I can’t believe we’re there already, but Christmas is coming! Family shows and pantos are spreading Christmas cheer and sparkle (we hope) everywhere, but luckily there’s plenty of other theatre continuing throughout the month as well. Take a look at my theatre schedule for December:
Peter Pan, National Theatre (Fri 2nd)
For the festival period, the National brings back the story of the boy who never grew up, after its sell-out run at Bristol Old Vic. I loved the imagination behind Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre, which made the same transfer, so I’m excited to see what she brings to J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale that promises “magic, mischief, music and make-believe”. It’s suitable for ages 7+, but I’m sure big kids will find much to enjoy too. Click here for more information.
Scenes From The End, Tristan Bates Theatre (Weds 7th)
Moving away from any twee Christmas theatre, soprano Heloïse Werner’s monologue uses a blend of vocal and performative arts to reflect on themes of death and grief. Yet there is also the promise of comedy added into the mix. It will be intriguing to see how Werner (along with composer Jonathan Woolgar and director Emily Burns) balances the different aspects of performance in this patchwork of stories from throughout history, all focused on ‘the end’. Click here for more information.
The Wind in the Willows, Rose Theatre Kingston (Fri 9th)
After the National’s Peter Pan, it’s another family favourite on a Friday with the Rose Theatre’s version of The Wind in the Willows. In my mind it’s more associated with summer – ‘messing about in boats’ isn’t too fun when the lake is freezing over… – but it’s a certainly a tale of warmth and friendship, and Toad Hall is the perfect place for a festive feast. The Rose always has a welcoming atmosphere and their A Christmas Carol last year was a treat. Here’s hoping this will follow suit. Check out the trailer below and click here for more information.
2 Become 1, King’s Head Theatre (Tue 13th)
If this 90s-themed musical sounds like perfect Edinburgh Fringe material, you’d be right: it had a sell-out run north of the border at Underbelly in August. Now it’s back as part of the King’s Head Christmas season, taking us back to the era of Titanic, Brad and Jen, Mr Big, Bridget Jones and ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. It’s set to be a nostalgia-fest of girl power and platform trainers, with a soundtrack inspired by the Spice Girls, All Saints, B*Witched, Cher, Shania Twain, Britney and Christina. As a 90s baby myself, I frankly can’t wait. Click here for more information.
The Children, Royal Court (Tue 20th)
The Royal Court’s new season has an exciting range of new writing from some great playwrights, and currently occupying the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs is Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children. Smaller in scale than her 2013 big-hitter Chimerica, this three-hander still explores some weighty issues in a story of two former nuclear scientists whose peaceful retirement is interrupted by the arrival of an old friend. Click here for more information.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Weds 22nd)
For what’s likely to be my last show of 2016, I’m going full-out festive with this musical version of Dickens’s Christmas classic, with music by Alan Menken (he of Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and other Disney films fame). The story of Scrooge got “the full Broadway treatment” in this adaptation and it played annually in December in New York from 1994 to 2003. Click here for more information.