|MONDAY 6 DECEMBER 2021||THISWEEKCULTURE.COM|
|ALEXANDER KNOTT: CRATCHIT
I make no secret of my love of Dickens and 'A Christmas Carol', which I've read countless times. It means I also love any and all theatrical adaptations of the well loved story, and am always on the lookout for new ones.
The latest to catch my eye was 'Cratchit' at the Park Theatre, starring John Dagleish, which I want to call a 'spin off', rather than an adaptation, as I think that conveys more accurately what you should expect from this show.
I thought it would be good to find out more, though, so you can be sure of what's in store when you go to see it. To that end, I spoke to writer and director Alexander Knott.
CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.
'Cratchit' is on at Park Theatre from 7 Dec-8 Jan. See this page here for more information and to book.
LUISA OMIELAN: SNOG FEST CHRISTMAS WEEKENDER
It's been close to a decade since Luisa Omielan first drew our attention and became an instant TW-favourite up at the old edfringe with her much loved stand-up show 'What Would Beyonce Do?', and I am pretty sure all of our readers will be familiar with that and her subsequent work.
We've been looking out for her appearances and shows ever since, of course, and watched her go from strength to strength. So, needless to say, we pricked up our ears when we heard about a Christmassy weekender she's helming this week at Woolwich Works.
To find out more about the events taking place this coming weekend, and a bit about Luisa herself, I arranged a quick chat.
CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.
The Snog Fest Weekender takes place at Woolwich Works from 10-11 Dec. You can find out more info and book for 'Christmas Musical Bingo' here, and for 'Camp As Christmas' here.
|Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.|
Cinderella | Richmond Theatre | 3 Dec-2 Jan
I've been haunted all week by shows that I knew full well were going on last week but didn't have space to mention last time round. So, as soon as I started compiling this week's tips, I determined to mention at least one of those in this week's pantomime section, and here it is. This seasonal show is happening at the Richmond Theatre and claims to be the "fairy godmother of all pantos", as well as promising all the laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and boo-ing and hissing opportunities you'd expect. For more information and to book see this page here.
Snow White | Theatre503 | 11-30 Dec (pictured)
On to a much smaller venue for the next pantomime, but as I am sure you are all aware, great shows come in small spaces, and that's so true of Theatre503's output, including their previous pantomime shows. This year's production is a version of the much loved 'Snow White', written by Lucy Wilson and directed by Donnacadh O'Briain, and it sounds like it will be a lot of fun. "It may be the most wonderful time of the year...but not if the Evil Queen has anything to do with it!" Click here.
Sleeping Beauty | Hoxton Hall | 10-24 Dec
"When the wicked fairy Carabosse's evil curse causes Princess Beauty to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an enchanted sleep for 100 years, can anyone rescue her from the magical slumber before it is too late? With a hilarious comic, an outrageous dame, a devilish baddie, a dashing hero, tons of adventure and bags of slapstick fun, this classic, romantic fairy tale promises to enthral audiences of all ages whether you are three or 103!" Another classic panto from another great (and kinda medium sized) venue. Read more and book your tickets here.
THREE FAMILY SHORT RUNS>>
Glisten | Jacksons Lane | 13-17 Dec (pictured)
As ever at this time of year, as well as pantomime fare, there are oodles of shows for children on in London, many of them with distinctly festive themes, of course. This first one is for a fairly small demographic, though, in more ways than one, as it's for babies aged up to eighteen months and their grown-ups, and it's a shiny, Christmassy experience. "Come in, relax, find a space and settle. Slowly, a shimmering surface emerges. What does it look like? How does it move? Listen, what can you hear? Welcome to a world of shiny things. Welcome to 'Glisten!'" Head this way for info and to sort out your tickets.
The Ballad Of Rudy | Canada Water Theatre | 11-12 Dec
"In this story Rudy doesn't have a red nose; rather it's his talent for music that sets him apart from all the other reindeer. Meeting new friends, including a magical jazz penguin, Rudy goes on an adventure that teaches him that life isn't about following the herd, featuring jazzy original songs played live with a variety of instruments. Sing the blues with a polar bear, jam with the puffins and beat-box with an arctic fox. It all happens at the North Pole Jazz Lounge. It's gonna be coooool". This is for an older age group, aged three plus, and features live music, storytelling and puppetry. More here.
Mirror Mirror On The Wall | South London Theatre | 9-12 + 16-19 Dec
Another version of 'Snow White' for you now, written by Audrey Lindsay, which is suitable for audiences aged five and up. It promises to offer a fresh new slant, though the main tenets of the storyline seem to be faithful to the original tale: "Desperate to hold onto her title of the 'fairest in the land', the Wicked Queen's jealous insecurities have even driven the palace servants away. And now, despite the mirror's wise influence, the Queen feels her step-daughter is too beautiful to have around..." Book yourself in here.
THREE FAMILY SHOW LONGER RUNS>>
The Cat In The Hat | The Turbine Theatre | 13-23 Dec (pictured)
What's that? Not enough family shows for you already? Really? Well, here we have three more things for kids, with a slightly longer run time too, so if you can't get around to them this week it's not the end of the world. We begin with 'The Cat In The Hat' at the Turbine Theatre, obviously an adaptation of the much loved picture book by Dr Zeuss, and in fact an acclaimed adaptation, originally produced by National Theatre. It's a lot of fun, and it's suitable for children aged three and above. For more information and to book tickets head to the venue website here.
Elf The Musical | Brookside Theatre | 10-23 Dec
Fans of the film 'Elf' might be pleased to hear that a staging of the 2010 musical version is headed to Croydon's Brookside Theatre, and that it's definitely good for a family outing if your children are a bit older, ie six plus. "'Elf' is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy's enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas". Info here.
Christmas Planet Play | Chickenshed Theatre | 9, 17, 21 + 29 Dec
A brand new and festive version of the venue's 'Planet Play', which focuses on sensory learning experiences for pre-schoolers aged up to three years. Expect your little ones to be entertained by the usual musical fun and games, singing, dancing and puppets, but with "a sprinkling of magic and some festive fun at this most special time of the year!" It's on 'until' the 29 Dec, but there are actually only four dates, so if you want to go, make sure you get on and book your tickets in case they are flying away, which they might well be.
THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>
A Pissedmas Carol | Leicester Square Theatre | 6 Dec-15 Jan
Right, enough Christmas treats for children, it's time we looked at Christmas treats for grown-ups, they're the ones doing all the hard work at this time of year, frankly. And here's a good one for those of you who, like me, are big fans of both funny things and the spooky tale of Christmassy redemption that is 'A Christmas Carol'. Readers may well already be aware of it because it's not the first time the Sh*t-Faced Showtime team have tackled this festive favourite - and, in fact, we actually did a Q&A about it in 2019, if you would like to read that. For more info on the show and to book in, see the venue website here.
Natalie Palamides: Laid | Soho Theatre | 13 Dec-8 Jan (pictured)
Another "well, finally" moment for you now, as we get around to offering you some entertainment that involves no Christmas overtones whatsoever, which will be good news for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, and especially good news for those of you who really don't like it at all. The excellent Natalie Palamides is headed to Soho Theatre with 'Laid', the show that won her the Edinburgh Comedy Awards newcomer gong in 2017, and which "explores motherhood with absurd dilemmas, silly routines and surreal physical comedy". Head this way to book your tickets.
Tim Key: Chrimbo Bimbo | Soho Theatre /Pleasance Theatre | 8-11 + 13-14 Dec
Okay, so we are kind of back to the Christmas thing, I guess, but you know, Tim Key is a year round non-Christmas entity, and I think it's safe to say that if you love Tim Key the rest of the year, you will also love him in a Christmas context, regardless of your position on Christmas. Anyway, Mr Key returns with his yearly festive thing, promising "poems of course, stinkin' sprouts, probably mulled wine/kronenbourg, cloves, and other yule garbage". Tickets will be going super dooper quickly, but it looks like there are a few left as I type this. Try here for Soho and here for Pleasance.
THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>
Shades Of Pemberley/Black Girls Love Jane Austen Too | Old Red Lion Theatre | 10-12 Dec
Right, some theatre now, and this section really probably is the right spot for those of you who are fed up of all the Christmas stuff. I really like the sound of this, which explores how families become fractured by migration, and is inspired by performer Sybille Wehrli's teenage years and her journey from Cameroon to the suburbs of Paris. It tells the story of Blanche, who - to escape her loneliness - immerses herself in the stories of Jane Austen and that "cosseted and corseted" world. For more information and bookings see the venue website here.
Echo | Golden Goose Theatre | 9-11 Dec
Yay, more theatre that isn't Christmassy, though this is a bit Bardy, because it's a play about Ophelia from 'Hamlet', which sees her challenging what we remember of her. It's an adaptation that focuses on the female characters generally, as it makes Gertrude and Ophelia the protagonists, and explores what it means to be a woman in someone else's story. "The unapologetic Ophelia, whose rage has been fuelled by the ages, is here to set the record straight once and for all". For all the details see the venue website here.
Fair Play | Bush Theatre | 3 Dec-22 Jan (pictured)
"When Ann joins Sophie's running club she's thrown into a world of regimented training and pure focus. The two girls couldn't be more different, but soon their shared passion makes them inseparable - dreaming in lanes and lap-times, waking up picturing Olympic medals, each day stronger and faster... But set head to head in the run up to the World Championships, they find themselves and their friendship put to the ultimate test. As their relationships, their bodies, and their very identities are pulled into public scrutiny, does being exceptional come at too high a price?" A fab sounding piece from up and comer Ella Road. Read all about it here.
THREE MUSICAL SHOWS>>
Gatsby | Southwark Playhouse | 8 Dec-8 Jan
Hurrah, some lovely musical shows to follow all that lovely theatre, starting with this interesting retelling of 'The Great Gatsby'. "It is late December 1929. Winter. Does the end of the Jazz Age and prohibition signify the end for celebrated New York Speakeasy Luna Park? Will they have to close for Christmas? One cold, snowy day, Daisy Buchanan returns to New York and wanders into Luna Park looking for Jay Gatsby. She needs to speak to him. Instead, she meets notorious gangster Woolfe. He wants to know: who is the woman that Gatsby gave everything up for? What is her agenda? What secrets is she hiding? Can he make her confess?" See this page here for more info.
The Rhythmics | Southwark Playhouse | 2 Dec-8 Jan
"Hapless single-dad Grey is in a rut. Teenage daughter Silva packs him off to revive his rockstar dreams, successfully auditioning for 'Nick & The Rhythmics' only to realise... he's actually signed up for an All-male Rhythmic Gymnastics troupe. Against the odds these burly blokes make it as far as the World Championships - twirling their 'ribbons of fire' - and along the way Grey finally learns to commit to life". Yes, we are staying at Southwark Playhouse for another fab sounding musical, described as "Calendar Girls meets The Full Monty". See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.
Megson's A Yuletide Carol | King's Place | 12 Dec (pictured)
Right, we are back to a bit more festive fare and I'm afraid that's kinda how it's going to be now until the end of today's recommendations. But that shouldn't put anyone off this next show, especially if they are fans of folky music, because four-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Megson are headed to King's Place with a mixture of classic seasonal songs, undiscovered carols and some of their own original Christmas compositions. "Expect to laugh, cry and sing along with these exceptional musicians in an evening which is certain to get you in the festive spirit". Click here.
THREE MORE FAB EVENTS>>
Nine Lessons And Carols For Curious People | King's Place | 10-11, 17-18 Dec
I suppose you could argue that this doesn't really count as a properly Christmassy thing, given it's a celebration of scientific and rationalist stuff, and therefore interesting for people who are scientific and rationalist. But Christmas does slip in there a little, not least in the title, and usually in the content. Anyway, I imagine most of our readers know all about this annual Cosmic Shambles jamboree, and will be most enthusiastic about its return in the flesh this year after it was forced online in 2020. Lots of great people have been confirmed to appear, you can read all about it here.
Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker | Sadler's Wells | 7 Dec-30 Jan
I suppose you could argue that this is one just for all you dance lovers out there, but I think it would be difficult, given all the inherently Christmassy themes in 'The Nutcracker'. I mean, it's set on Christmas Eve, isn't it? Anyway, Matthew Bourne's much acclaimed production returns to London with the promise of "a sprinkling of delicious new surprises" in this 2021 version. "Follow Clara's bittersweet journey from a darkly comic Christmas Eve at Dr Dross' Orphanage, through a shimmering, ice-skating winter wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland, influenced by the lavish Hollywood musicals of the 1930s". More info here.
London Docklands Singers: Christmas Concert 2021 + livestream | The Space | 13 Dec
Our final suggestion this week is another musical one, a lovely concert from London Docklands Singers which you can go and see in the flesh at The Space, or access from the comfort of your own home via livestream. I have to say, not leaving the house does often feel like the best option on some of these dark nights, but the definite pro of going to see this in the flesh is the mulled wine, minced pies, and mingling sense of cheer. What's really great about this, though, is the fact that all proceeds go to Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, which is a cause we are surely all behind. Read more about the show, and make your booking, on the venue website here.