Hen party theatre guide: How to plan the perfect hen night in the West End
Ah, the hen night. It wouldn't be a proper wedding without it. This sacred tradition is all about celebrating with the brilliant girls in your life, having that one really special night out before getting married - and making it a night to remember.
There are lots of fun activities in London that would be perfect for a hen night, thanks to the capital's great atmosphere and numerous bars and eateries, and your plans can all be shaped around a real treat: tickets to a West End show. Add in dinner or drinks, and it'll be an unforgettable experience that you can always treasure. Luckily, London's theatreland is teeming with great shows that will entertain a big crowd, of all ages and preferences, from classic movies-turned-musicals to productions with empowering "herstory," shows that get you up and dancing, and those with serious eye candy.
It's exactly the kind of thing that will bond your hen party together - whether you're celebrating with childhood pals, work friends, beloved flatmates, your sisters, mum or even your gran! Whatever your group loves most, there will be a show to match. So, check out our recommendations for some fantastic hen night shows, and start planning your perfect girls night out.
Is there a man out there? Someone to hear your prayer? Well our prayers were answered as soon as Mamma Mia! The Party opened in London. Yes, the feel-good ABBA lifestyle comes to the capital and you can imagine you're in a Greek taverna. During the immersive theatre experience, you'll dine on authentic Greek food as an original story unfolds around you. Expect to hear all the ABBA greats like "Waterloo," "Dancing Queen," and perhaps the most apt ABBA song for a hen party: "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do." Escape the real world and give the bride a send-off she'll never forget.
Book Mamma Mia! The Party tickets on London Theatre.
Looking for a real girl-power hen night? Then Six is the one for you. This exhilarating modern take on Henry VIII's wives takes you far beyond the standard "divorced, beheaded, died" recap. Here, the queens get to tell their own story, in their own words and with their own musical stylings.
Students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss dreamed up the brilliant concept, and it's gone from homegrown fringe show to global sensation. No wonder: it's the best party in town, combining stadium pop concert-style entertainment with clever herstory reclamation, and more than a few contemporary feminist parallels.
The mix of music means there's something for everyone in your hen party crew, as each queen assumes elements of different divas - from Beyonce, Lily Allen, Rihanna, and Adele to Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, and Alicia Keys. This is also the rare show where filming and sharing footage on social media is encouraged during the curtain call mega-six, so you can record your experience and share the fun.
Book Six tickets on London Theatre.
If you loved Baz Luhrmann's spectacular fantasia of a movie musical, you'll be just as enchanted by the new stage incarnation of Moulin Rouge!. Enter the decadent world of the Moulin Rouge: the Piccadilly Theatre itself looks like the club, bathed in red light, and with a windmill and giant elephant taking up residence in the venue's boxes. Add in a glass of bubbly, and you really will feel you're at a fin-de-siecle Parisian nightclub.
There's plenty here to get you in the hen party spirit, from the show's sweeping romance between aspiring composer Christian and beautiful courtesan Satine to the raucous can-can dances at the club and the incredible production numbers soundtracked by the ultimate music mash-ups.
In fact, the show features more than 55 songs from some of the biggest names in pop - think Elton John, Madonna, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, the Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, and more. For an extra special hen night treat, book the can-can seats which put you right in the action.
Book Moulin Rouge! The Musical tickets on London Theatre.
Why not take your hen party to a magical Greek island where everyone sings ABBA songs all day and night? It might not exist in real life, but it absolutely does in the Novello Theatre, home to the beloved feel-good musical Mamma Mia!.
Even better for a hen night, it's a show driven by women, mother Donna and daughter Sophie, and the musical centres around a wedding. Sophie is the bride-to-be, and she invites three men from her mum's past to their Greek taverna in the hopes of finding out which one is her dad. Cue panic for Donna, but also the chance to rekindle an old romance.
Alongside the heartfelt plot, you get ABBA hits galore, such as "Money Money Money," "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Take a Chance on Me," "SOS," "Does Your Mother Know," "The Winner Takes it All," "Dancing Queen," and the great title number. You and your gals will definitely end the night up on your feet, singing and dancing along.
Book Mamma Mia! tickets on London Theatre.
It would be a big mistake to miss out on this hen party celebration. Big. Huge! Based on the iconic romcom starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Pretty Woman follows the unlikely meeting of high-flying financier Edward Lewis and sex worker Vivian Ward, and how love reshapes both their lives.
Like Dirty Dancing, it's a joyful chance to see your favourite movie as a live stage show, with all the best bits present and correct - like the great title song, the famous shopping trip, and the date at the opera - plus plenty of new scenes, dance numbers, and a pop-rock score from Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.
The West End production currently stars Aimie Atkinson (original cast of Six) and Oliver Tompsett, and the show has a new glamorous home: the Savoy Theatre. Just as the film makes for the ultimate girls night in, the musical is the ultimate girls night out.
Book Pretty Woman: The Musical tickets on London Theatre.
Of course, the traditional hen night entertainment involves a spot of exotic dancing - or, to put it plainly, male strippers. So why not indulge in the slick West End version of that pastime with Magic Mike Live, the smash-hit stage version of the Hollywood film franchise.
Conceived by star Channing Tatum, this immersive event is a thrilling 360-degree dance experience aimed at the modern woman - so it's respectful of your desires, while still being thoroughly steamy. There's everything from slow sensual striptease to acrobatic tricks and funky street dance, plus a soundtrack that jumps from James Brown to Ed Sheeran via 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake. And, of course, a smoking-hot cast.
You can make your hen night trip at the Hippodrome Casino even more special by indulging in a meal at the Heliot Steak House, admiring the view from the Rooftop Terrace, or sipping cocktails at the Boozy Tea Room. This is entertainment at its most delicious, so tuck in...
Book Magic Mike Live tickets on London Theatre.
Once you've seen Wicked, you'll wish Elphaba and Glinda were in your girl gang. Elphaba's a green-skinned witch who develops her unbelievable magic powers. Glinda's a popular woman and everyone follows her beck and call. You wouldn't put Elphaba and Glinda side-by-side, but together they're unstoppable.The Wicked musical is an excellent show for fabulous, theatre-filled hen nights in London. As well as the love stories, there's spectacular dance routines, magical moments and flying monkeys. Generations of audiences have fallen in love with Wicked in London. Now before you say "I Do," see if Glinda can cast a spell on you at Wicked.
Book Wicked tickets on London Theatre.
Photo credit: Dirty Dancing, Magic Mike Live and Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Photos courtesy of productions)
Originally published on