Mothering Sunday is coming up fast on 3 April. Theatre, of course, is a great way to treat mum - and yourself at the same time. Here's our round-up of the top five shows currently on in London celebrating the eternal maternal bond.
 

MAMMA MIA!
Prince of Wales Theatre

On an idyllic Greek island, Sophie and her feisty forty-something single mum Donna are as close as girl friends, but that doesn't stop Sophie, on the eve of her wedding, going behind Donna's back to snoop in her journal and try to discover the identity of her father. Without Donna knowing, Sophie invites the three potential dads from mum's wild past to her nuptials - but which parent does she really want walking her down the aisle?

Based on the songs of ABBA, Mamma Mia! opened in London in 1999 and has played to packed houses ever since. It's jam-packed with ABBA classics - such as "The Winner Takes It All", "Money Money Money", "Dancing Queen", "Chiquitita", "Voulez Vous", " Knowing Me Knowing You" and, of course, "Mamma Mia" - that will get you and mum singing along.

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BILLY ELLIOT
Victoria Palace

Billy is also brought up by a single parent - this time, his widowed miner father. But both he and dad still long for his lost mum. Billy's memories of her help inspire him to pursue his own passion for dance, rather than his father's instruction to learn to box, and fulfil his dream of attending the Royal Ballet School. In addition to its familial poignancy, Billy Elliot is a hugely uplifting and inspirational story about the transformative power of art.

The stage musical reunites the creative team behind the original 2000 Brit flick - director Stephen Daldry, writer Lee Hall and choreographer Peter Darling - and features an original score by pop singer-songwriter Elton John. It's set against the North-eastern mining strikes of the 1980s.

Billy Elliot swept the Best Musical prizes - at the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Whatsonstage.com Awards - after it premiered in London in 2005. In 2009, it transferred to Broadway, where it has become one of the most successful British musicals of all time, winning no fewer than ten Tony Awards.

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DIRTY DANCING
Aldwych Theatre

This show will take you and your mum back to the summer of 1963 when 17-year-old Frances 'Baby' Houseman learns a few things about love and dance. While on holiday with her parents and older sister in New York's Catskill Mountains, Baby discovers an all-night dance party at the resort's staff quarters. She falls for Johnny Castle, the resort dance instructor, and her life becomes full of love and dancing.

Another screen-to-stage, Dirty Dancing is based on the classic 1987 film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, whose Johnny uttered the immortal words, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

One of the best shows around for girlie guilty pleasure, the coming weeks are also your last chance to see Dirty Dancing in the West End as it'll be closing, after a record-breaking five years at the Aldwych Theatre, on 9 July.

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THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG
Gielgud Theatre

Just opened, this is the first West End offering from Kneehigh Theatre artistic director Emma Rice following the massive success of her multimedia version of Brief Encounter. It's 1957 in the French port of Cherbourg, where 16-year-old Genevieve lives with her widowed mum Madame Emery, the debt-ridden owner of the umbrella shop from which the show takes its name. Genevieve falls in love with auto-mechanic Guy, but when he's shipped off to Algeria with the army, it's left to mum to take care of her pregnant teen daughter.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is based on the French film by Jacques Demy, with the score of Grammy and Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand, including the haunting "I Will Wait for You". It stars Olivier Award winner Joanna Riding, newcomer Carly Bawden as Genevieve and international cabaret sensation Meow Meow as the story's narrator. It's a visual treat and the height of French chic.

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THE KNOT OF THE HEART
Almeida Theatre

If your mum prefers plays to musicals, here's one - though definitely not for the faint-hearted. The world premiere of this new play by David Eldridge stars Lisa Dillon, giving a powerful performance as a young woman hooked on heroin whose addiction is enabled by her mother. While difficult to watch at certain points, this is a compelling story about the nature of addiction and the potency of "unconditional" love.

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Unfortunately, none of the mum-themed shows above are actually playing on Mother's Day itself. But, if you're looking for an on-the-day theatrical outing, you do have other options. The following shows are all have Sunday performances - follow the links to book tickets now.

  • GHOST STORIES - Duke of York's Theatre - 17:00
  • JERSEY BOYS - Prince Edward Theatre - 15:00
  • STOMP - Ambassadors Theatre- 15:00
  • THE HURLY BURLY SHOW - Garrick Theatre - 17:00 & 19:00
  • THE LION KING - Lyceum Theatre - 14:30
  • THE WIZARD OF OZ - London Palladium - 15:00
  • THRILLER LIVE! - Lyric Theatre - 15:30

  • MAKE MUM A MEMBER!

    And, last but not least, for a mum who loves theatre, another great gift option is membership to our Whatsonstage.com Theatre Club, which costs just £30 a year! Benefits include advance discounted booking on all our events, top shows at group rates, a subscription to our bi-monthly print magazine, regular free ticket promotions and much much more.

    And we're making it more affordable than ever! Book now using the promo code "WOSMUM" (note, code is case-sensitive) and pay just £15! That's a whopping 50% saving for making your mum feel special. What are you waiting for? Click here to join our Theatre Club