What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with a trip to the theatre? There’s just something so magical about watching a great production and walking out to the lights and decorations of the city. With London buzzing with theatre this year, I’ve been thinking about all the musicals, plays and pantomimes to see over the next month or so. Here’s my list of my top choice of shows to visit with friends and family over the festive period.
One of my personal favourite shows, Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre, is in its last month of performances this Christmas. The dazzling dancing, costumes and lights of this show are fabulous and not to be missed. Marisha Wallace (who it has just been announced will star in the London production of Waitress next year) is an absolute powerhouse in the iconic role of Effie but for me the amazing Asmeret Ghebremichael must not go unmentioned. I’ve been lucky enough to see this production three times and definitely hope to see it before it closes, if not I’ll hopefully catch the tour next year! Dreamgirls may not be about Christmas, but it’s certainly a musical that will raise your spirits and warm your soul this winter.
Returning just in time for the festive season, The National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on at the Piccadilly Theatre. The play has won 7 Oliviers and 5 Tonys and its clearly pretty good as it has been seen by over three million people around the world. Following the story of 15-year-old Christopher who he tries to solve the mystery of a neighbour’s dead dog, we are taken on a rollercoaster of maths and exploration. Marianne Elliott’s production is a fantastic spectacle and really is a great experience for young people and adults. This play is sure to leave you with a smile and a new outlook on the world around you as we head into the new year.
For something a little more Christmassy, Nativity! The Musical returns to the Eventim Apollo from the 19th to the 31st December. The stage adaptation of the popular film is a great evening of fun and I adored it last year. Nativity! has been touring the country for the past few months and families have been loving it. London’s show will feature comedian Jo Brand, actor Danny Dyer and his daughter, Love Island winner, Dani Dyer. Although I don’t really think this production needs it, the feature of celebrities is definitely set to draw in audiences to this fabulously festive musical. A trip to Nativity! will have you sparking and shining away for Christmas (sorry, I had to!).
If panto is more your thing, Aladdin at the Hackney Empire is a must-see. The theatre is known for its popular pantomimes and this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the festive tradition. What’s great about the productions at the Empire is that writer and director Susie McKenna doesn’t rely on celebrities to create the magic of panto. Instead, actors direct from the West End and panto veterans such as Clive Rowe and Kat B rule the stage. This fun-filled tale of young Aladdin who dreams of finding love and fortune is the easiest way to get into the seasonal spirit with your family. Is there anything more Christmassy than a pantomime? Oh no there isn’t.
But if you think you’re too “grown-up” for a pantomime, check out Buttons: A Cinderella Story at the King’s Head Theatre. The Charles Court Opera are back with their 12th boutique pantomime and it is aimed at an adult audience. I went to the production of King Tut last year and it was absolutely hilarious, I’m so excited to go back to the theatre pub in Islington for this year’s panto. The company also put on children’s matinees but the comical show really is a great escape for adults who want to keep up the Christmas tradition with more mature humour.
What shows have you booked for the festive period?
By Jessica Battison
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