Old but Gold: Six of London’s Longest Running Plays

Rocco Forte Hotels

On the doorstep of Brown’s Hotel lies the dressing up box that is London’s theatreland, home to nearly 40 theatres and a chorus line of world-renowned plays and musicals. As the first hotel in London, we’ve witnessed a multitude of curtains rise and fall since 1837.

To celebrate their popular longevity, we’ve rounded up a list of West End shows that have taken the phrase ‘the show must go on’ to its zenith, entertaining both Londoners and visitors for a lifetime.

The Mousetrap

Delve into Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap and join the mystery play that’s been turning audiences into detectives for 70 years. Performed more than 28,000 times, it’s not only the longest-running play in London but also the longest-running play in the world.

Its prolific author, Agatha Christie, a frequent visitor to Brown’s, ensured the story’s secrets remain on stage as no film adaptation can be produced until the production has been closed for six months. This is a classic whodunnit with a shocking twist at the end, The Mousetrap’s audience is under strict instructions from the cast not to share the secrets of the play outside the doors of the St Martin’s Theatre.

Les Miserables

If musicals make your heart sing, you’ll be moved by Victor Hugo’s famed tale of redemption and revolution, seen by over 130 million people across the world. First opened in October 1985, making an instant star of its lead singer, Michael Ball, there’s a reason Les Miserables holds the title of the longest-running musical in London's West End.

Rousing show tunes and a gripping storyline lead you to the barricades of the French Revolution as you follow the adventures of the French peasant Jean Valjean on his release from jail. You’ll meet dynamic and endearing characters as the dramatic events play out on the stage of the Sondheim Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is here… and he’s been here since 1986, taking centre stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre for an impressive 36 years. With the Phantom wearing a mask to cover his disfigurement, you can’t help but fall for our anti-hero. Our lovable villain’s journey takes you through spine-tingling musical numbers. Open up your mind, the Phantom plaintively sings, and journey through a strange new world.

Discover the haunting, if not disturbing love story of the masked Phantom, brilliantly portrayed by Michael Crawford in the original and dramatised to a timeless score by renowned composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber. The theatre impresario is also behind hit shows such as ‘Evita’ and ‘Cats’ and is the recipient of six Tonys, three Grammys and an Academy Award and a knighthood in 1992.

The Woman in Black

Enthralling audiences for 33 years, The Woman in Black has been haunting the Fortune Theatre on Russell Street since 1989.
Watch an eerie marsh flow over the stage, spot the black-cloaked woman and listen to the wailing winds as this world-famous ghost story unfolds before you. Just remember to grab a programme to hide behind when it all gets a little too scary.

Mamma Mia!

For a euphoric night out at the theatre, join visitors to the West End who’ve been singing, dancing and clapping along to ABBA’s best hits since April 1999. The jukebox musical sensation Mamma Mia! has taken over three different theatres in its 23-year run, and is currently running at the Novello Theatre.

Meet mother-daughter duo Donna and Sophie as they navigate a surprising development that disrupts their idyllic life on the beautiful Greek island they call home: three ex-lovers and three potential fathers. The feel-good finale is guaranteed to have you up on your feet and singing along in the aisles.

The Lion King

Hear the lions roar at the Lyceum Theatre where The Lion King has been showing since October 1999. 

With a soundtrack created by ‘Rocket Man’ Elton John, show-stopping, vibrant costumes and giant life-like puppets, the coming-of-age story of family, betrayal and strength in adversity is a joy for all ages and set to run for decades to come.

When visiting London’s West End, top and tail your evening with a pre-theatre dinner at Charlie’s and a post-show drink at The Donovan Bar. Ask our Concierge about tickets to the best shows on reception.browns@roccofortehotels.com or call +44 20 7493 6020.

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