A new year means a whole new bunch of unmissable shows heading for the West Midlands. From award-winning classics to West End debuts, here are 10 of the very best theatre shows on my radar for 2020.
*Featured image credit: Six the Musical / Idil Sukan
The Red Shoes | Birmingham Hippodrome | February 11 – 15
Kicking off 2020 in style, Sir Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures is heading back to Birmingham with its phenomenal adaptation of The Red Shoes.
The two-time Olivier Award-winning show was an absolute hit when it came to Birmingham Hippodrome in 2017, so I’m really glad to see it heading back to the city for five nights as part of its latest UK tour.
One of Sir Matthew’s most beautiful productions, The Red Shoes has captivated audiences across the UK and US, telling the story of Victoria Page, who is obsessed with becoming the greatest dancer in the world.
A seductive, captivating visual feast that every theatre-lover should have on their list, tickets for The Red Shoes at Birmingham Hippodrome are on sale now. Click here to book tickets and find out more.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong | The Alexandra | February 18 – 22
Heading from the West End to Birmingham’s The Alexandra, Peter Pan Goes Wrong has been on my list of shows to see for a few years now.
A hilarious twist on the classic novel, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is the lastest comedy production brought to the stage by the creators of the award-winning and equally mischevious The Play That Goes Wrong.
Huge fun for adults, it still follows the journey of Peter and Wendy, but with technical hitches and flying disasters on the itinerary, will they ever make it to Neverland? Book your tickets now and find out.
The Book of Mormon | Birmingham Hippodrome | March 4 – 28
A show that’s very high up on my list to check off in 2020, The Book of Mormon is embarking on a UK tour which brings it to Birmingham Hippodrome for three weeks.
Another West End smash-hit, this hilarious comedy musical follows the hilarious misadventures of pair of missionaries, sent on a mission to a place that’s about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get.
Created by the masterminds behind Southpark, Avenue Q and Frozen, you won’t want to miss the Mormons when they travel to the Second City next March. Book your tickets here.
Six | Wolverhampton Grand | March 10 – 14
Wolverhampton Grand’s 2020 schedule is looking pretty epic, with a host of West End shows taking to its stage.
Alongside Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers and The Sound of Music, the Grand is welcoming Olivier Award-nominated SIX from March 10 – 14.
If you thought you knew the true lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, it’s time to think again as they take to the mic to combine their tales with 21st Century girl power! Tickets are on sale now. Click here to book yours.
The Woman in Black | The Alexandra Theatre | March 31 – April 4
While I can safely say that I won’t be taking my seat to watch The Woman in Black after watching it at such a young age that it still creeps me out to this very day, I highly recommend you grab yourself some tickets if traditional ghost stories are your thing.
Currently celebrating its 30th year at the Fortune Theatre in London, the stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s 1983 novel is brilliantly clever. With a minimal cast and props, you’ll be hiding behind your hands, sitting on the edge of your seat and probably be sleeping with your bedroom lights on for a good few nights.
The current tour kicked off in early December and will arrive at The Alexandra in Birmingham on March 31 – April 1. Grab your tickets here if you fancy a fright.
Adam Kay – This Is Going to Hurt | Wolverhampton Grand | March 22
This one isn’t a musical or play as such, but former junior doctor and now best-selling author, Adam Kay, is embarking on another tour to share entries from his diaries during his time working for the NHS.
After my friends raved about it, I picked up Kay’s Sunday Times best-seller, This is Going to Hurt and read it in a matter of days. It’s honest, hilarious, heartbreaking and a small, chaotic insight into the lives of young junior doctors and the challenges they face during their career. The book was such a success that Kay recently released his second wave of entries in Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas, which is filled with extracts from his times working over the festive period.
The live show has been hailed by critics and was an absolute sell-out at Edinburgh Fringe, so if you’re a fan of Adam’s work, then you won’t want to miss this. Book tickets here.
Friends – The Musical Parody | Wolverhampton Grand | April 14
I grew up watching Friends. I can remember watching the final episode when it aired and then continued to continuously watch it on E4 for years later. And while I’m remaining a little sceptical about this one, I’m also pretty excited that Friends – The Musical Parody is heading to the UK next year.
The show’s been a huge in both on Broadway and Vegas, as it reinvents some of the most hilarious and iconic moments from one of the greatest comedy shows that delighted fans across the world for 10 years.
It’s at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre for just one night on Tuesday, April 14, but you can also catch it at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on Saturday, March 28.
Derren Brown – SHOWMAN | Wolverhampton Grand | July 21 – 25
Three years ago, I took a seat in The Alexandra Theatre to watch the mind-blowing illusionist and hypnotist Derren Brown for his Underground tour, and let me tell you, it blew my mind!
Derren’s hitting the round again in 2020 with his latest show, SHOWMAN, and you can bet yourself that I’ve bagged myself a ticket. Describing what it’s like to see Derren Brown is really difficult, but in the past, he’s picked up rave reviews from critics and even nabbed himself an Olivier Award in 2012.
As always, Derren’s being super-secretive about what SHOWMAN will entail, but if you fancy a night at the theatre that’ll leave you both highly entertained but scratching your head in bewilderment for a good couple of days after, I really recommend you grab yourself some tickets for this before it sells out.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie | Wolverhampton Grand | June 23 – 27
My list of must-see shows is endless and one that’s been in the top five for quite some time now is Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this show, and with a leading cast including Layton Williams and Bianca Del Rio, who’s currently appearing in the West End performances, it comes as no surprise. And although the touring cast is yet to be announced, I’m pretty sure it’ll bring just as much fun, love and laughter when it hits the stage at Wolverhampton Grand on June 23 – 27.
In case you’re unaware of the story, it follows the life of Jamie, a newly-turned 16-year-old from a council estate in Sheffield, who’s battling prejudice, bullying and simply just doesn’t know how to fit in. But with the support of his friends and family, Jamie rises above his challenges to step into the spotlight that he so greatly deserves.
Phantom of the Opera | July 29 – September 12
There is a huge list of things that I’m excited to see in 2020, but honestly, nothing will beat this. Phantom of the Opera is heading out on its first UK tour in seven years, where it will take the slot as one of Birmingham Hippodrome’s biggest shows of the year.
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Olivier Award-winning musical is something that I’ve grown up with. While Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the first thing I remember seeing live on stage as a child, I also vividly remember the hours that I spent watching a VHS my Nan had that featured Phantom of the Opera, with Michal Ball taking on the lead role.
It’s one of my most treasured soundtracks of all time and having only seen it on stage once at Bristol Hippodrome when it toured back in 2012, I made a beeline for tickets for the show’s six-week residency at Birmingham Hippodrome, which runs from Wednesday, July 29 – Saturday, September 12, 2020 – in case you’re interested.
Killian Donnelly has been announced as the Phantom for the Birmingham shows, and having wowed audiences with his incredible performance as Jean Valjean earlier in the year, I cannot wait to see him take on one of the most iconic roles of all time.