It’s the most frightening time of the year, and there’s no better way to spend Halloween than in a theatre, and letting the hair-raising action happen right before your eyes. So if you’re looking to escape the unwanted knocks of trick or treater, here are five of the best shows in London to see this Halloween.
Could there be a more terrifying prospect? The 1973 film about the demonic possession of a 12-year old girl – which is renowned as one of the scariest films of all time - performed live on stage. The Exorcist is about two priests’ attempts to exorcise a demon from the possessed Regan, who has started to behave in the most peculiar ways. The show stars Jenny Seagrove, Adam Garcia, Peter Bowles and the voice of the demon will be provided by none other than Sir Ian McKellen. Be warned, it’s a strictly adult-only affair, but it’s sure to have you screaming like a baby.
One of the biggest West End openings of the summer, Mel Brooks’ adaptation of his film Young Frankenstein provides some trademark comedy with your Halloween gore. With songs like “The Brain”, “Transylvania Mania” and “He’s Loose”, it tells the story of esteemed brain surgeon Frederick Frankenstein who inherits his grandfather’s. Frederick comes across his grandfather’s science experiments and decides to complete them, starting by resurrecting a dead man by carrying out a brain transplant. It stars a cast of great talent, including Hadley Fraser, Summer Strallen, Ross Noble and Lesley Joseph, and opened to a flurry of five-star reviews earlier this month.
One-fifth of legendary rock band Bon Jovi David Bryan has teamed up with writer Joe DiPietro for this ludicrous musical about a nerdy man who falls into a vat of toxic waste and becomes a superhero. Yep. Set in an overly-polluted New Jersey, The Toxic Avenger Melvin has to deal with being mercilessly bullied and trying to earn the love of the blind librarian who has stolen his heart. When the bullies drop him into a vat of waste, he becomes a super-strong green monster, and well, it’s probably one of the most bizarre musicals you will ever see. But well worth checking out, especially if you’re into American B-movie comedy and killer rock scores. It's utter bonkers and you'll love it.
The Woman in Blackhas been a staple in the West End for 18 years now, regularly scaring audiences and becoming the second longest-running (non-musical) play in London. Arthur Kipps has a frightening story to tell after he was haunted by the mysterious Woman in Black on a trip to a remote village. He enlists the help of a young actor to help him tell his story, but things take a turn and it proves to be a horrifying experience. Watch our interview with the current cast of The Woman in Black above.
National Youth Theatre was established as the world’s first youth theatre in 1956 and has an alumni list that includes the likes of Dame Helen Mirren, James Bond actor Daniel Craig and comedy duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams. The group is currently in residence at the Ambassadors Theatre where they are performing their adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde, the story of a lawyer in London who investigates the strange goings-on between Dr Henry Jekyll and the evil Mr Hyde. As well as being a radical interpretation, it could also serve as an opportunity to see a future star in the making.