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West End: New Year, New Shows

Some things are a given in January -- a cold snap, a resolution to visit the gym more and an inevitable glut of people giving up booze for the month. In the West End however, where Travelzoo Towers is conveniently situated, we also see a host of new shows set up shop in a bid to become the next big thing. Here's our pick of Theatreland's freshest faces with a recommendation for an old(ish) favourite.

"The Bodyguard"
Yes, the 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner has been resurrected in musical form. With more or less the same plot as the movie -- minder is hired to help protect global pop star from her stalker, accidentally falls in love with her, plot devices ensue -- this show is stuffed full of Houston's hits and is genuinely a cracking night out. A slick and glitzy production with a moving set is accompanied by an engaging if unashamedly cheesy and slightly tongue-in-cheek script, with some brilliant choreography. Catch Grammy Award-winning singer Heather Headley and "Monarch of the Glen" actor Lloyd Owen in the lead roles at the Adelphi Theatre, where prices start from £20 for a seat in the Upper Circle.

"Viva Forever!"
It's easy to forget how huge the Spice Girls really were back in 1996-1997, but new musical "Viva Forever!", which uses their back catalogue to tell a reality series-themed story about a young girl looking for fame and fortune, will remind you (and get the likes of "Wannabe" wedged back in your noggin for good measure). Written by comedy legend Jennifer Saunders and produced by "Mamma Mia!" creator Judy Craymer, it debuted last month to much fanfare and an A-list crowd, despite mixed reviews. However, critics hated "Les Misérables" when that premiered back in the 1980s, so "Viva Forever!" might be around for some time yet. Tickets range from £20-£67.50.

"Great Expectations"
According to WhatsonStage.com, this new adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic coming-of-age tale "looks magnificent". Set to replace "Uncle Vanya" at the Vaudeville Theatre from 1 February, "Great Expectations" just finished a brief UK tour and stars "Emmerdale" actress Paula Wilcox as haunted spinster Miss Havisham, Chris Ellison ("The Bill") as Magwitch and Jack Ellis of "Coronation Street" as Jaggers. Top tickets in the Stalls and Royal Circle usually cost up to £57.50, but we've found an offer from LOVEtheatre.com that chops £28 off, making the price just £29.50 per person for one of the best seats in the house.

"One Man, Two Guvnors"
Okay, okay… it may have been around for a couple of years now, but in the theatre world that's still quite new. Currently playing at Theatre Royal Haymarket, "One Man, Two Guvnors" is also midway through a UK tour and recently enjoyed a hit 6-month stint on Broadway. Set in early-1960s Brighton, it tells the tale of easily flummoxed Francis Henshall, who needs to keep his two bosses apart should they find out he's moonlighting for the other one. Easily the funniest play we've ever seen, this energetic performance comes complete with a skiffle band to entertain the audience between set changes, a hilarious dollop of audience participation and a heap of laugh-out-loud quips. Tickets for the West End show remain in very high demand so they're rarely discounted, but Get Into London Theatre is offering Gallery seats worth £16 reduced to £10; although these are up in the gods, they offer a clear view of the stage. If you'd rather a top seat, grab a £56 ticket for £35. No booking fees apply to either price. Smashing!

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Friday, 18 January 2013
See more Tips from
Isabel Plumbly