• Sarah

London stage shows guaranteed to give you that warm Christmassy feeling

Are you thinking about a Christmas time treat to see something on stage? Maybe a pantomime? Maybe a musical? Maybe a drama? We’ve done a bit of the leg work for you; carry on reading to find out what’s on to see that will get you into the spirit of Christmas.


We started our Christmas round of theatre with an unusual version of Cinderella called Soho Cinders. Set in Old Compton Street, a place where tourists and sex-workers collide, we meet Robbie a poor student, and his ‘gentleman’s club’ owning stepsisters. Played by Luke Bayer, Robbie is sweet and thoroughly likeable. The stepsisters bring a bawdy element to the action and throughout this production, the two actors playing the step-sisters have the most fun, some of the best lines, and the stand-out song of the show, “I’m so over men”.

Natalie Harman and Michaela Stern as the Ugly Sisters. Photo credit Pamela Raith

Claiming that Robbie’s mother hasn’t left a will, it seems that Robbie and his faithful friend Velcro (Buttons) are to be evicted from the launderette and their home by the evil stepsisters. Robbie has embarked on a clandestine romance with London Mayoral Candidate James Prince, who happens to be engaged to a woman – his unknowing ‘beard’. One of the most moving moments of this high-energy musical is when Velcro and Veronica sing together about their love for Robbie and James that isn’t returned in the way they desire, ‘Let him Go’ was the other memorable song for us.


A scandal follows and it seems that Robbie must leave London in shame. Will true love prevail and will there be a happy ending? It’s Christmas, of course there is a happy ending! The message is clear, friendship and being true to yourself are what matters.


The Charing Cross Theatre is relatively small, and the view from the seats good.


Charing Cross Theatre

The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NL ·

0844 493 0650

https://charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/theatre/soho-cinders

Soho Cinders is playing until 11th January 2020 Monday - Saturday 7.30 p.m. Thursday & Saturday matinee 3.00 p.m. No performances 24th - 26th December or 31st December

Running time approximately 2hrs 30mins including interval

Age guidance 12+ (parental discretion advised)

Tickets £15 - £37.50 Christmas Bonus matinee (23rd Dec) £25.00 / £20.00 / £15.00

Dicken’s enduring tale of A Christmas Carol never fails to remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about how much you have. It’s about living your life to the full, loving and being loved, and above all being kind and caring to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Patterson Joseph as Scrooge at the Old Vic

This is the third year that the Old Vic has put on A Christmas Carol, this year it stars Paterson Joseph as Scrooge. He has such an expressive face that I'm really looking forward to seeing his reactions to the ghosts. We’re not due to see this until January; we did go to the production with Rhys Irfans a couple of years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. Members of the cast greet you with mince pies, there's bell ringing, flying food, and the stage comes out into the audience making the production more immersive.


I’m anticipating leaving the theatre with a spring to my step, and a resolve to be a better person. 'I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.’


The Old Vic has over 1000 seats, it’s an old theatre (obviously!) and there are slim pillars in places that may obscure the view a little. We’d recommend using a site such as seatplan.com when booking.


Old Vic

The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

0344 871 7628

Https://www.oldvictheatre.com › whats-on › a-christmas-carol-3

A Christmas Carol is playing until 18th January 2020

Monday - Saturday 7.00 p.m.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday matinee 1.00 p.m.

No performance 25th December, matinee only on 24th December and 31st December

Running time approximately 2 hours 5 minutes, with a 20 minute interval

Age guidance 8+

Tickets £12 - £67.50

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis was the first of the Narnia Chronicles. I was enthralled by the tale as a child. Maybe it was because I’d heard my parents’ stories of being evacuees in the war, and so related to Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy being sent away to the country for their own safety. Although my parents had many tales to tell of that time, theirs didn’t feature a magical portal into a parallel world where it’s always winter, but never Christmas.

Mr Tummnus (Stuart Neal) and Lucy (Keziah Joseph) Photo credit Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

This adaptation promises to take us to the magical world where Fauns exist, and all the animals can talk. By using puppetry to interact with the actors, that world is brought to life in the most beautiful manner. You’d have to have a hard-heart indeed not to be moved by the self-sacrifice of Aslan and his horrible murder by the witch and her black-hearted creatures. Good triumphs though, Aslan is re-born, and winter stops, and guess who can now return with good cheer and gifts?


A show for all of us who still want to believe in a little magic.


The Bridge is a new theatre, and although quite large at 900 seats it manages to retain an intimate feel.


Bridge Theatre

3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG

0333 320 0051

https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe/

The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe is playing until 2nd February 2020

Monday - Saturday 7.30 p.m.

Wednesday and Saturday matinee 2.30 p.m.

No performances 25th December and 31st December, matinee only on 24th December

Running time approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including a 20 minute interval

Age guidance 6+. Under 5s not admitted.

Tickets £15 - £95

Whilst Amélie the Musical isn’t obviously a show that’s linked to Christmas, the whimsical tale captures the essence of Christmas. Played by a petite Audrey Bresson, the waitress Amélie, through a sequence of events starts to perform small acts of kindness which make big differences to the lives of those affected. The numerous sub-plots are too complex to re-tell here, but my favourite involves the kidnap of her father’s garden gnome containing her mother’s ashes, and the photographic diary of his travels around the world.

Audrey Brisson as Amelie. Photo credit Pamela Raith

There is a lot of humour in the production, which manages to keep a light touch on some quite dark subject matter. We loved the staging of Amélie’s apartment and her Mary Poppinsesque mode of ascension to it. We weren’t so keen on some of the props, especially the benches, which when placed near to the front of the stage obscured our view. This is the first time that I’ve been to The Other Palace and not been able to see the whole of the stage. Our tip would be to book central seats rather than side ones.


The talented cast acted, sang and in many cases also played a musical instrument. The story ends with Amélie facing her own fears, and daring to open her heart. If you are feeling a little jaded, then this musical will lift your spirits. What more could you ask for at Christmas?


The Other Palace

12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA

020 7087 7900

https://lwtheatres.co.uk/theatres/the-other-palace

Amélie the Musical is playing until 1st February 2020

Monday - Saturday 7.30 p.m.

Thursday and Saturday matinee 2.30 p.m.

No performances 25th December and 1st January, matinee only on 24th December, and the performances on 31st December start earlier at 1.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m.

Running time 2 hours 30 minutes (including an interval)

Tickets £19.50 - £65

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