Underbelly’s festive installation Christmas in Leicester Square returns, taking over the central London square from tonight (Friday 10 November 2017) to Sunday 7 January 2018 with a programme of live yuletide entertainment in a pop-up Belgian Spiegeltent comprising two strands: Cabaret at Christmas for grown-ups in the evenings and Kids at Christmas shows during the days.
Cabaret at Christmas features festive delights from a host of entertainers in the biz, including legendary cabaret supergroup Fascinating Aida (11-23 December), darkly atmospheric Parisian circus Black Cat Cabaret (11 November-31 December) and tantalising masters of their craft House of Burlesque (10 November-5 January).
Also on the adult programme: hit Jane Austen-inspired improvisation group Austentatious (5 December-13 February); Al Murray putting his spin on traditional variety with The Pub Landlord’s Festive Saloon; all of history’s finest divas in one extraordinary vocal box belonging to Christina Bianco; comedy-variety institution The Horne Section; jazz duo extraordinaire Ian Shaw and Claire Martin’s Early Christmas Cracker; and one-man Rat Pack and big band sensation Gary Williams in A Swingin’ Christmas.
They’ll be joined by West End stars Ryan Molloy, performing Franki Valli from his time in Jersey Boys, and Emma Hatton (whose starring roles have included Elphaba in Wicked and Eva Perón in Evita) as she joins forces once more with jazz maestro Anthony Strong in Baby its Cold Outside.
The second strand offers something for the whole family. Kids at Christmas features: The Showstoppers’ Christmas Kids Show (16-30 December), an entirely improvised musical for all ages from the legendary theatrical trailblazers; and a unique take on Charles Dickens’ timeless A Christmas Carol reimagined by the masters of vintage theatrical comedy The Fitzrovia Radio Hour as a 1940s-style radio drama (8-30 December).
Also on the family line-up is Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine, in which Professor Tom Solomon uses the celebrated author’s tales to unlock the secrets of the human body, and Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dance Hall –first-ever Christmas dance party for kids 0-5 (and parents of all ages) featuring an array of festive songs, dances and games.
Another hit with the kids, returning after huge success last year, is Santa’s Grotto – open every day until Christmas Eve. This special North Pole experience will see Father Christmas himself (the real one!) regale kids with a special festive tale before hearing their Christmas wishes, having a photo with them, and giving them a special early Christmas present.
Winter Windows will also return – a unique exhibition in partnership with local schools which will see pupils design stained glass windows with the best being exhibited around the north and west perimeter of the Leicester Square site for thousands of passers-by to enjoy.
In addition to the seasonal entertainment, London’s Leicester Square will be transformed into a wintery haven with a European-style Christmas Market with over 25 different stalls featuring a range of fascinating Christmas curios, sumptuous food and delicious drinks, all presented in partnership with Hilton Hotels and Resorts.
Christmas in Leicester Square is presented by Underbelly and Westminster City Council.