London

A Night In London’s West End

My absolute favourite thing to do in London is visit the West End and see one of the world-famous shows that are on offer. Team it up with delicious German food, and it’s starting to sound like my kind of night!

Grand plans – well, grandish plans – were made to visit Portobello market around lunchtime for a bite to eat and a mooch around the stalls. In the evening, we’d make our way to the West End of London and take our seats for the new show in town – Aladdin. As is the way with so many grand plans, I was so tired that we didn’t get up and out until the afternoon, by which time I thought the market would be packed up and gone for the day. Deciding to head straight for Covent Garden, we soon realised that the market was still in full swing as we drove over the flyover – noted for next time!

Strolling through Covent Garden is always one of my favourite things to do. The cute little shops in the main market square, the street performers dotted around showing off their skills, and the huge variety of people who gather in the area just make it such an interesting place. Winding through the crowds we carried on to Chinatown, and finally ended up in Soho.

Originally, we had thought about having dinner in a cute little courtyard we’d spotted near Carnaby Street when we had been in London for London Lumiere, but my boyfriend had spotted a German place he wanted to try out instead. Just down the street from the Prince Edward theatre, Herman ze German sits among the row of restaurants. After quickly checking out the menu, the easy decision was made to try out the German sausages on offer. Two Wilde Bock rolls and diet cokes ordered, we took a seat on the benches and waited for our food to be delivered. In the short time we waited, a crazy number of people came in and out collecting take aways, which is always a promising sign. And then the food arrived…

The best thing about visiting Germany is getting to sample the food, and an authentic wurst with chips and whatever that delicious spice mix is always finds its way to the top of my list. I didn’t hold out much hope for such a dish in London, but what arrived was beyond delicious! I opted to not have the curry sauce, but the crispy onions scattered across the top of the crisp, warm bockwurst was just the thing to go with the delicious chips. The German cola was perfect to accompany the food, but water is on offer on the side if you don’t fancy the other alternative – a stein of German beer!Wilde Bock roll from Herman ze German, SohoHerman ze German 'our wurst is ze best' sign

Suitably stuffed from our delicious dinner, we had a brief walk around Soho before heading to the theatre to take our seats for one of the newest additions to the West End – Aladdin! When I found out where we were going for my birthday treat, I was super excited. Having seen the film a million times since childhood, I can safely say I expected to know the show by heart before even seeing it. What we actually found though, was a twist on the original Disney film.

As with so many West End shows, the talent of the cast was just mind-blowing. There were no animals in the show, so Jasmine’s tiger Rajah, Aladdin’s monkey friend Abu and Jafar’s parrot Iago are all portrayed as human characters. Not expecting them to cart a real tiger on and off the stage every day, this was a great work around that gave the show it’s own identity. While the storyline was pretty much identical to that of the film, the addition of extra songs made sure it was a new experience and not just like watching a live version of the film. The show was also surprisingly funny, and I apologise to anyone sat near me as some of the jokes were hilarious and I’ve got a not so subtle laugh!

One character to mention, who absolutely made the show for me, was the Genie. Trevor Dion Nicholas took on the task of filling the role made famous in the film by Robin Williams, and he absolutely smashed it. I would have happily sat and watched him alone for the entire show! His energy was astounding, his voice amazing and I was blown away by his portrayal of the Genie.Sign for Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre, Soho, in London's West End

Overall, the show was absolutely amazing, and well worthy of the standing ovation it received at the end. I can imagine this happens every night, and I have recommended it to everyone. What an amazing birthday present! If only I could have had some more of those Herman ze German fries to enjoy on my way home…

Top Tips

  • To find cheap tickets for West End shows in London, visit the box office before the show starts to see if there are any tickets left and they may sell them cheaper. It’s a risk, but it can pay off big time! You could also try one of the many stalls around London. Be very wary of people hanging around in front of theatres selling cheap tickets, it’s best to get them from an official seller.
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