Theatre Royal Windsor brings you this year’s panto and what a panto it is. Sleeping Beauty tells us the story that we all know and love but with a few twists thrown in, alongside with much excitement, enchantment, many laughs and just a great entertaining evening for all.
If you’re looking for a show with a happy ending, We Were Promised Honey! makes it clear from the outset that this isn’t something they’re going to provide. The audience will get to see into their future – from the immediate (a standing ovation seconds after the show) to the very distant (a romantic reunion in several decades’ time) – but it will end the same way for everyone. Sam Ward is the writer and performer of the show, which is in the middle of a limited engagement at the Soho Theatre.
For The Wind in the Wilton’s at Wilton’s Music Hall Piers Torday has adapted the up-Thames rural setting of Kenneth Grahame’s book to be an urban take, London’s own stretch of river. And the weasels? You’ve guessed it: the Wild Wood is the City, the weasels and stoats the financiers and developers.
One of the few things I enjoy even more than theatre is talking politics. So chairing a post-show discussion about a brilliant new political play, written and directed by a Westminster insider and lifelong activist, really is my idea of bliss. At the White Bear Theatre, I got to do just that for Triggered, Emma Burnell’s new play about a fictional deselection of a Labour MP ahead of the 2019 General Election.
Take a look at what critics have had to say about Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial at the Wyndham’s Theatre, the play about the trial of the year.
La Maupin is a folk punk musical celebrating this queer icon, written by Olivia Thompson and performed by a small cast of actor-musicians from female-led theatre company Fantastic Garlands. The story follows Julie on a rollercoaster ride as she runs from the law, fights in duels, joins the opera, falls in and out of love with men and women alike, moves to Paris, gets another death sentence – and does it all while being unequivocally, unapologetically herself, even when everything and everyone seems to be against her.
Othello at the National Theatre is a production that has thought very carefully about the things it wants to say and, particularly, what Othello has meant at different points in its performance history. Clint Dyer’s perspective is not on fire just yet but it soon will be, bringing a meaningful reflection on Shakespeare’s tale to the stage while clearly distinguishing it from all of those that have come before.
Endearing, funny and charming, the National Gallery’s Picture Perfect Christmas is truly the perfect event for wholesome family fun. Writer and director Francesca Renee Reid bases the production on Avercamp’s ‘A Winter Scene With Skaters Near A Castle’, with a beautiful castle set and snowy landscape.
At best Baghdaddy at the Royal Court Theatre is a surreal trip into traumatic memory, at its worst it’s a self-indulgent mess. If you think that American crime are worse than Saddam’s you’ll love this show; if you like playwrights wagging their finger at you, you’ll love this show; if you believe that parental trauma can be inherited and then self-consciously joked about, you’ll love this show.
When individual members of a family are facing a variety of problems, can looking back at their collective past help to resolve matters or does that simply serve to make things worse? This is the premise behind Here by debut playwright Clive Judd, the 2022 winner of the Papatango Prize for new writing currently in production on Southwark Playhouse’s main stage
What have critics said about the Old Vic Theatre production of A Christmas Carol directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Owen Teale as Scrooge. Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon finds out.
What happens when you cross A Christmas Carol with Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and add a murder mystery and a love interest (Rosie Armstrong) from the past? It’s A Sherlock Carol at Marylebone Theatre.
If you’re looking for some festive magic this year, look no further than the Dominion Theatre for a gloriously Christmassy, sparkly production of Elf The Musical. Based on the cult classic film, it tells the story of Buddy the Elf who finds out he’s really a human, so makes the journey from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father and experience the world. This musical adaptation has all the most iconic parts of the film plus a heap of theatrical magic that makes it the perfect festive treat.
Hot on the heels of my post-show Q&A for Doctor Faustus, I’m pleased to announce I’ll return to Southwark Playhouse in January to continue my long-time association with Lazarus Theatre Company, discussing their brand-new production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Written and directed by Mark Shanahan, A Sherlock Carol at London’s Marylebone Theatre is a clever show which nicely combines aspects of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle effectively.
Sarah at the Coronet Theatre is an authentic alcoholic’s tale, sentimental and entirely self-centred, but transformed in the telling if, just for a moment, we can buy into the drinker’s mindset. His name is Scott, and the fact he is telling us this at all hints at some sort of redemption. He may be alive, but this is not a redemptive story.
There’s nothing quite like reviewing a festive family production when the auditorium is full of excitement from the four busloads of primary school children sitting ready and waiting the wonders that are about to come alive on the stage. At 10.30am, spirits were running high for Rapunzel at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury.
What could be more seasonal than Flaubert’s tale of wifely frustration, romantic illusions, disastrous adulteries and ruinous shopaholic debt? This adaptation of The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary at the Jermyn Street Theatre is a clown-skilled four-hander by John Nicholson – founder of the gleefully clever Peepolykus.
Anna Coombs’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II sees the story slimmed down for five actors, with three of the cast playing more than one character. It focuses the attention on King Richard (Daniel Rock) and his cousins, the loyal Aumerle (Lebogang Fisher) and Henry Bollingbroke (Raheim Menzies), and the power tussle between them for the crown
The use of fairytale, music and the goodie/baddie dichotomy remain in Pinocchio at the Unicorn Theatre, but the eggy, set gags and joke routines of panto are thankfully left out. Colourful, detailed design (by Jean Chan) and puppetry (by Chris Pirie) give the show a festive lushness, but it’s the performances that make this Christmas show shine.