FAMILY EVENTS: LONDON FUN FOR THE FAM
It’s been a long time coming, but live theatre for children is back. Let the good time roll and welcome the return of family events for the summer…
With staycations looking like the most popular choice for family holidays this summer, as ever children and adults alike will be spoiled for choice of activities and family events if they decide to visit London, but for the first time in over a year, the West End’s amazing theatres are an option again.
All theatrical performances in the UK closed for business last Spring and children have been missing out on live arts ever since. With the country turning the corner in the fightback against the pandemic though, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and families can look forward to experiencing the magic of live theatre in the capital once again.
The Birmingham Stage Company are leading the way in this with not one, but two West End productions, as well as a dramatic historical boat tour along the Thames, meaning there’s something there for every family’s entertainment needs, both indoors and out.
David Walliams Billionaire Boy
Following the runaway success of his award-winning Gangsta Granny in 2017, bestselling children’s author David Walliams’ hilarious Billionaire Boy will make its West End debut at The Garrick Theatre. After starting life as a novel in 2010, it was adapted into a BBC production in 2016 and has since become a Christmas television favourite.
Telling the story of the richest boy in the world and his quest to find a friend, the one thing his money can’t buy him, Billionaire Boy is rarely anything other than hilarious, but has a strong message to young people about what is truly important in life and how friendship and family can make you happier than money ever will.
Speaking about the upcoming production, Walliams couldn’t be more excited to see it, saying: “The Birmingham Stage Company have already done two incredible adaptations of my books, Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, both of which went round the country quite a few times, came into London, got great reviews, audiences loved the shows and came back and back and back and so I’m really excited that a third book of mine is in their hands. I think this could be the most fun show of all because in a way this is the most comic book. It’s a story with an emphasis on jokes and silly situations and obviously the whole thing is quite surreal with someone having so much money. So, I think it’s going to be a really fun theatre show and I can’t wait to see it!”
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Five!
Over on Shaftesbury Avenue, the BSC are bringing the next instalment in their beloved Horrible Histories series of adaptations to the Apollo Theatre with the brilliant Barmy Britain – Part 5! This brand-new show features an array of crazy characters and rude rulers from across the centuries that as always, will bring history to life for children (young and old) in a show that never fails to entertain and amuse, even while exploring some of the more perilous sides of the past.
Get ready to be conquered by King William, go house hunting with King Henry VIII, join the gorgeous Georgians as they take over England, and break into Buckingham Palace and hide from the Queen!
For added reassurance, the capacity at the Apollo and Garrick Theatres has currently been reduced to circa 50% to comply with COVID-19 Secure guidelines, as well as featuring socially distanced seats and will continue to adhere to government guidelines.
Horrible Histories presents TERRIBLE THAMES
If being outside in the fresh air is more what families are looking for though, Birmingham Stage Company also has a brand-new tourist experience that ticks all the boxes without losing what makes their shows so special, with the Terrible Thames boat tour. Leaving from Tower Bridge Quay, the Horrible Histories team take you on a fantastic journey to discover the terrible truth about London’s most iconic landmarks. Combining immersive theatre in Horrible Histories style, the tour will surprise and shock in equal measure as it delivers its unique take on London to thrill both children and adults alike.
For Birmingham Stage Company boss Neil Foster, taking their tried and tested approach to family theatre out of its traditional home and out onto the water isn’t just about giving families another option for a day out in the city, it’s a way to tell new stories in a much more immersive way than ever before.
He said: “The Terrible Thames is all about the Thames’ horrible history which takes place on a boat and goes all the way from Tower Bridge down to Westminster then up to Execution Dock. I wrote it during lockdown and the Thames is full of interesting stories. It’s a 45- minute show which I hope will become a major new tourist attraction for London. It’s on an open boat and you get a wonderful view of the river. There’s some fascinating characters in there, as well as an extraordinary connection about Jack the Ripper and the Thames, but I can’t give it away”
Taking in famous locations such as The Tower of London, The Globe Theatre and Execution Dock, as well as (in)famous historical characters like Boudicca, Julius Caesar and King Henry VIII, Terrible Thames takes the traditional tourist boat tour and gives it a thrilling spin that will have kids and adults alike seeing the history of London in a whole new light.
Make no mistake, family theatre is most definitely back in London this Summer and it’s not a moment too soon. Hooray for family events!
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Five! @ Apollo Theatre / 29th July – 28th August / BOOK TICKETS
David Walliams Billionaire Boy @ Garrick Theatre / 17th July – 22nd August / BOOK TICKETS.
Horrible Histories presents TERRIBLE THAMES / Daily sailings to begin Saturday 17th July from Tower Bridge Quay, London E1Q 1LD / BOOK TICKETS.