Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in the West End
Elizabeth II has been on the British throne for a truly remarkable 70 years, and the nation is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee in style, with numerous events and parties planned for this extra-long bank holiday weekend on June 2-5.
Whether you’re hanging bunting in your street or whipping up the official Jubilee pudding, there are loads of fun ways to get involved.
The official programme includes the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, plus the Trooping the Colour Parade and the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace – a star-studded live concert featuring everyone from Julie Andrews, Elton John and Queen to our Eurovision hero Sam Ryder and a special collaboration between musical theatre legends Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Plus there are performances from West End shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, The Lion King and Six.
If the latter inspires you to continue your Jubilee celebrations with a trip to a leading London show, here are some ideas of majestic hits that would make the perfect night out on this very special Jubilee bank holiday.
Even better: this week you can take advantage of our Summer Theatre Sale, booking £25 tickets for over 25 West End productions. Now that’s some right royal treatment! Book your Platinum Jubilee theatre tickets now. Here’s our guide to the best Jubilee shows.
The Queen began her reign in the 1950s – and that’s the exact decade that 80s teen Marty McFly finds himself transported to when he accidentally travels through time. Great Scott! Can he and his eccentric scientist pal Doc Brown figure out a way for Marty to get home again, while also getting his parents together and saving his family’s future?
The classic Michael J Fox-starring movie is just as thrilling in this West End musical incarnation, which features 1.21 gigawatts of incredible special effects to speed that famous DeLorean through the ages and even make it fly. Add in an original rock score, plus favourites from the film like “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B Goode”, and it’s easy to see why the show won the 2022 Olivier Award for Best New Musical – and why, like our enduring monarch, this gripping story stands the test of time.
We can’t get enough of the royal family’s fashion, whether it’s the Duchess of Cambridge’s elegant looks, Pippa Middleton’s unforgettable bridesmaid’s dress, or a swing and a miss from Princess Beatrice with her mad alien wedding hat. The Queen's personal style developed over her 70 years on the throne too. She's known worldwide for her vividly colourful coats and matching hats, and we’ll likely see some great looks again during the Jubilee celebrations.
So, why not follow their example and get dolled up for this fabulous immersive version of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby? You can raise a glass of Champagne (or bootleg liquor) to Her Majesty, then dance the Charleston and escape to the Roaring Twenties. But there’s drama afoot too: you’ll be privy to the intimate conversations between Jay Gatsby and his lost love Daisy Buchanan, and the unhappily married George and Myrtle Wilson, all leading to an unforgettable climax. It’s a seriously luxurious Jubilee outing.
Is there a woman who could possibly rival The Queen for her enduring popularity and celebrated place in British life? Well, how about queen of crime Agatha Christie, whose murder mystery The Mousetrap opened in the West End in 1952 – the year that Elizabeth II came to the throne – and is still going strong, beguiling audiences with its fiendiesh twists. It’s a true Platinum Jubilee production, and a record-setter too: it’s the longest-running play in the world.
If you fancy yourself a sleuth, you can celebrate the Jubilee bank holiday by testing your wits against Agatha Christie’s and seeing if you can solve her famous whodunit. It’s a tantalising set-up, featuring a band of strangers stranded together at a spooky guesthouse during a snowstorm. There’s a murderer on the loose, and suspicion falls on our shifty group, who all have secrets to hide. But will the killer fall into the titular trap, or will they strike again?
As we look back over The Queen’s 70-year reign, it might well spark nostalgia for different times – like London in the 1980s, as immortalised by beloved TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses. Well, happily the Trotters of Peckham are back in this cushty West End musical version of the hit show, with all your favourite characters returning: Del Boy, Rodney, Grandad, Trigger, Boycie, Marlene, Raquel, Cassandra and more. Plus, of course, that canary-yellow Reliant Regal Supervan III.
Featuring music from Chas & Dave’s Chas Hodges, plus classic songs like Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” and even “Any Old Iron”, Only Fools and Horses is also a paean to British musical history. Add in some nifty dance moves, and it’s like music hall reborn – the kind of entertainment that The Queen has enjoyed in the annual Royal Variety Performance. So, this pukka night out is a clear winner when it comes to Jubilee fun.
There’s a long tradition of theatre reflecting the lives of our monarchs, and their most celebrated chronicler is undoubtedly William Shakespeare. His first royal patron was Elizabeth I, whose time on the throne was shorter than our current Queen’s (though still an impressive 44 years), but who set the gold standard as a strong, respected female monarch. It was during Elizabeth I’s reign that Shakespeare wrote his romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
But you want something more cheerful for your Jubilee celebrations, so why not head to the jubilant West End musical & Juliet? It’s a clever riff on the Bard, sending Juliet off on her own adventure while Shakespeare hotly debates the new plot points with his wife Anne Hathaway. The show is packed with pop hits from the 90s and 00s, giving you a royally entertaining musical trip back in time, and it’s also a heartfelt tribute to girl power. Yas Queen!
It’s rare for anyone to spend decades in the public eye and continue to inspire a nation. Although The Queen has had some difficult times during her reign (like the royal family’s “annus horribilis” in 1992, which included several divorces, scandal sparked by Princess Diana’s tell-all book, and a fire in Windsor Castle), she has remained steadfast and retained the public’s affection, as these Jubilee celebrations demonstrate.
Another great survivor – and the queen of rock ‘n’ roll – is musical legend Tina Turner. You can follow her astonishing journey in the West End hit Tina, which takes her from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, through to stardom with Ike Turner, and then her reinvention as a solo superstar. Like Her Majesty, she’s been going strong since the 1950s, and this exhilarating show would make a very special Jubilee night out.
Photo credit: The Mousetrap (Photo courtesy of production)
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