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The best Xmas shows in the West End

Fancy a cultural jaunt into Larrrrndon? Oh yes you do! Celebs aplenty in our guide to the best West End classics, festive shows and pantos.

Fancy a mooch into London to see how they do Christmas, West End style? We’ve talked to the stars, wined and dined the producers and chatted to the impresarios (er, sort of), and the result? Only our Muddy curated guide to the supercool productions!

 

SHOWS

Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre, throughout Nov and Dec

Photo: Johan Persson

Breathtaking sets, mind-blowing special effects, over 350 lavish costumes and a fabulous cast and orchestra bring the magic of Disney’s Aladdin to life on the West End stage. Featuring all the songs from the classic Academy Award®-winning film including ‘Friend Like Me’, ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Arabian Nights’, prepare to experience the unmissable ‘theatrical magic’ (Daily Telegraph) that is Aladdin. aladdinthemusical.co.uk

 

War Horse, National Theatre, to 5 Jan

Eleven years after its NT debut, and having played in eleven countries to over seven million people, War Horse returns to the National Theatre to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. At the outbreak of World War One, Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Though not yet old enough to enlist, Albert joins the army, and embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. Limited run.  www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

 

A Christmas Carol, Arts Theatre, 8 Dec – 12 Jan

Based on the performances of A Christmas Carol that Charles Dickens himself gave throughout the UK and America, Simon Callow’s one-man show embodies the very heart of this beloved holiday classic. artstheatrewestend.co.uk

 

A Christmas Carol, Museum of London, to 28 Dec

Join Scrooge on his ghostly journey into his past, present and possible future. An unusual, atmospheric venue in which to watch our favourite miser regret his greed, and changes his attitude to the hard working Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. www.museumoflondon.org.uk

 

A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, 27 Nov – 19 Jan

Another Scrooge-fest and with serious creds – adapted for the stage by  Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and starring Stephen Tomkinson, there’s also the promise of filling the auditorium with ‘mince pies, music and merriment’. You had me at mince pies.

www.oldvictheatre.com

 

Rumplestiltskin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 13 Dec – 6 Jan

All the way from Australia for it’s UK premier, this performance of Rumplestiltskin is promising something different from your traditional stage show. On offer are funky costumes, super modern staging and a contemporary twist to the old fairy tale. Aussie cabaret king Paul Capsis is playing the big R. southbankcentre.co.uk

 

 

 

BALLETS

The Nutcracker, London Coliseum, 13-30 Dec

On a sparkling Christmas Eve in a frost-dusted Edwardian London, Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker doll discover a magical world, where she battles with the Mouse King and meets a handsome stranger. As the air grows colder, Clara and her valiant Nutcracker take a hot air balloon ride across London to the glistening Land of Snow where her adventure really begins. www.londoncoliseum.org

 

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, 3 Dec – 15 Jan

A Christmas treat for the whole family and a classic with a special place in the hearts of ballet fans around the world. www.roh.org.uk

 

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Sadler’s Wells, 4 Nov – 27 Jan

Seen it, loved it! Swan Lake returns with a fresh look and new additions in the 20th year of this incredible dance company. Retaining the iconic elements of the original, choreographer Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (set and costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting) electrify. www.sadlerswells.com

 

MUSICALS

Wicked, Apollo Theatre, throughout Nov and Dec

Winner of 90 international awards, Wicked has been casting its magical spell over audiences of all ages across the world since 2003 and continues to be a record-breaking hit at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it is has become the 13th longest-running show in West End history.

wickedthemusical.co.uk

Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre, throughout Nov and Dec

One of the most magical nights I’ve ever had at the theatre, and my absolute top tip for all kids. Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, Matilda revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the story of a girl who dares to change her destiny. uk.matildathemusical.com

 

42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, throughout Nov and Dec

Young Peggy Sawyer is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway’s newest show. But when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy might just have the shot at stardom she’s always dreamed.of. 42ndstreetmusical.co.uk

 

School of Rock, New London Theatre, throughout Nov and Dec

Based on the iconic hit movie, this musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out? schoolofrockthemusical.com

 

The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre,throughout Nov and Dec

Disney’s musical phenomenon The Lion King never runs out of roar.  Combining dazzling staging and imaginative costumes, masks and puppets, this show at the Lyceum Theatre uses breathtaking theatrical magic to tell the story of Simba and his journey back to his rightful kingom. thelionking.co.uk

 

The King and I, London Palladium, throughout Nov and Dec

London’s theatrical event of 2018, the multi-award winning and critically acclaimed Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I rocks up at London’s iconic Palladium. kingandimusical.co.uk

 

Nativity! The Musical, Eventim Apollo, 19-31 Dec

Feel-good, funny and full of festive joy, this smash-hit musical was adapted for the stage by Debbie Isitt, the creator of the much-loved films. Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’re attempting to mount a musical version. The only trouble is teacher Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer is coming to see the show… www.eventimapollo.com

KIDS

Disney on Ice Dream Big, The O2 Arena, 26 Dec – 6 Jan

Courage leads the way, cutting the icy stage for Disney’s most adventurous dreamers at Disney On Ice presents Dream Big. It’s promising high-flying jumps and breath-taking skating. Word of advice? Wrap up warm! www.disneyonice.com

 

Awful Auntie, Bloomsbury Theatre, 12 Dec – 6 Jan

From the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny comes the world premiere of David Walliams’ tale of frights, fights and friendship, featuring a very large owl, a very small ghost and a very awful Auntie. www.thebloomsbury.com

 

Stick Man, Leicester Square Theatre, to 6 Jan

What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree? www.leicestersquaretheatre.com

 

Room on the Broom Live, Lyric Theatre, 23 Nov – 13 Jan

Join the witch and her cat on their mission to defeat the dragon in Tall Stories magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Songs, comedy and scary fun for children aged three and up in the Olivier Award-nominated show. www.tallstories.org.uk/room-on-the-broom

 

The Snowman, Peacock Theatre, 22 Nov – 6 Jan

This enchanting stage show of Raymond Briggs’ classic book tells the story of a boy and his magical snowman’s wintery wonderland adventure. As a friendship is kindled, the two embark on a starry-skied journey to the North Pole, where they meet dancing penguins, Ice Princess, Father Christmas and escape the clutches of Jack Frost. www.peacocktheatre.com

 

PANTOS

Aladdin, New Wimbledon Theatre

Inspired casting! The gloriously acerbic Paul Merton leads the cast in this year’s high-flying pantomime as Widow Twankey, joined by Magician Pete Firman who will be on hand to spread a little magic over SW19 and help Aladdin overcome the evil Abanazar.  atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre

 

Snow White, London Palladium, to 13 January

Celebs aplenty in this panto, with Dawn French starring alongside Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, plus Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia. A dead cert.  www.snowwhitepalladium.com

Looking for something more local? Check out my Bucks & Oxon Panto guide 2018 here

 

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