overpriced, they might be FAKE and you will not be allowed in. Never provide payments in advance to anyone and avoid Ebay. Buying from a ticket seller may be expensive but your entry is guaranteed.

I hope this little guide is useful and that you can still see this wonderful show!