A feast of festive fun and games
Take your pick from our guide to Christmas shows, pantomimes and seasonal extravaganzas
29 November, 2018 — By Julie Tomlin
Luke Latchman in Dick-Whittington at the Lyric-Hammersmith. Photo: Tristram Kenton
From magical, enchanting classics to pun-filled, laugh-out-loud pantos, there’s something to suit every mood as you get ready for Christmas this year.
There’s a feast of shows to delight everyone from the very youngest to the oldest, including a host of whacky and extravagant pantos whether you’re a fan of the traditional tales, those with a twist or the cheeky ones full of innuendo.
If none of that tickles your fancy, or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of shows to choose from to brighten up the cold winter nights.
Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane, Fleet St, EC4, 020 7353 3331. Mon-Fri 7.30pm (Sat 1pm, 4.30pm & 7.30pm) Dec 3-8.
Aladdin sets out to win over the feisty princess Jasmine and defeat the evil Sorcerer Abanazar who wants to seize control of SoHo and its people. All ages.
Hackney Empire, Mare Street, E8, 020 8985 2424. Tue-Sun various times, until Jan 6, 2019.
Pantomime star Clive Rowe stars alongside Tameka Empson in Hackney Empire’s much-loved Christmas production. All ages.
New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19, 0844 871 7646. Tues-Sun various times, Dec 8-Jan 6, 2019.
Starring Paul Merton as Widow Twankey, Lee Ryan as Aladdin and Magician Pete Firman, who is on hand to help overcome the evil Abanazar. All ages.
Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton St,W1D, 0871 716 7960. Mon-Sat 7.30pm (Thur-Sat 2.30pm), until Jan 1, 2019.
Featuring songs from the Disney film, a lavish production that promises over 350 lavish costumes and two million Swarovski crystals awaits. Ages 6+
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Shaw Theatre, Euston Road, NW1, 0844 248 5075. Various dates and times, Dec 8-30.
The story of Beauty, a bad-mannered Prince who is transformed into a Beast to teach him a lesson and a Good Fairy who makes both their dreams come true. Ages 2+
The King’s Head, 115 Upper St, N1, 020 7478 0160. Tue-Sat 7.30pm (Sat & Sun 3pm), until Jan 5, 2019.
Charles Court Opera returns with a fairytale favourite turned upside down with John Savournin as a ludicrously tall Dame, songs, puns and magic aplenty. Adults and children-only performances.
Tower Theatre, 16 Northwold Road, N16, 020 7353 1700. Wed-Sat 7pm (Sat 3pm), Dec 12-19.
Performed by the graduating year group of the Musical Theatre Academy, a traditional family panto, with original songs. All ages.
CINDERELLA AND THE BEANSTALK
Theatre 503, Battersea Park Rd, SW11, 020 7978 7040. Wed-Sun 7pm (Sat & Sun 2.30pm & Wed 2.30pm from Jan 2), Dec 5-Jan 5, 2019.
With an all-female cast, the Sleeping Trees’ Cinderella and the Beanstalk follows Cinderella who is blackmailed by Rumpelstiltskin into trying to retrieve the Golden Eggs from the top of The Beanstalk. All ages.
Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, W6, 020 8741 6850. Tues-Sat, various times, until Jan 6, 2019.
Continuing the Lyric’s 10-year tradition of asking up-and-coming playwrights to put their own spin on a classic story, director Jude Christian and comedian Cariad Lloyd are staging their take on the tale with live music and edgy characters. Ages 6+
Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, E15, 020 8534 0310.
Various dates and times, Dec 1-Jan 12.
Sleeping Beauty wakes from a deep sleep after a hundred years to find herself in a new city with a cruel fairy hot on her heels. All ages.
London Palladium , Argyll Street, W1F, 020 7087 7755. Various dates and times, Dec 8-Jan 13, 2019.
Comedian Dawn French takes on a new role as The Wicked Queen in this year’s traditional panto, which also stars Julian Clary. Ages 3+
The Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth St, NW8, 020 7258 2925. Wed-Sat & Tues-Sun 7.30pm Dec12-15 and 18.
An anarchic take on this traditional story where everyone wants to be a Queen and Cinderella isn’t nice anymore. Written by Christine Ellerbeck.
THE BOY UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE
The King’s Head, 115 Upper St, N1, 020 7478 0160. Tue-Sat 9.15pm ( Sun 5.15pm), Dec 11-30.
Aspiring comedian Lawrence Bennett faces a dilemma when he wakes up on Christmas morning after a bad gig to find a handsome young man almost naked under his Christmas tree.
JACK OFF THE BEANSTALK
The Space @ Studio 88, Whitcomb St, WC2, 020 7889 1966. Various dates and times, Dec 1-Jan 5, 2019.
With a title that speaks for itself, Wiltax Productions’ show includes YouTube star Dan Armstrong in the title role, alongside characters that include Fairy Hanny and Fleshlight.
A Lad in Soho
A LAD IN SOHO
Sanctum Soho Hotel, Warwick Street, W1, 0333 666 3366. Various times, Dec 14-23.
The latest from Simon Gross, the producer behind the long-running panto Snow White and the Seven Poofs, this innuendo-filled riff on the Aladdin story has a soundtrack that includes Madonna and The Village People.
Canal Cafe Theatre, Delamere Terrace, Little Venice, W2, 020 7289 6045. Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Dec 5-29.
A saucy fairy story with a 21st century twist in which girl-meets-boy on Tindr, which leads to Ella meeting Prince Roger in Nandos, while the rapping Fairy Matchmaker is on hand to help.
David Walliams and the cast of Awful Auntie, at the Bloomsbury Theatre
Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon St, WC1, 020 3108 1000. Tue-Sun various times, Dec 12-Jan 6, 2019.
Stage adaptation of David Walliams’ children’s book, in which Stella discovers she’s in for the fight of her life against her Aunt Alberta. Ages 5 +
THE BOX OF DELIGHTS
Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, E1, 020 7702 2789. Mon-Sat 7.30pm (various matinees 2.30pm), Nov 30-Jan 5, 2019.
Based on John Masefield’s 1935 book, the story of a young orphan who is charged with protecting the Box of Delights and its time-travelling powers. Age 8+
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Rayne Theatre, Chickenshed, Chase Side, Southgate, N14, 020 8292 9222. Tue-Sun, various times, Dec 5-30.
Set in the 1930s, a retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge that has become a firm family favourite since it was written 175 years ago. Age 5+.
Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1, 020 3879 9555. Wed-Sun various times (Tue 2.30pm, Jan 1), Dec 19-Jan 5, 2019.
Full of daredevil performers, acrobats, jugglers and trapeze artists from across the globe, plus giant puppet elephants, Circus 1903 is a celebration of the golden age of circus free from animal cruelty. Age 3+.
THE GOLDEN GOOSES
The Courtyard Theatre, Bowling Green Walk, N1, 0844 477 1000. Sun 2pm & 5pm, Dec 16 and Jan 20.
A Goodge Street Theatre Group production based on The Brothers Grimm story in association with the London School of Russian Language and Literature. All ages.
HANSEL AND GRETEL
The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, WC1, 020 7121 1100. Various dates and times, Dec 15-24.
An imaginative new take on a favourite fairytale from Vicki Igbokwe and Uchenna Dance. All ages.
Vera Chok as Little Red Riding Hood – one of Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales
PHILIP PULLMAN’S GRIMM TALES
The Unicorn Theatre, Tooley St, Southwark, SE1, 020 7645 0560. Various times, until Jan 6, 2019,
A collection of the Grimm brothers’ legendarily fairy stories, as retold by author Philip Pullman and adapted for the stage by Philip Wilson. Ages 8+
HANSEL AND GRETEL
Royal Opera House, Bow St, WC2E, 0844 871 3018. Mon-Sat, various times, Dec 11- 29.
Antony McDonald’s production pays tribute to the picture-book German landscape and to the enchanting fairytale narratives of the Brothers Grimm, an opera that has been associated with Christmas ever since it premiered in1893 in Weimar. Ages 6+
Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22, 020 8365 2121. Wed-Sun, various times, Dec13- 30.
Charles Dickens and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are enlisted to help a young boy save the day when Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red. A new family play created by the team behind Horrible Histories. Ages 4+
NATIVITY THE MUSICAL!
Hammersmith Apollo, Queen Caroline St, W6, 0844 249 4300. Various dates and times, Dec 19-30.
Father and daughter Danny and Dani Dyer, comedian Jo Brand and West End star Simon Lipkin appear in this festival musical based on the hit film and adapted for the stage by Debbie Isitt. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET’S NUTCRACKER
English National Ballet, London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2, 020 7845 9300. Tues-Sun, various times, including family-friendly matinees, Dec 13-30.
More than 100 dancers and musicians tell the story of a young girl’s Christmas adventure that begins in snowy Edwardian London.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. 020 7589 8212. Fri-Mon, various times, Dec 28-31.
Birmingham Royal Ballet returns with a magical version of this enduring Christmas ballet created specially for the Royal Albert Hall. All ages.
Lion and Unicorn, 42-44 Gaisford St, NW5, 020 7267 2304. Sun 2pm & 4pm, Dec 2 and Sat 12pm & 2pm, Sun 11am and 2pm, Dec 8-9.
A retelling of ETA Hoffman’s classic Christmas tale about the magical events that unfold after the toymaker Drosselmeier gives Marie and Fritz a nutcracker in the shape of a soldier. Ages 4+
THE ROYAL BALLET’S THE NUTCRACKER
Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, Bow St, WC2, 0844 871 3018. Dec 3-Jan 15, 2019.
A classic ballet that transports audiences to the Kingdom of Sweets, accompanied by the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s score. Ages 5+
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4, 020 7870 6876. Mon-Sat 7.30pm (Sat 3pm & various matinees Dec 24, 27, 31 & Jan 3), Dec 4-Jan 5, 2019.
Alexander Vlahos, best known for playing Philippe, Duke of Orleans in Versailles and Mordred in BBC drama Merlin, stars as Captain Hook alongside Nickcolia King-N’Da as Peter Pan in a tale with mermaids, pirates and fairies, lost boys and crocodiles. Ages 5+
Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton St, N1. 020 7684 0060. Mon-Sun various times, Dec 13-30.
Packed with songs, comedy and lots of audience participation, Enfield’s Millfield Arts Centre’s bring their own spin to the classic fairy tale, bringing along Witcherty Grub and Mary Cherry, the castle cook. Free lap seats for under-3s.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1, 020 3879 9555. Various dates and times, Dec 13-Jan 6, 2018.
A new version of classic fairytale, Rumpelstiltskin, in which two friends are torn apart by a shape-shifting imp set on revenge. Ages 8+
Camden People’s Theatre, Hampstead Rd, NW1, 0207 419 4841. Thur-Fri 7.30pm (Fri 3pm), Dec 20-21.
Performed in British Sign Language and with spoken English and captioning, this one-man show incorporates digital mapping with live action from some of Charles Dickens’ characters in A Christmas Carol. Ages 6+
SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL
Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, SE1, 020 7407 0234. Tues-Sat 7.30pm (Tue, Sat & Sun 3pm), until Dec 29.
The Cat in the Hat and other Dr Seuss favourites, Horton the Elephant and Gertrude McFuzz appear in this Whoville production of this song and dance extravaganza. Co-conceived by Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. All ages.
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX, 020 7734 2222. Various days and times, until January 6.
Ddaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s tale of the little wooden fellow who heads off for his morning jog but gets whisked away on various misadventures as he tries to get back to his family tree for Christmas, translates brilliantly for the stage. All ages.
ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET’S SWAN LAKE
English National Ballet, London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2, 020 7845 9300. 13 performances, Jan 3-30.
A prince, a swan queen and an evil sorcerer – this classic ballet is perfect for fans or first-timers.
MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R, 020 7863 8000. Tue-Sat 7.30pm (Sat 2.30pm & Sun 2pm & 7pm), Dec 4-Jan 27.
A reimagining of the ballet classic from Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston and Paule Constable, which is famous for replacing the female corps de ballet with an all-male cast. All ages.
The Peacock, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1, 0844 412 4300. Various dates and times, until Jan 6, 2019.
When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure. All ages.
Shakespeare’s Globe, Sam Wanamaker’s Playhouse, New Globe Walk, SE1, 020 7902 1409. Sat 6pm & Sun 3pm & 6pm, Dec 22-23.
A festive celebration for the whole family that includes stories and songs with dancer, Steven Player and instrumental music from The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble and The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments. All ages.
The Gingerbread Man is at Jackson’s Lane
FESTIVE CHILDREN’S SHOWS
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1, 020 7226 1787.Wed-Sun, various times, until Dec 30.
Based on the book written and illustrated by Quentin Blake, this production was first performed at the Little Angel in 1974 and has since become a popular classic. Designed by Lyndie Wright and directed by Sarah Wright. Ages 5-11.
BRAT KIDS CARNIVAL
The Spiegel Tent, Leicester Square, WC2, 03333 444 167. Wed-Fri 3pm (Sun 1pm,3pm, Sat 11am, 1pm), until Dec 30.
Hula hoops at top speed, acrobatics and mischievous clowning are all on offer at the Brief’s show, where youngsters are encouraged on stage to dance and take part. Ages 4+
CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1, 020 7226 1787. Thur 5.30-7.30pm, Dec 13.
An magical evening of carolling, with Barb Jungr, puppets and Angelo, Wow! It’s Night-time and Finding Santa casts. All ages.
Rayne Theatre Chickenshed, Chase Side, Southgate, N14, 020 8292 9222. Various dates and times, Dec 5-30.
Fun and festive show for young children with puppets, singing, dancing and some larger than-life characters. Ages 0-7
Finding Santa is at the Little Angel. Photo: Ellie Kurttz
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1, 020 7226 1787.Various dates and times, until Dec 24.
When something goes wrong with the mail, how will Santa’s elves make sure all the letters for Santa Claus are delivered to him at the North Pole on time? Quirky Christmas adventure in which the audience helps decide how the story unfolds. Ages 3-8.
THE GINGERBREAD MAN
Jackson’s Lane, Archway Rd, N6, 020 8340 5226. Various dates and times, Dec 1-24.
A new version of this classic tale of the cheeky gingerbread hero and the sly old fox from Hiccup Theatre, with original songs. Ages 3+
THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD
Arts Depot, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley N12, 020 8369 5454. Mon-Thur 10am & 1.30pm (Sat-Sun 11am & 2pm), Dec 4-6 Jan, 2019.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel to The Gruffalo is bought to life in this musical adaptation. Ages 3+
Arts Depot, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley N12, 020 8369 5454. Mon-Thur 10.30am & 1.15pm (Sat – Sun 10.30 am & 1.30pm), Dec 11-31.
Oily Cart’s Hippity Hop returns to introduce a new generation to hip hop, with poetry, puppetry, and a specially written soundtrack by hip hop artist BREIS. Ages 2-5.
MR RABBIT MEETS BRER SANTA
Puppet Theatre Barge, Blomfield Road, W9, 020 7249 6876. Various dates and times, Dec 1-31.
Voiced by Rudolph Walker, better known as Patrick Truman in EastEnders, Brer Rabbit is back to his mischievous ways in this Christmas adventure. Ages 3+
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Arts Depot, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley N12, 020 8369 5454. Sat-Sun 11am & 1.30 pm (also Sat 3.30pm), Dec 1-2.
A magical festive tale about a little mouse’s adventures as he sets off in search of Father Christmas to find out why animals don’t get presents. Ages 3+
OPERATION OUCH! LIVE ON STAGE
Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1, 0844 871 7627. Various dates and times, Dec 6-Jan 6,2019.
With Dr Chris and Dr Xand. Based on the hit CBBC children’s television series, Operation Ouch! is performing for the first time in the UK. Ages 5-12
RETURN TO ELM HOUSE
Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11, 020 7223 2223. Wed-Sat and Mon Dec 24, various times, Dec 1-30.
A quest to uncover the secrets of Elm House, which once stood on the site of BAC, and follow magical trails to discover the fascinating story of Jeanie Nassau Senior, a social pioneer and Britain’s first female civil servant. Presented by BAC Moving Museum. Ages 6+
ROOM ON THE BROOM
Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D, 0330 333 4812. Various dates and times, until Jan 3, 2019.
A witch and her cat go on a mission to defeat the dragon in Tall Stories’ musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Age 3+
THE SHOWSTOPPERS’ CHRISTMAS KIDS SHOW!
Leicester Square, WC2, 0333 344 4167. Sun 11am (Thur-Fri 1pm Dec 20-21, Sat 3pm Dec 22 & Fri 1pm, Dec 28), Dec 2-30.
Improvised Christmas play that puts children in charge as younger members of the audience are invited to shout out suggestions for what happens next, creating a show in which anything could happen. Age 6+
Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12 020 8743 5050. Mon-Sat, various times, Dec 3-8.
As her friend Kai falls under the spell of the powerful snow queen, Gerda goes on a quest to save him. But can things ever be the same again? Ages 3+
Wow! It’s Night Time at Little Angel Theatre
WOW! IT’S NIGHT TIME
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1, 020 7226 1787. Various dates and times, Dec 7-Jan 27, 2019.
Based on Tim Hopgood’s original nocturnal sequel to WOW! Said the Owl, the curious little owl discovers the wonders of night-time. Ages 2-5.
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS SHOWS
AWAY IN A STRANGER
Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St, W1, 020 7478 0100. Mon-Sat 9.15pm, Dec 10-Jan 5, 2019.
Witness the miracle of baby Greg and see in Gregmas Eve with Australian comic Sam Simmons.
CINDERELLA: A WICKED MOTHER OF A NIGHT OUT!
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42-46 Pollard Row, E2. London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Grays Inn Rd, WC1. Various dates and times, Dec 10-15.
Anarchic, immersive take on the story of Cinderella which mixes panto fun with a Christmas night in the pub. Touring to Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and London Welsh Centre, it’s told using songs by a live band. Written by Luke Barnes and produced by Not Too Tame.
A GATSBY CHRISTMAS
The London Cabaret Club, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, WC1, 020 7242 0002. Various dates and times, until Dec 31.
The grand hall of the London Cabaret Club is transformed into a winter wonderland, in which the great Mr Gatsby will host one of his infamous balls.
HOT GAY TIME MACHINE
The Other Palace, 12 Palace St, SW1, 020 7087 7900. Various dates, 7.30pm & 9.30pm, until Jan 5, 2019.
With outrageous dances and original musical numbers, a night of cabaret takes you through all the milestones of Zak and Toby’s fabulous gay lives, Christmas included. Ages 16+
HOW TO CATCH A KRAMPAS
Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Rd, N7, 020 7609 1800. Tue-Sun 7.30pm (Sat 2.30pm), until Dec 23.
Inspired by British horror greats such as The Wicker Man, drag troupe Sink the Pink’s How To Catch a Krampus tells the tale of a psychic who summons dark forces from beyond the veil. 18 +
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, SE1, 020 7407 0234. Tue-Sat 8pm (Tue,Sat & Sun 3.30pm), until Dec 31.
Anthony Neilson’s comedy about Gary who forgot to get his son the top-of-the-range Power Ranger figures he promised and finding the true spirit of Christmas. Ages 14+
SCALES OF THE UNEXPECTED’S SECOND FAREWELL CHRISTMAS
Hen & Chickens Theatre, St Paul’s Rd, N1, 020 7704 2001. Mon 7.30pm, Dec 17.
Returning to say goodbye all over again with their Second Farewell Christmas show.
TORI SCOTT’S VODKA IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Crazy Coqs at Zedel, 20 Sherwood St, W1F, 020 7734 4888. Mon 9.15pm, Dec 10.
From her childhood obsession with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, to her time as a singing elf in a nursing home, New York City’s Tori Scott weaves a festive tale that celebrates what is truly magical about this time of year.
Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Rd, W12, 020 8743 5050. Various performances, dates and times, Dec 10-22.
A season of cabaret, comedy and theatre curated by Victoria Falconer, including circus, puppetry, drag and political satire.
WRONG COMEDY XMAS SPECIAL WITH BOB ‘WALSHY’ WALSH N PALS
Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High St, NW1, 020 7482 4857. Fri-Sat 9pm, Dec 14-15.
The Hope Theatre, 207 Upper St, N1, 0333 666 3366. Sun-Mon 7.45pm, Dec 9-10 & 16-17.
Written by Timothy Blore and directed by Scott Le Crass, a festive comedy about Christmas in Billericay, which promises to be slightly more raucous than your average Nativity play.
BURKE AND HARE
Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn St, SW1, 020 7287 2875. Tues- Sat 7.30pm (Sat & Sun 3.30pm), until Dec 21.
A song-filled, vaudeville-style comedy directed by Abigail Pickard Price that tells the story of William Burke and William Hare who scandalised Edinburgh in the 1820s with their murderous trade in selling dead bodies to the medical trade.
Simon Callow in a Christmas Carol, at the Arts Theatre. Photo: Laura Marie Linck
SIMON CALLOW IN A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Arts Theatre, Great Newport St, WC2, 020 7836 8463. Various dates and times, Dec 8-Jan 12, 2019.
A moving, funny and fast-paced one-man theatrical spectacular that uses the adaptation Charles Dickens used for his own public performances as a starting point.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Old Vic, The Cut, London SE1, 0844 871 7628. Mon-Sun 3.30pm & 7.30pm, Sat Dec 8-Jan 12, 2019.
Esteemed writer Jack Thorne’s joyous, atmospheric adaptation of the timeless Charles Dickens classic returns to The Old Vic following a successful run last Christmas.
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1, 0844 482 8008. Various dates and times, Dec 7-15.
A festive extravaganza that includes drag, re-worked Christmas classics, comedy and musical numbers.
THE CRUMPLE ZONE
King’s Head, 115 Upper St, N1, 020 7478 0160. Tues-Sat 9.15pm (Sun 5.15pm), until Dec 9.
Written by Buddy Thomas and directed by Robert McWhir, a comedy in which the action takes place in a Staten Island apartment over the Christmas holiday season when four friends and a mystery visitor find themselves together.
THE DANCE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
The Vaults Theatre, Launcelot St, SE1. 020 7401 9603. Sat 8pm, Dec 8 & 15.
A multi-coloured, kaleidoscopic, artistic interpretation of the classical music of Fantasia.
THE GREATEST SNOWMAN
Pedley Street Station, Arch 63 Pedley St, E1. Various dates 6pm & 8.30pm, until Dec 23.
Dining show that takes audiences on a Christmassy adventure in a train carriage, with a three-course menu dreamt up by MasterChef 2017 finalist Louisa Ellis.
Hope Theatre, 207 Upper St, N1, 020 7478 0160. Tue-Sat 7.45pm, until Dec 22.
It’s Christmas and the patients at Penwell Special Hospital, a psychiatric prison for women, get ready for the Christmas disco.
INVISIBLE CABARET: A VERY INVISIBLE CHRISTMAS
Hen & Chickens Theatre, St Paul’s Rd, N1, 020 7704 2001.
Sat 7.30pm, Dec 15.
Not for the easily offended, a night of rude and sweary stand-up and music from people you’ve never heard of.
The Other Palace, 12 Palace St, SW1, 020 7087 7900. Mon-Sat 7.30pm ( Wed & Sat 2.30pm), Dec 3-Jan 5, 2019.
Patrick Barlow’s new comedy is a chaotic reenactment of the Christmas story. Two actors and an opera singer take a camel ride to London, and attempt to tell the story of Jesus’s birth. Starring Hugh Dennis, John Marquez, and Lesley Garrett.
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Tower Theatre, 16 Northwold Rd, N16, 020 7353 1700. Mon- Tues 7.30pm (Wed 3pm), Dec 17-19.
An opportunity to see one of Charles Dickens’ lesser known novels, adapted for the stage by Tilly Vosburgh and performed by first-year students from the Musical Theatre Academy.
The Parentheticals: Merry Questmas at the Etcetera Theatre
THE PARENTHETICALS: MERRY QUESTMAS
Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High St, NW1, 020 7482 4857. Tues-Wed 7pm, Dec 11-12.
Improvised fantasy show inspired by audience suggestions.
SING-A-LONG-A-MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL
Camden People’s Theatre, Hampstead Rd, NW1, 0207 419 4841. Mon-Tues 7.30pm, Dec 17-18.
Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit present a singalong with the 1992 musical The Muppet Christmas Carol. Ages 18+
Lyttelton, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1, 020 7452 3000. Tues-Sat 7.30pm (Mon, Wed, Sat 2.15pm), until January 5, 2019.
Award-winning play returns to the National Theatre after 11 years. When Albert’s horse is sold to the army, the young boy follows his friend into the middle of the First World War, hoping to bring him home.
OUT AND ABOUT
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
Why is the Queen banned from the House of Commons? And where did Guy Fawkes hide before trying to blow up Parliament? There’s a world of history to be discovered behind the scenes at the Palace of Westminster which runs Family guided tours ideal for young children. They last 60 minutes and are free to under15s (adults £18.50/£16). Upcoming family guided tours take place from Wednesday to Friday between December 27 and January 4. Book online, call 020 7219 4114, or visit the ticket office at the front of Portcullis House, on Victoria Embankment, www.parliament.uk/visiting/
THE POSTAL MUSEUM
The Postal Museum is running special Yuletide activities for children of all ages spanning arts, crafts and artist-led workshops, from decorating a pair of Christmas socks to designing seasonal stationery. And the subterranean Mail Rail Ride is getting a makeover, with special projections – wartime wives wishing husbands Merry Christmas, and the first King’s Speech on the BBC. Check the website for details. The Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA, open daily except December 24-26, 10am-5pm, 0300 0300 700, www.postalmuseum.org
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
At the Royal Albert Hall there’s quite a line-up of festive offerings with something to suit all the family. Choose from A Christmas Carol live recital (December 5); Charlie Brown’s Christmas with live jazz (December 14); The Snowman and Paddington Bear live in concert (December 20); Michael Rosen reading Bah! Humbug! (December 20) and the Whose Line is it Anyway 30th anniversary show (December 15). And there’s much, much more. Check the website: www.royalalberthall.com/
HOLIDAY ON ICE: Get your skates on!
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Until January 20. Skate surrounded by fairy lights, set against the backdrop of this spectacular building. The Penguin Skate Club on Saturday mornings runs lessons for children aged 4-8. Adult tickets from £12.65/under-12s £8.80, open 10am-9pm. Natural History Museum, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD, 020 7942 5000. Book when you arrive or online www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/ice-rink.html
JW3 ON ICE
Open December 2-January 6 (open December 25 and 26). The ice rink is suitable for children 2 years and older. Sessions last 50 minutes. You can pre-book a penguin stabiliser, and there are also seated banana toboggans for little ones to join in the fun.W3’s Zest café is open to all visitors (including non-skaters), with hot chocolate, mulled wine and tasty food. Adults £13/under-15s £8.
Jewish Community Centre, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET, 020 7433 8988, www.jw3.org.uk/icerink
TOWER OF LONDON
Until January 6. Skate beside this iconic historic landmark, floodlit at night for extra festive atmosphere. EC3N 4AB. Tickets £14.50 adult/£12.50 13-15s/£10.50 3-12s. Spectators free. Prebook at https://toweroflondonicerink.co.uk/information/tower-skate-book-now/
HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND
Until January 6. It’s the largest open air ice rink in the UK, set around the Victorian bandstand – all part of the seasonal spectacle in the park. Ice skating tickets from £9.50 adult/ £7.50 child. Rangers Lodge, W2 2UH. www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com