After the washout we all experienced last Christmas, we’re making it our mission to make this one go out with a bang. First on that agenda was booking our Christmas party venue and next is heading to the West End for a magical theatrical experience to remember.
For those on the lookout for Christmassy performances to book for later this year, we’ve rounded up the nine best spellbinding shows taking place this festive season. From the theatrical adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman to The Old Vic’s production of A Christmas Carol, here’s what to see…
Who doesn’t love the heartwarming story of the boy who becomes friends with his snowman? This Christmas sees Raymond Briggs’ winter novel come to life on the big stage. Fall back in love with the festive classic thanks to Bill Alexander’s directorial magic, music and lyrics from Howard Blake, including everyone’s favourite ‘Walking in the Air’, and choreography by Robert North.
Watch the magic unfold through beautiful storytelling, dance and live music. Perfect for children, adults and everyone in between, this is one magical snowy production you won’t want to miss.
When: 20th November – 2nd January
Where: Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2A 2HT
You can’t beat a panto come Christmas time. This year head down to Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road for an all-drag pantomime production of Dick Whittington. Cheryl Hole will be starring as the hero Dick Whittington as he heads out on his adventure across the light-up streets of… Soho. Expect his feisty friend cat (Holly Stars) to be tagging along for the ride too.
Does he have what it takes to be the new hero of Soho? Time will tell. Written by Gareth Joyner, expect to be roaring with laughter and seeing your favourite pantomime classic unfold in a whole new hilarious way.
When: 5th December – 9th January
Where: Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0JP
Another Christmas favourite, this time it’s the Nutcracker. With a twist. Matthew Bourne is returning this Christmas with a new arrival, bringing his family-fun mastery to life with an adaptation of the Nutcracker.
Bourne will add his wit, charm and pizazz to create an adaptation to be proud of, combining Tchaikovsky’s iconic score and Anthony Ward’s beautiful set and costume work. Follow Clara’s story, from ice-skating around the wintery wonderland through to the candy kingdom of Sweetieland.
Another Christmas favourite, this time it’s the Nutcracker. With a twist.
Battersea Arts Centre is welcoming back Sleeping Trees, the creators of Goldilocks & the Three Musketeers, this festive season for an exciting production of Sleeping Beauty and the Beast. If you’re scratching your head thinking I’ve made a mistake with the name, you’re wrong. That’s actually what it’s called.
The performance is centred around the idea that all Pantomime baddies must go somewhere after the story ends, and in this story, it’s to the Goodie-versity, an institute where Headmasters Beast and Belle teach them how to be good. But on the eve of Good-uation (another play on words for graduation), something – or, perhaps, someone – has forced Beast into a deep sleep and he cannot be risen.
Turning its hand to become a murder mystery without the murder, everyone is a suspect and the case needs to be cracked in time for Good-uation.
When: 26th November – 30th December
Where: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 5TN
Everyone adores Charles Dickens’ story of Scrooge and his journey from mean to nice come Christmas day. See the story come to life once again this Christmas at The Old Vic.
Matthew Warchus’ smash hit production of the classic tale will be returning to the theatre. Brilliantly adapted by Jack Thorne, see all of your favourite characters from Jacob Marley to Tiny Tim, not to mention the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Stephen Mangan will be starring as Scrooge.
Even those who identify with Scrooge and his feelings towards Christmas won’t be able to help but love The Old Vic’s production.
When: 13th November – 8th January
Where: The Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB
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You can always count on The Vaults for a fantastic evening of immersive dining and theatrical performances, and their new production hitting the capital this October is no different.
Enter Mulan Rouge, the production where Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge collide, creating an eventful show of drag-tastic parody. The story follows Mulan as they have to disguise themselves as a man in order to join the war effort against The Huns, but they find themselves surrounded by glitz and glam when they find their regiment commandeers the glittering Mulan Rouge as its training site.
As for the dining aspect, the culinary maestros behind Gingerline will be on hand, serving up French meets Asian cuisine and flavours.
Shakespeare’s Globe will be turning its hand to something other than Shakespeare this Christmas, with the return of the magical re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale favourite, The Fir Tree.
Grab a cup of hot cocoa (or mulled wine for the adults), gather around and see the story of Christmas unfold. The strange part? It’s all told from the point of view of the tree. Running for a limited run only, don’t miss your chance to book tickets now.
When: 20th – 30th December
WherE: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
Ballet, but still worth the mention. A London Christmas staple, the Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for a limited run of performances. See over 100 dancers and musicians perform in front of what’s set to be a sold-out audience.
Expect stunning set design and Tchaikovsky’s score to be performed live as you follow Clara and her Nutcracker’s story unfold. Book your tickets early as the return of the Nutcracker is set to sell like hotcakes.
When: 16th December – 8th January
Where: London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES
Sure, Frozen the Musical isn’t reserved just for Christmas – it’s been running all summer long and will continue until June 2022 – but obviously with it being about a Snow Queen and there being an abundance of snow, it makes sense to catch it at the coldest time of year.
Based on 2013’s very successful Disney film, the production will bring Elsa and Anna’s story to life, as well as providing your little’uns with hours of singing, dancing and fun. Expect breathtaking special effects, next level scenery and brand-new music from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, writers of the film favourite, Let It Go.
When: Until 26th June 2022
Where: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JF