London’s best Valentine’s Day shows

Struggling to find the perfect evening to celebrate your love? Here’s our guide to London’s best Valentine’s Day shows that will save your relationship or help you avoid all the romance.

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. (We know!) What better way to celebrate your joy-filled relationship than a trip to see one of London’s best Valentine’s Day shows? But, oh the pressure of picking the performance that will have your partner purring with pleasure. We’re here to help:

Valentine’s Day shows: Musicals

Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre)

Alice Fearn plays Elphaba in Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre (Image: Matt Crockett)
Alice Fearn plays Elphaba in Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre (Image: Matt Crockett)

What is it: The West End sensation telling the “untold” tale of the witches of Oz.
See it as a couple because: There’s an unlikely love story that you won’t know about if your knowledge of Oz stops at the Yellow Brick Road.
See it on your own/with friends because: It’s more about an unlikely university friendship (what’s the female equivalent of a bromance?). We all have one of those, don’t we?

The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre)

The Phantom Of The Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre
The Phantom Of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre

What is it: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world conquering hit about the fiend who haunts the Paris Opera House.
See it as a couple because: It is a glorious Gothic romance featuring a dashing hero and a heroine torn between two men, with a hint of Beauty And The Beast. There are also lots of candles and a gondola ride, so romance turned up to 11. Sort of.
See it on your own/with friends because: It’s not all roses and poems. The Phantom has killed more people in the West End than any other character we can think of. If you love a warped antihero, he has everything you could want.

The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios)

The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios
The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios

What is it: The inventively staged tale of a sideshow curiosity with a hideous facial scar whose presence brings remarkable joy to everyone who sees him.
See it as a couple because: Amid the macabre tale is a touching love story about two unusual characters.
See it on your own/with friends because: This is a new, original musical making waves with its theatrical staging and stunning puppetry. Take a chance on an acclaimed witty, naughty, intelligent show with songs you might not have heard before.

Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre)

Simon-Anthony Rhoden in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre (Image: Darren Bell)
Simon-Anthony Rhoden in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre (Image: Darren Bell)

What is it: The Olivier Award-winning feel-good tale of a Northampton shoe factory that’s saved when it begins manufacturing a niche product: boots for drag queens.
See it as a couple because: I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a classic romantic storyline tucked away within the plot. Old friends. Unexpected feelings. You know how it goes.
See it on your own/with friends because: It boasts a collection of great songs written by Cyndi Lauper. It will have you hooting with laughter. And its drag performers, known as Angels, are simply fabulous.

Valentine’s Day shows: Comedy

The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre)

the-play-that-goes-wrong-4-1030

What is it: The hilarious tale of an amateur dramatics society trying to stage a play. As the title suggests, it doesn’t go so well…
See it as a couple because: What’s better than laughing together. And you’ll do a lot of that in this production.
See it on your own/with friends because: This show is a phenomenon. It launched Mischief Theatre to theatrical stardom and they’ve now pretty much taken over the West End. If you are at all downhearted about Valentine’s Day, this is the antidote.

Valentine’s Day shows: Drama

The Woman In Black (Fortune Theatre)

The Woman In Black at Fortune Theatre

What is it: A long-running West End ghost story that is brilliant in its theatricality.
See it as a couple because: What’s better than snuggling up with a thriller? Those jump moments are perfect for a comforting arm, aren’t they?
See it on your own/with friends because: You’ll be too scared to worry whether you’ve come by yourself or not.

Beginning (Ambassadors Theatre)

Beginning at Ambassadors Theatre
Beginning at Ambassadors Theatre

What is it: A very modern romcom that follows two 40-somethings who hook up amid the detritus of a house party.
See it as a couple because: This acclaimed show, which transfers to the West End after a hit run at the National Theatre, gives romantic comedies a truthful and modern makeover.
See it on your own/with friends because: It doesn’t pull any punches or dress up modern love in silk and satin. It’s warts, ketchup stains and all.

All’s Well That Ends Well (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse)

All's Well That Ends Well at Shakespeare's Globe
All’s Well That Ends Well at Shakespeare’s Globe

What is it: Shakespeare’s tale of a woman determined to find love, whatever it takes.
See it as a couple because: With its reliance on candlelight, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe may be the most romantic theatre in London.
See it on your own/with friends because: Director Caroline Byrne has a history of creating brilliant, edgy productions of problematic Shakespearean plays. (She wowed audiences with The Taming Of The Shrew in 2016.) The Globe are describing it as “dark, twisted and dangerous”.

Valentine’s Day shows: Something different

Ovo (Royal Albert Hall)

Cirque du Soleil: Ovo at the Royal Albert Hall
Cirque du Soleil: Ovo at the Royal Albert Hall

What is it: Cirque Du Soleil’s jaw-dropping 2018 production at the Royal Albert Hall.
See it as a couple because: Ovo is a circus show about insects. And while somersaulting spiders might not immediately seem romantic, you can be sure there’s a love story in there somewhere, even if it happens 20 feet above the audience.
See it on your own/with friends because: Cirque Du Soleil’s circus skills are astounding. You don’t need a partner to appreciate their phenomenal talents.

Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter (Empire Cinema Haymarket)

Brief Encounter at Empire Cinema Haymarket
Brief Encounter at Empire Cinema Haymarket

What is it: Emma Rice’s stage adaptation of the classic film.
See it as a couple because:
It is based on one of the most romantic movies of all time and tells the story of how a chance meeting sparks a love affair.
See it on your own/with friends because: The production is full of the wit, flair and theatricality you would expect from Rice and theatre company Kneehigh.

Giselle (Royal Opera House)

Giselle at the Royal Opera House.
Giselle at the Royal Opera House.

What is it: One of the most romantic ballets of all time.
See it as a couple because: What’s more smoochy than a trip to the ballet? And this story is about a love that transcends death.
See it on your own/with friends because: It’s not all hand holding and PDAs. The story also features a hidden identity and an army of dead brides intent on revenge.

The Great Gatsby (secret location)

The Great Gatsby - An Immersive Theatrical Event
The Great Gatsby – An Immersive Theatrical Event

What is it: An immersive retelling of the famous novel.
See it as a couple because: This production gives you the chance to dress up, dive in and lose yourself in a glamorous, gorgeous 1920s world. What could be more amorous?
See it on your own/with friends because: This production gives you the chance to dress up, dive in and lose yourself in a glamorous, gorgeous 1920s world. You never know who you might bump into.