Christmas Theatre: What’s Cool This Yule?
“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine!” A season in which theatre is at its prime. You betcha, it’s that time of year again and what better way to celebrate the festive season than by taking a trip to ‘ye olde London town’ and attending a show? With the holiday season coming up, the West End and other big London theatres have upped their game in order to fill your stockings with fantastic festive treats. Of course being in the UK’s theatre capital there is something for everyone this Christmas. If you are at a loss of what to do to entertain your children in the school break, what to do with Nanna on Boxing Day, or even which show is best to increase your chances of a little under-mistletoe-action with your yuletide honey, then rest assured: we have picked the cream of the crop to keep you in a jolly jingle all the way through to 2014!
For Panto Lovers
Some people don’t get it but one thing is for sure, the Brit’s love a good pantomime! Some say Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a cheeky panto Dame and a golden-egg-laying comedy goose, but luckily for them there is plenty on the Panto front this Christmas.
Following the success of Sleeping Beauty the Park Theatre’s annual Pantomime returns with the second instalment of The Chronicles of Waa. This quirky panto tells the story of Jack and his mum Tina (Tupperware consultant to the stars) who fall upon hard times and are forced to sell their trusted cow Daisy, que adventure with a giant. Original music, magic and laughter are sure to delight the whole family.
Where: The Park Theatre
When: 26th November 2014 – 4th January 2015
Who: Ages 7+
Why: Because what is Christmas without a cheeky innuendo from a man in a sparkly dress? Plus there are prizes for those who come up on stage with their own Tupperware!
For Fairy-tale Fiends
The festive season has always been a time in which magical stories are told. From folk law galore to mythical mayhem, Christmas is certainly a time for fantasy. Our pick of the West End’s fairytale favourites are great for both big kids and small:
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland are brought to life through the medium of dance. Christopher Wheeldon’s imaginative ballet captures all of Lewis Carroll’s much loved characters including the nervy White Rabbit, the spiteful Queen of Hearts and the Caterpillar.
Where: The Royal Opera House
When: 6th Dec 2014 to the 16th Jan 2015
Who: Ages 5+
Why: Inventive choreography stunning sets and costumes and hello a tap dancing mad hatter make this the perfect show for the whole family.
Forget crackers – a trip to this magical musical is certain to make your Christmas go with a bang! Wicked is a ‘cool’ fairy-tale with a twist. The story is the tale of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ told from the perspective of the ‘Wicked’ Witch of the West, Elphaba. Wicked begins with Elphaba’s first day at magic school and shows her struggle to fit in (despite being born green!) with the popular witches and wizards. The action unfolds as Elphaba and the beautiful young Galinda (Glinda) become friends and as one becomes a figure of good, the other is labelled by the government as being wicked. ‘Wicked’ boasts all the magic of the festive season and promises to leave audiences spell bound.
Where: The Apollo Victoria Theatre
When: Now – 7th November 2015.
Who: Ages 8+
Why: Christmas trees are green and so is Elphaba, go figure.
For those who are Crackers about Christmas
Whilst there are plenty of shows that fulfill the festive spirit, sometimes that is simply not enough for a Christmas craving crowd who want some pure seasonal indulgence. Here is our pick of actual Christmas shows:
Goodbye winter blues, hello Christmas cheer! White Christmas is a festive extravaganza and the perfect way to inject some seasonal spirit into your life. The classic Bing Crosby movie that tells the story of two ex-army friends Bob Wallace and Phil Davis who team up with a pair of sisters to put on a show to save their formal Generals Ski Lodge is brought to life on stage. The musical features Irving Berlin’s much loved music including “Sisters”, “Snow”, “Count Your Blessings” and of course “White Christmas”. Guaranteed to warm your cockles and leave you feeling festive.
Where: The Dominion Theatre
When: Now – 3rd of January 2015
Who: Ages 5+
Why: Because it stars everybody’s favourite Christmas celebrity Aled Jones and it snows in the auditorium.
For twinkle toe lovers, ‘The Nutcracker’ is the ultimate Christmas ballet! Traditionally performed each year during the festive period, The Nutcracker is the enchanting tale of a young girl and her enchanted toy and their journey into the land of sweets. In terms of festive cheer, it doesn’t get better than ‘The Nutcracker’ which is set on Christmas Eve. There is plenty of festive eye candy (cane) as scenes take place around an enormous Christmas tree and later in a land filled with sweets.
Where: The London Coliseum
When: 11th December – 4th January.
Who: Ages 5+
Why: Because Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without dancing mice and a trip from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
For Santa’s Little Helpers
Let’s face it, Christmas is above all a time for the little ones to revel in the joy and happiness of the magical time of year.
Nothing screams Christmas more than a snowman brought to life by miscellaneous magic and his adventures with a boy companion. This 80’s classic has become intrinsically linked with the festive season. I for one would feel as if the Grinch had stolen Christmas if I was not at home to watch the Christmas Eve showing of The Snowman! Luckily the heart-warming tale is being brought to life at the Peacock Theatre, and this news has got me walking in the air!
Where: The Peacock Theatre
When: 26th November – 4th January.
Who: All age groups are welcome! Children under the age of 2 are admitted for free, children 2+ must have their own ticket.
Why: Because Santa, yes SANTA performs live on stage.
Will Tuckett’s enchanting production returns to the West End for its annual Christmas run. This Olivier Award winning show blends dance, music and puppetry along with fantastic stage designs. The classic story of shy Mole, debonair Ratty wise Badger and reckless Mr. Toad and their adventures on the river bank is imaginatively transported to a charming old attic. Alan Titchmarsh makes his stage debut as the show’s narrator author Kenneth Grahame.
Where: The Vaudeville Theatre
When: 26th November 2014 – 17th of January 2015.
Who: Ages 5+
Why: This delightful adaptation is sure to bring this much loved tale to a whole new generation.
This Christmas experience the magic of the Railway children as the Olivier Award winning adaptation returns to London in a brand new purpose built venue in Kings Cross station. E Nesbit’s classic story of how Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis became the rail way children is sure to delight all ages!
Where: Kings Cross Station
When: 16th December 2014 – 1st March 2015.
Who: Ages 2+
Why: The stage is built around a real track and the show features a real life steam train. Enough said!
Something a bit Different…
Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more quirky? A festive treat that’s not too heavy on the Christmas aspect.
Back by popular demand Slava’s Snow show returns to the Royal Festival Hall for a fourth magical year. The show features clowning and stunning visual effects. Fun for all the family!
Where: The Royal Festival Hall
When: 17th December 2014 – 5th of January 2015
Who: Ages 5+
Why: Giant coloured balls that bounce around the auditorium and in an in house blizzard ensure this is the quirkiest seasonal treat around.
Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed dance adaptation of Tim Burton’s enchanting film fable returns to Sadler’s Wells after sell out performances in Europe, America and Australia. Featuring the beautiful music from the film this show is the ideal alternative festive outing.
Where: Sadler’s Wells
When: 2nd December 2014 – 11 th January 2015
Who: Ages 5+ Some scenes may not be suitable for very young children.
Why: What could be more seasonally appropriate than the story of where the snow comes from.
Whatever show you decide to see this Christmas, it is certain that the West End will be the perfect holiday treat for you and your loved ones! So before you get those chestnuts roasting on that open fire and start supping that hard earned steaming glass of mulled wine, have a little think about what show will be best to entertain you all the way into the new year! A very merry Christmas to all!