Christmas shows 2013
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
IF YOU like theatre and are wondering what to do this Christmas, the capital will almost certainly have a show to suit your taste. Here, in alphabetical order, is a selection:
Aladdin – New Wimbledon Theatre – December 6, 2013 to January 12, 2014.
Oliver Thornton (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Starlight Express, The Rocky Horror Show) takes the title role of Aladdin, with Olivier award winning actor David Bedella (Jerry Springer – The Opera, The Rocky Horror Show) as Abanazer, Jo Brand as the Genie of the Ring and Matthew Kelly as Widow Twanky.
Buttons – Another Cinderella Story – Rosemary Branch Theatre – December 6, 2013 to January 7, 2014.
In this topsy-turvy retelling of one of the best loved fairytales, audiences can expect all their favourite characters, fabulous musical numbers, dreadful jokes and plenty of slapstick. Performances range from adults-only nights to childrens’ matinees.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Theatre Royal Drury Lane – booking until November 1, 2014.
Douglas Hodge stars as Willie Wonka in this new musical version of the Roald Dahl classic, directed by Sam Mendes.
Read our review
Cinderella: A Fairytale – Unicorn Theatre – November 26, 2013 to January 5, 2014. Suitable for ages 6+.
Nominated for an Olivier Award in 2013, Cinderella: A Fairytale’s quirky visual style, crystal-clear storytelling and original live music bring this classic tale of reversed fortunes imaginatively to life.
And for under 5s, the Unicorn Theatre is presenting Clement Clarke Moore’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas… from December 3, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
Emil and the Detectives – National Theatre (Olivier) – November 16, 2013 to February 20, 2014.
For this classic tale of a boy learning to rely on himself – and on his new friends – the Olivier stage transforms into 1920s Berlin: a place full of surprises and danger, where everything moves at the speed of your imagination.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – Sadler’s Wells – December 4, 2013 to January 26, 2014.
Now firmly established as a modern day classic, this iconic production is perhaps best-known for replacing the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble.
Meet Me In St. Louis – Landor Theatre – December 11, 2013 to January 18, 2014.
Based on the 1944 MGM motion picture starring Judy Garland, this Broadway musical receives its UK premiere this Christmas.
Peter Pan – Richmond Theatre – December 6, 2013 to January 12, 2014.
Henry Winkler (OBE), best known for his role as The Fonz in US TV series Happy Days, plays the bad guy everyone loves to hate, the dastardly Captain Hook.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong – Pleasance Theatre – December 10, 2013 to Sunday, January 5, 2014.
In this new comedy from Mischief Theatre, the creators of the West End hit The Play that Goes Wrong, the inept and accident prone Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society set out to present J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of Peter Pan.
Puss in Boots – Greenwich Theatre – November 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
The classic tale of a poor young man whose fortunes are transformed with the help of a magical talking cat is brought to life in Greenwich Theatre’s latest pantomime – but can Puss really outwit the evil goblin and survive with any of his nine lives intact…?
Seussical – Arts Theatre – November 30, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
Join The Cat in the Hat as he takes a journey into the ‘fantastical, bombastical and songtastical’ world of Dr. Seuss.
Slava’s Snowshow – Royal Festival Hall – December 17, 2013 to January 6, 2014.
The multi award-winning international sensation Slava’s Snowshow has delighted and thrilled audiences in over 80 cities around the globe, including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.
This Christmas experience a joyous, dream-like world that will touch both your heart and funny bone, culminating in a breathtaking blizzard leaving you literally knee-deep in snow!
Snow Play – Bloomsbury Theatre – December 10, 2013 to Saturday, January 11, 2014.
Winter, in the form of Mr White, refuses to leave when Mr Green, representing Spring, arrives back home from his holidays. Worse still, Mr White loves covering Mr Green’s house and garden with snow! As the weather gets warmer the two embark on a series of adventures, in a fun-filled snowy-showdown between the seasons.
Stick Man – Leicester Square Theatre – November 16, 2013 to January 5, 2014. Suitable for children aged 3+, their friends and families.
Based on the best-selling book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), Stickman follows the adventures of a misunderstood stick man. One day whilst out for a jog, he is pounced on by a playful dog. Mistaken for an ordinary stick, he is swept far away and used for all sorts of things: from a flag mast to a cricket bat, a snowman’s arm to firewood (well almost!).
The Elephantom – The Shed (NT) – December 9, 2013 to January 11, 2014 (daytime slot).
For children and grown-ups of all ages, the story of one little girl and her larger-than-life friend is brought to life with puppetry and theatrical ingenuity.
The Good Neighbour – Battersea Arts Centre – December 6, 2013 to January 4, 2014.
Following its success last year, The Good Neighbour, a magical, interactive show for 6-11 year olds and their families, returns to BAC.
The Jungle Book – Lion and Unicorn Theatre – December 3, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
Based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli, a teenager who has been raised by wolves in the Indian jungle after losing his family. When the wolves hear that the fierce tiger, Shere Kahn, is challenging their new charge, they decide to send their reluctant cub to safety.
The Little Mermaid – Riverside Studios – December 10, 2013 to January 12, 2014.
Blind Tiger Theatre Company is presenting a musical version of Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a beautiful mermaid who, on her 15th birthday and from unrequited love, make a dangerous pact that changes her life forever.
The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful – Jack Studio Theatre – December 11, 2013 to January 4, 2014 (suitable for ages 12+).
The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful is described as a gothic horror, quick-change tour-de-force that brings werewolves, vampires and ancient artefacts gloriously to life.
The Night Before Christmas – Chickenshed – November 27, 2013 to January 11, 2014.
It’s Christmas Eve and, too excited to sleep, the children are desperate to tear into their huge sack of presents. However the gifts they find are clearly not for them – instead these are gifts meant for Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters, Mr Ebenezer Scrooge and The Snow Queen. So the children realise they must journey to magical faraway lands to return these presents, learning the true meaning of Christmas as they go – and all before Midnight!
The Snowman – Peacock Theatre – November 27, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
Based on Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, the show has become a modern classic, delighting children with its enchanting mix of storytelling, spectacle and magic.
Read our review of the 2007 production
The Snow Gorilla – Rose Theatre Kingston – November 29, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
In this story of a boy who runs away to join the circus, circus and storytelling collide on the Rose Theatre stage to create a hugely entertaining spectacle for the young and young at heart.
The Wind in the Willows – Duchess Theatre – December 11, 2013 to February 1, 2014.
Tony Robinson returns to the stage for the first time in 16 years to play the show’s narrator, author Kenneth Grahame, in the Royal Opera House’s production of The Wind in the Willows, in which the adventures of reckless Toad and his long-suffering friends Ratty, Mole and Badger are retold through dance, song, music and puppetry.
War Horse – New London Theatre – booking until October 27, 2014.
Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel and adapted for stage by Nick Stafford, War Horse is the story of Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse who, at the outbreak of World War One, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France.
The production, which uses life-size puppets to portray horses and other selected characters (the goose, for example), won the 2007 Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Laurence Olivier Awards for Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Company’s set design.
Read our review
FOR ADULTS ONLY
Jack Off the Beanstalk – Above the Stag Theatre – November 29, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
Above the Stag Theatre re-opens in a new venue – a renovated railway arch in Vauxhall – with its infamous annual adult pantomime, which features cross-dressing, romance, sweet-throwing, silliness and songs.
Dick! Comes Again: Bigger, Longer, Harder! – Leicester Square Theatre – November 27, 2013 to January 19, 2014.
Following the success of last year’s Dick!, Miss Dusty ‘O’ reurns to Leicester Square Theatre to star in this adult panto.