#SMMPick - Top 10 London Ticket Picks (W/C April 11th)

It's Monday morning which means it's time for the next installment of #SMMPick; a weekly look at what I consider to be the ten hottest tickets in London town for the forthcoming week, which could be shows I have seen already or have simply heard great hype about.
When the transfer from Broadway was announced for Beautiful, I was so excited that I booked to see the show on my birthday (three days after the show's official opening). I fell in love with it immediately - despite the fact I dislike jukebox musicals - because of the great heart the show really has. I've seen it again since and still love it and with the new ad campaigns featuring new Carole King actress Cassidy Janson all over London, it's as good a time to go as any.

9 - The Caretaker (The Old Vic)
Timothy Spall, Daniel Mays and George MacKay star in this classic Harold Pinter piece's latest lavish revival at the Old Vic. I'm not a big fan of Pinter plays at all if I'm totally honest with you, but the hype around this production praises the fantastic cast and the expertly directed incarnation that this is. In fact, the hype is so good that I'm actually thinking of taking a chance on it - check me out!

Another show that has had an ad campaign face lift is In The Heights, an Olivier-nominated Best New Musical this year. I've also seen In The Heights twice and am looking forward to seeing the outstanding choreography (which won an Olivier this year) and the upbeat score (also an Olivier winner) again on a third trip. This show really is heating up London town and it is not one to be missed.

A new and surprising entry in this week's list is the new Brit musical Mrs Henderson Presents; after seeing the show last Wednesday it is an undeniably enjoyable afternoon with a very big heart to it. While I thought the exposition of the story was poor by the end of the piece, the music and feel of the show is still fantastic and is certainly worth the time if you fancy a pick-me-up matinee. And if that isn't a good enough reason to go, then "If Mountains Were Easy to Climb" sung by both Emma Williams and Tracie Bennett at the end of the show really is.

6 - Cleansed (National Theatre, Dorfman)
Katie Mitchell's latest play Cleansed is far from light-hearted. With scenes that are so gory people have walked out of the theatre feeling sick (or even passed out inside!), its a story about working out what you really want from life... with people having their limbs cut off along the way. It's very weird but daring and from what I've heard, it's a fantastically unique piece of theatre.

5 - Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre)
After starting previews last Friday, the West End transfer of the 1960s classic Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith is the hottest ticket in town. Packed to the brim with classic Broadway glamour and a massive star at the helm, Funny Girl is set to be the Gypsy of 2016. If you can get a ticket, it's unforgettable if you don't snap it up immediately; I'm looking forward to seeing it later in the month already.

The first returning contender this week (and falling down one ranking) is the Olivier Award-winning Best New Comedy, Nell Gwynn. Fronted by the wonderfully talented Gemma Arterton, this play about one of the world's first stage actresses is still one of my favourite things running in London's West End. As it edges nearer and nearer to its closing date, make sure you bag yourself a seat!

Another show falling down a ranking position from last week is the ENO's revival of the often overlooked Andrew Lloyd Webber piece Sunset Boulevard. Led by the show's original Broadway star Glenn Close alongside West End sensations Michael Xavier and Siobhan Dillon, it's the best musical in town right now. An amazing stripped back revival of a musical with one of the most luscious scores ever written; it's sublime.

2 - X (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court)*
Moving up in the ranks this week after I saw it on Saturday is the Royal Court's sci-fi thriller X, written by Alistair McDowall. With an incredible ensemble cast, an imaginative set and an extremely tight and well-written script, X is a very experimental piece of theatre that focuses on the human psyche and the ability to hold yourself together. Set on the planet Pluto with a group of five people, we see how they fall away from reality after losing contact with Earth, all set very far in our future. An amazing piece that is worth a look at if you like something out of the ordinary - my review will follow on Wednesday.

Remaining in the top place though is the best piece of drama to hit the West End in as long as I can remember: People, Places & Things. Denise Gough offers a transcendent performance in this fellow "out there" piece of theatre and should not be missed. Also looking at the psyche and our ability to stay sane, P,P&T is an emotional rollercoaster along the way that makes you love and hate the central character. An expert piece of theatre if there ever was one and if you nab on-stage seats, even better.

* Shows with an asterisk denote a show that I have seen; most titles with the asterisks next to them are links to my review of the said show.

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