Dick Whittington (On-line, from 23 - 27 Dec)
There are still some tickets available for the National Theatre’s production of Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s panto with best availability after Christmas. But if you are eager to see Ned Bennett’s production but don’t want to venture out then it will be available on the NT’s YouTube channel for free between December 23 and December 27. It’s the NT’s final gift to the nation before it starts its new subscription service. It’s good to see the NT stepping into the panto void created by the pandemic, and there is every chance that this will be the cat’s whiskers.
Six (Lyric, until 18 Apr)
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ small scale hit has been a surprise success featuring Henry VIII’s wives singing their stories and demonstrating that they are queens in more ways, and not just because they married old Henry. It’s a show that takes a pop at history with real vim. It’s witty too. When Jane Seymour asks what hurts more than a broken head, Anne Boleyn shoots back: “a severed head.” It’s sassy, it’s silly but it is also very serious about the points it makes about women, survival and narratives of victimhood. There are still tickets available for a pre-Xmas treat, and the sheer zest of the show and risk in getting it on at all in the current circumstances deserves to be rewarded by your presence.
Swallows and Amazons (On-demand from Bristol Old Vic)
If you are looking for a family show that has both adult and child appeal then check out the latest from Bristol Old Vic, which has produced some of the most enjoyable on-line shows over the last few months. Helen Edmundson’s script is a treat, and the show mines all the retro charm of Arthur Ransome’s story without making it seem old-fashioned. That’s in part because it aligns old attitudes (“better dead than duffers,” declares dad when asked permission for his tweens to sail alone across a lake and camp out) with modern theatre techniques to celebrate the imagination of children and their right to roam free.
You can find hundreds of streaming theatre shows - many of them available for free - in our Streamdoor guide
And live theatre is back! Check out what else is opening in December here.