Perhaps you've always promised yourself a trip to London to catch a show you've always wanted to see, but have never had the time. Well, now is the ideal time as the West End goes through a mini-revival, offering a fabulous choice of productions. Theatres in London regularly feature exciting new productions, but there are also a handful that have been playing to packed audiences for many years, including one notable mystery thriller that has been performed continuously for well over half a century. The current longest running production, beating its nearest West End rival by an incredible 23 years is Mousetrap.
The classic 'whodunit' first opened at the New Ambassadors theatre on 25th November 1952, and after enjoying a 22 year residency moved to the St. Martins theatre where it still thrills audiences today, notching up well over 20,000 performances. The musical with the longest current run in the West End is Les Miserables, recording 23 years of continuous performances.
Close behind comes another classic musical, The Phantom of the Opera. Indeed, musicals account for seven out of the top ten longest running productions in the West End. Here is the top ten, including the genre of the production, and the amount of time they have been packing in the crowds: Mousetrap (thriller) ? 56 years Les Miserables (musical) ? 23 years The Phantom of the Opera (musical) ? 22 years Blood Brothers (musical) ? 20 years The Woman in Black (ghostly thriller) ? 19 years Chicago (musical) ? 11 years Mamma Mia (musical) ? 10 years The Lion King (musical) ? 9 years We Will Rock You (musical) ? 6 years Stomp (vaudeville) ? 6 years In addition to the phenomenal long-running successes there has also been a glut of new productions over the last two years; many are musicals inspired by high-profile TV reality show competitions in which the public vote for their favourite unknown to appear as the lead in the stage production. As a result, popular productions such as Grease, The Sound of Music, Joseph and several others are packing them in every night as the UK population clamours to see the stars they voted for to star in the new West End productions in person. The enduring popularity of West End theatre isn't about to diminish allowing many a hotel in Oxford Street and nearby Piccadilly to cash in on their proximity to the most popular productions. If a trip to London is on your mind, then make sure that you do your research, get a hotel close to the production that you are going to watch, and book as early as you can.
Adam Singleton is an online, freelance journalist and keen gardener. He lives in Scotland with his two dogs.