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10 shows to see if you want to avoid Halloween

Check out these shows if October's scariest day isn't for you

The cast of Mame
© Pamela Raith

It's the scariest day of the year, but what if Halloween just isn't your thing? What if you'd rather be delighted than horrified, laugh out loud not scream or shriek, jump up for a standing ovation instead of leaping out of your seat in fright? Well, if Halloween parties, trick or treating and horror films aren't your bag, check out these feel-good theatre shows guaranteed to have you rolling with laughter and dancing in the aisles:

Barber Shop Chronicles

The cast of Barber Shop Chronicles
© Marc Brenner

Inua Ellams' show has had a series of runs at the National Theatre since 2017 and has toured Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. A show set in different barbershops around the world, this production opens the doors on a pivotal cultural meeting place and explores black masculinity. Energetic, emotional and exciting in every way, this play is a laugh a minute but leaves you deep in thought on a cold, autumnal night. On tour, playing at Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh from 23 October to 9 November



Maxine Peake's play about cyclist Beryl Burton was last in London at the Rose Theatre Kingston in 2016. And now the uplifting tale of the twice World Road Race champion and five-time World Pursuit champion returns this autumn. After a childhood illness left her with a weakened heart and she was advised to avoid strenuous exercise, Beryl is a story of beating the odds to become a champion. Arcola Theatre, playing from 16 October

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

The cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie
© Johan Persson

Layton Williams is currently slaying in the title role of this homegrown musical, based on the real-life story of Jamie Campbell who at 16 overcame prejudice and bullying to come out as a drag queen – Fifi la True – at his high school prom. It was first a BBC Three documentary in 2011 and now, thanks to music by Dan Gillespie Sells and book and lyrics by Tom MacRae, it's a WhatsOnStage Award-winning West End show. Apollo Theatre, currently booking until 29 August

High Fidelity

Eleanor Kane, Lauren Rae, Bobbie Little, and Jessica Lee in High Fidelity
© Mark Senior

We all have that friend with a scarily in-depth knowledge of all things music, the one who knows every conceivable lyric to every pop song ever written and who can tell you the title, artist and year of a track within three seconds of it playing. So why not celebrate their encyclopaedic genius and take that friend to see High Fidelity this Halloween? Turbine Theatre, playing from 21 October

The Lion King

The Lion King
© Disney

This month it celebrates 20 years in the West End, and it's still as joyful and uplifting as the 1994 film that won two Academy Awards. That film was the biggest release of the year and the 2019 remake tops the charts as the highest-grossing animated film of all time. But what about the stage show? Julie Taymor's direction has transformed this Hamlet inspired tale into the most profitable Broadway show of all time and a staple of London's Theatreland. What better way to keep away the Halloween ghouls with that opening number? Lyceum Theatre, currently booking until 30 May, and on tour, currently at Bristol Hippodrome


Tracie Bennett with the cast of Mame
© Pamela Raith

How can we be anything other than excited when Tracie Bennett, Harriet Thorpe and Tim Flavin are all together on stage for this musical revival? Set in New York City and spanning the Great Depression and World War II, Mame follows the life of eccentric Mame Dennis as she has to take in her young nephew after the death of her brother. And nothing will beat away a scary Halloween night like the title number under Nick Winston's direction and choreography. Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, playing until 9 November

Mary Poppins

Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp

A spoonful of sugar will certainly help this musical go down a storm when it comes to the West End later this month – just in time to fight off those scary Halloween ghouls. With Zizi Strallen, Charlie Stemp, Petula Clark and Joseph Millson leading the cast, this classic is sure to be a heart-warming tale of magical hijinx and toe-tapping numbers. So step in line for tickets, spit spot! Prince Edward Theatre, currently booking until 29 March

Noises Off

The cast of Noises Off
© Helen Maybanks

What could be funnier than a good old farce? Tied shoelaces, falling down stairs and missing sardines galore, it's time for Noises Off! Meera Syal and Sarah Hadland star in this West End transfer about the trials, tribulations and tantrums of going on tour. And with such fast pacing, there's barely time to breathe between bouts of side-splitting laughter. Garrick Theatre, currently booking until 4 January

On Your Feet!

Philippa Stefani in On Your Feet!
© Johan Persson

The Gloria Estefan show is poised to return to London in summer 2020. But before then, the rhythm is gonna get you as On Your Feet! dances its way around the UK on tour. It's scary how easily the show's Latin beats will seep into your bones and take control, with Jerry Mitchell and Sergio Trujillo in charge. So shake your body and get on down! On tour, playing at Palace Theatre, Manchester from 28 October to 2 November

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

The cast of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)
© Mihaela Bodlovic

How could we forget this adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel after WhatsOnStage reviewer Daisy Bowie-Sell gave it five stars, saying it was "a total blast of hilarity from start to finish"? The perfect piece for all those Regency fans out there, as well as those fans who enjoy a pop tune and a spot of karaoke, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a light-hearted, all-female version of the story to brighten up the dark of All Hallows Eve. On tour, playing at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 15 October to 2 November