Clair Chamberlain

15th June 2017

Like a lot of people I couldn’t decide if La La Land was genuinely ground-breaking or purely nostalgic, deceptively deep or dreamily whimsical. As a movie it had all the ingredients of a great musical, and it left me entertained as well as moved. We like to identify, but we also like to escape. We have had the privilege of working on many great musicals staged in the West End over the past ten years and each has its own balance of all of these ingredients. There’s so much variety, and each has been memorable in its own way.

2006 Avenue Q
The Corner Shop was formed on the back of a PR collaboration on this irreverent, risqué, hilarious and truly original show.

2008 La Cages Aux Folles
A Menier Chocolate Factory transfer, this wonderfully louche revival featured, among others, Douglas Hodge as the definitive Albin.

2009 Disney’s The Lion King
2009 marked the tenth anniversary of The Lion King in the West End. A landmark, pioneering show now approaching its 20th year (2019) and it is still playing to packed houses.

2009 Spring Awakening
Adapted from the Wedekind play and arriving in the West End after winning a hatful of Tonys, this production literally rocked our world.

2010 Shrek The Musical
Adapted from the classic Dreamworks animation, this musical made for a colourful, crowd-pleasing production that begins its 2nd UK tour in December 2017.

2011 Matilda The Musical
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production saw Tim Minchin’s first foray into a full length musical. Winning over 80 major international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, it has brilliance oozing from every pore and will begin its first UK tour in 2018.

2011 Crazy For You
Chock full of Gershwin’s greatest hits, this Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre transfer had sass and energy in spades.

2012 Sweeney Todd
Michael Ball as you’ve never seen him before! Also Imelda Staunton proving (as she does time and time again) that she can do anything. It made an understanding and appreciation for Sondheim finally click into gear for me.

2012 Let It Be
Basically the Beatle’s concert you never got to see, Let It Be raised the roof nightly and was an authentic and thrilling experience for lovers of the fab four.

2013 The Book of Mormon
Hats off to Matt Stone, Trey Parker and Robert Lopez (see Avenue Q) for their uncompromising, jaw-droppingly offensive but wholly, musically reverential production. A colossal hit.

2013 A Chorus Line
A meta-musical that beautifully balances the individuality of Broadway hopefuls with the glitzy line-up that stretched across the Palladium stage with impressive precision.

2013 Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A huge appetite for Dahl was met by this confection of a musical where dislikeable children get their grisly come-uppances and sweet nature wins the day. Currently a triumph on Broadway too.

2013 From Here To Eternity
A welcome return to the West End for Tim Rice with this grown-up and gutsy Pearl Harbour musical based on the original book by James Jones.

2014 Rock of Ages
Raucous, raunchy and packed full of rock anthems, we had our (fake) lighters in the air at the Shaftsbury Theatre for this not-so-guilty pleasure of a show.

2014 Sunny Afternoon
Bbursting with The Kinks’ greatest hits, we were taken on a ride through the swinging sixties into the rocking seventies by Ray Davies’ masterful songwriting.

2015 Close To You
An homage to Burt Bacharach, newly orchestrated, well loved classics were given a fresh twist in this wonderfully choreographed reinvention of his music.

2016 Disney’s Aladdin
Disney’s genie-us musical landed at the Prince Edward Theatre making all our wishes come true in spectacular style.

2016 Dreamgirls
‘And I am telling you’, this highly anticipated London premiere more than lives up to the hype, giving us so much heart and soul at the Savoy.

2017 An American In Paris
This classy adaptation has all the bells and whistles you could want from a musical with, aptly, some echoes of (ooh) La La Land to boot.

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