Children's Shows Circus Dance & Physical Theatre ThisWeek In London

Three To See and Stream 21 Dec-3 Jan: Digital Culture, Family Shows, Theatre Shows

By | Published on Friday 17 December 2021


The Funny Girls | | until 1 Jan
It’s the final tips of the year, and we’ve nearly tipped everything we needed to tip. We have a few more new recommendations for you for over the Christmas holidays though. And I thought perhaps we would start by focusing on some digital shows that you can take in at home, not least because so many live performances are being cancelled again. Fingers crossed for as many in-person shows staying open as possible. But if not, maybe you’d like to take in ‘The Funny Girls’, which is an acclaimed play about Barbra Streisand and Joan Rivers, who appear together in a questionable off-Broadway production together at the respective ages of 19 and 24, and then meet again as big stars ten years later. Read more about it here.

Belvedere | | until 25 Dec
“Something strange is afoot at the Belvedere psychiatric clinic. Anton, a famous writer, has checked himself into Belvedere to receive treatment for his hallucinations. But after a few weeks he seems to have become the subject of a medical study by young Dr Defoe. Now Anton is tired of being locked away alone and isolated with his own thoughts. As a mysterious visitor from Anton’s past appears, the border between reality and imagination is blurred”. This fascinating play from award winning international playwright Ana-Maria Bamberger promises to keep you on the edge of your seat as it explores memory, creativity and mental health in a witty, moving and thrilling way. Available on demand right about here.

The Elf Who Was Scared Of Christmas | | until 2 Jan (pictured)
Yay, something for kids. Maybe it can keep them occupied while you wrap their Christmas presents. Unless you are one of those really terrible people who is so organised that you have that done already. Alright, you’re not terrible, but I envy you. Anyway, this children’s show – which I recommended last year when it was on at Charing Cross and which I think maybe had its live run cut short last Christmas…? – is about Figgy and Cupcake, two of Santa’s elves. Cupcake is the one who is scared of Christmas. Can Figgy help her overcome her fears? I reckon. For more information and to arrange to view, head to this page here.


Mother Christmas | online via Little Angel Theatre
Not sure three digital options are enough, especially when there are some classy things on offer, so let’s go ahead and have a section of digital things of various different genres. This is another thing for children, from a great team, and with a rather interesting theme. “Father Christmas, Santa Claus, St Nick… we think we know who’s responsible for delivering our presents on Christmas Eve. But who plots the sleigh’s route, triple checks the presents and manages air traffic control on the all-important night? Mother Christmas, of course! The LAT News film crew have secured exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the mastermind of Christmas Eve, as she prepares for the busiest night of the year in her high-tech control centre”. Read more here.

Ballo Arthur Pita’s The Little Match Girl | Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage | until 4 Jan (pictured)
“On an icy cold Christmas Eve in an imaginary Italian town, the little match girl wanders the streets with just one final match to keep her warm. Along her journey she encounters kindness and cruelty in a fable about family, friendship and hope”. Arthur Pita’s dance-theatre production of ‘The Little Match Girl’, based on the familiar Hans Christian Andersen story, of course, is a delightfully visual treat accompanied by beautiful and atmospheric music suitable for children over five, but probably also not to be missed by dance-loving adults. Head this way to view.

Crimes Clues and Christmas podcast | New Old Friends
You may well remember that last December the brilliant New Old Friends came up with a really nice treat to soothe our pandemic-sore hearts, and it was a comedic Agatha Christie-inspired festive thriller, released as podcast episodes one a day during the run up to Christmas, in the manner of a nice advent calendar. And that was lovely, and you can still listen to it, in fact, as well as to other subsequent series released at other times of the year. Anyway, this year I didn’t realise they were doing this December thing again, and so I am late to the party, which is frankly typical. Though it does mean you get to go and binge-listen, should you feel so inclined. Find the episodes here (and through other great podcast platforms obv).


Breaking The Ice | ArtsDepot | 15-31 Dec
Okay, and now for some live and in person shows happening in the Greater London area, and in this section we are talking about stuff for families, because there are lots of them – shows and families. We start with this non-verbal show at ArtsDepot that uses physical theatre, puppetry, interactive projection, animation and traditional Sami music to tell its story. “This playful and light-hearted show is inspired by the true story of an unlikely friendship between a husky and a wild polar bear. Join us on a journey into the snow where music, shadows and projection will transport you to a place where polar bears and huskies really can be friends”. More here.

Pinocchio | Orange Tree Theatre | 14-31 Dec
“Hugo is bored, lonely and needs a friend, so his mum makes him his very own Pinocchio, setting them both on an adventure to the top of a snowy mountain, out to pleasure island and into the belly of a wiggly whale! With puppetry and original music, use your imagination to help Hugo on his magical journey with friends new and old this winter”. This one’s described as a fun and interactive show for anyone from three to 103, and it explores “the adventures we can have when we pretend”. There are interactive elements, too, so you might want to avoid the floor cushions if you want to circumvent that. Sounds like a lot of fun, anyway, read about it here.

A Christmas Circus Fairytale | Jacksons Lane | 17 Dec-2 Jan (pictured)
This one’s a treat for those of you who love the circus and acrobatics and all that stuff. “Glass slippers, poisoned apples and magic lamps. The stuff of fables and legends. But over the centuries, through countless retellings, some of the important details have been forgotten. This Christmas, Jacksons Lane invites you to gaze into the magic mirror and see the truth in this collection of tales. Did the princess really need rescuing? Was the witch all that wicked? This is your chance to see Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood and two very charming princes as you’ve never seen them before, stepping out of the storybook to dance in the air, fly across the stage and dazzle with their fantastical feats”. Well, I am sold. Head this way to book tickets.


7 Stages – Or The Working Title Grief Story | White Bear Theatre | 22-23 Dec
Back to theatre now, of the live and in person kind, and also the non-festive kind. First thing I am going to say is this: you shouldn’t be put off by that title, if you’re worried that this is going to be a really sad show, because although it does deal with grief and loss in lockdown, it does so in a humorous way, and is the work of a talented and award winning performer. ‘7 Stages’ is “an exploration of life and death, grieving and healing in a world disrupted from it’s usual routine. Come meet the characters pivotal in the shaping of a young man’s journey to self-discovery. ‘7 Stages’ is a hilariously touching autobiography of family, love, ambition and loss, giving the audience an insight into the life of Italian/Australian culture dealing with death and grief”. Click here.

Folk/Peggy For You | Hampstead Theatre | until 5 Feb/until 29 Jan
Normally when I plan to recommend shows at the Hampstead Theatre, all the performances for the week following are sold out so there’s no point. This week it’s not the case, so I thought I would celebrate by recommending BOTH shows currently showing there at once. I’ve been itching to see this production of Alan Plater’s 1999 play ‘Peggy For You’ (which premiered at Hampstead Theatre) since I first heard about it, because it’s got national treasure Tamsin Greig in it. But also, ‘Folk’, a new play with songs, sounds amazing: set in 1903, it focuses on Louie, a woman in rural Somerset who knows hundreds of folk songs, and a composer visiting from London who wants to transcribe them all. Click here for ‘Folk’ and here for ‘Peggy For You’.

A Christmas Carol | The Playground Theatre | 21-23 Dec (pictured)
Given how much we go on about various adaptations of ‘A Christmas Carol’ here at TW Towers, I thought it was only fitting that our last tip of the year should be yet another. This is a one man version from the hugely talented solo-show veteran Guy Masterson, whose work we have followed and loved for years, especially up at the old edfringe, and will of course see him bringing to life all the fab characters that appear in Dickens’ classic tale. “Guaranteed to get you into the Christmas Spirit – in many more ways than one!” boasts the blurb, and I can definitely concur. For more information, and to book tickets, head to The Playground Theatre website here.

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