Top 5 pop rock musicals in London

Andy Stevens / 10 May 2017

Five of the best of the current crop of pop rock musicals for you to book, see - and no doubt dance in the aisles to - in London's West End.

Kinky Boots

A musical based around the ailing fortunes of a shoe factory in Northampton must have initially been a tough sell for the writers, hoping not just to get it staged but turn it into a West End smash. The same was probably said about The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and Made In Dagenham - and look what happened to them.

But turn Kinky Boots into a bona fide box office sensation they have, and with an Olivier Award for Best New Musical under its belt to, ahem, boot. Ripsnortingly chucklesome it is too with Cyndi Lauper, no less, as Kinky Boots' tunesmith guaranteeing a zippy night of glamour, campish capers and footwear-focused fun and flounce.

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Motown The Musical

The unmistakeable driving beat that is the Sixties sound of the Motor City - as in Detroit, not Sunderland - provides the so-familiar, soul-fuelled engine of this story of Berry Gordy and his revered record label which became the undisputed sound of young America, Tamla Motown.

This uplifting musical charts the rise and rise of Motown's unimpeachable transatlantic hit factory which gifted Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more megastars to an ever-grateful music-loving public.

And you'll have umpteen name-that-tune epiphanies by the opening bars of each hit as you hear 50 of Motown's greatest 45s (and there were so many) played by an on-the-money 18-piece orchestra that's seriously uptight and outta sight, as Stevie himself might put it.

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Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

If there's one slightly overused word which encapsulates the peerless back catalogue of that queen of the plaintive lovelorn ballad, Carole King, then 'beautiful' it surely is. But now that beauty is captured in this compelling stage musicology of her life and loves.

Few would argue that Carole King's classic 1971 album Tapestry is the high-water mark of the transformative quality of this incomparable songwriter's works. But it's easy to forget what a hit songwriting team she and her then-husband Gerry Goffin were for other artists from the early Sixties onwards, before solo success came her way.

Carole King's genius for crafting timeless musical memories is all here on stage for you to savour, as a timely reminder of the simple yet powerful virtues of great pop songs.

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The Simon & Garfunkel Story

The stage story of the tall curly haired one who did most of the singing, and the little one with the guitar who wrote all those unforgettable tunes so pivotal to the soundtrack of the Sixties, has toured the world to great acclaim.

This is a pop rock musical with a difference, with old film footage and other impressive visuals adding to an immersive theatrical experience worthy of this 50th anniversary (and more) celebration of one of pop-folk music's greatest duos.

And then there are, of course, all those lovingly-honed Simon & Garfunkel songs, which are of course the essence of this thrilling musical. Shall you list them, or shall we? Well, there's Homeward Bound, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs Robinson, just for starters. At this popular show, we guarantee that when you look around you, all you'll see are sympathetic eyes.

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Bat Out Of Hell

When it comes to Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, there's an undeniable sense of "what kept you so long?" We're happy to crank up the Marshall stacks and tell you the wait is over.

The remorseless rock theatricality of Jim Steinman's big Meat Loaf hits - and they never did small - are boomed with appropriate bombast across a storyline that's full-on fantasy dystopian biker gang future shock, as you would hope and expect.

Mighty and meaty, Bat Out Of Hell is an air-punching, fist-pumping, rock 'n' roll experience delivered at full throttle.

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