Stage Savvy #7: Tis the season for a theatre trip cover photo

Stage Savvy #7: Tis the season for a theatre trip

Stage Savvy #7: Tis the season for a theatre trip cover photo
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Stage Savvy
1 Dec 2020 · Follow on Stagedoor

The run-up to Christmas is an achingly nostalgic, familiar time for theatre fans, especially if your first encounter with theatre was being plonked in front of a pantomime, begging for one of those fibre-optic wavy wands and grappling for sweets in the sticky-carpeted aisles.

But this year, the season is landing a bit differently; bittersweetly. Last week's government announcement means that London shows can go ahead, but tight social distancing restrictions (and an Autumn of uncertainty) has meant that instead of London's usual festive buffet of 100+ live shows, there's a smaller, pluckier bunch of performances on offer. In a year where just getting to see actors on stage feels rare and special, here are some shows that really should gladden your heart this December.

🎄 Magical family shows Do you remember what joy feels like? After struggling through 2020, perhaps not, but there are plenty of theatre shows ready to help you rediscover the magic of Christmas. Like perky story book adventure Gruffalo's Child, and National Theatre's panto-but-make-it-edgy Dick Whittington. Or if your malaise is of the deeper, more Scrooge-like variety, then there are more stagings of A Christmas Carol than you can shake a lump of coal at; make for the Dominion Theatre for big-budget glitz, or try The Bridge for a pared-down version starring Simon Russell Beale and Patsy Ferran.

🎄 Adult pantos Apparently half of London's theatremakers spent lockdown filling their filofaxes with rude jokes, because there's an orgy of adult pantos ready to make you giggle (or groan) this winter. Are you willing to freeze your baubles off sitting outside? Vauxhall Garden Theatre is staging Frostbite: Who Pinched My Muff? a panto set in an alpine village full of blush-worthy jokes - hopefully it'll serve mulled wine so your hands will be warm, not just your cheeks. Royal Vauxhall Tavern's Pricked is a Sleeping Beauty riff centring on a joyfully promiscuous princess. And Above the Stag's Dick Whittington is packed with more 🍆 than a Boxing Day ratatouille.

🎄 Actual proper theatre If you're a "put the tree up on Christmas Eve, take it down on Boxing Day" type (or have been caning Netflix Christmas movies since September and are over it) don't worry - there's a modest handful of kitsch-free shows happening this month. Opt for Travis Alabanza's new play Overflow at Bush Theatre, or experimental show Flight at Bridge Theatre - or head to the 60th anniversary production of Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter at Hampstead Theatre to set a wintry shiver down your spine.

We're keeping our ears out for more new show announcements over the coming weeks - stick with us and you'll have the festive season all wrapped up in no time.

Until next week, Stage Savvy

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OPENING THIS WEEK

The Dumb Waiter Put some creep in your Christmas with Hampstead Theatre's 60th anniversary revival of Pinter's hit. Booking from 3 Dec - 16 Jan, tickets from £10

Nine Lessons and Carols The Almeida's Christmas show is a festive reflection on hope by Rebecca Frecknall and Chris Bush. Booking from 2 Dec - 9 Jan, tickets from £10


LYN'S PICKS

Mustard Lyn Gardner recommends Eva O'Connor's solo show for 'smart writing', silliness and heartbreak. Booking from 1 - 14 Dec, tickets from £8

Sh!t Actually This "joyous and chaotic" show is one of Lyn Gardner's tips for a night of movie-based hilarity. Booking from 3-5 Dec, tickets from £10


ASK LYN: What do you miss most about live theatre?

"Floating out of the theatre after a great show and everyone around you is talking about it, and the babble is one of excitement and joy. Sometimes fury, and that can be good too."

READ MORE ON STAGEDOOR


Quotes of the Week

"If you wanted to destroy an entire industry, you probably couldn’t come up with a better way than the government’s response to theatre’s predicament"

  • -Lyn Gardner, writing in The Stage about the devastating impact of the uncertainty around when theatres could reopen

"God bless @NationalTheatre it’s a really really special building. We see the shows but if you knew what goes on behind the scenes you wouldn’t believe. Couldn’t of done that without that team of humans. Cleaners all the way to Rufus. EVERY SINGLE HUMAN IN THERE."

-- Michael Balogun, writing on Twitter, after Death of England livestreamed on Saturday night


HOTTEST TICKETS

Death Drop Queens from RuPaul's Drag Race star in this camp murder mystery that has gallons of gag, and more twists and turns than a drag queen's wig. Booking from 4 Dec - 17 Jan, tickets from £20

Everybody's Talking About Jamie Put some feelgood drag fabulosity in your winter with this West End favourite. Opening 12 Dec, tickets from £20

A Christmas Carol Brian Conley plays the Dickensian miser in this big-budget Christmas story, staged with all the Victorian trimmings. Opening 7 Dec, tickets from £28.75

Anything Goes Will and Grace star Megan Mullally makes her West End debut in this '20s musical. Opening 8 May, tickets from £30

Potted Panto Watch a tiny, talented cast romp through six panto plots in this madcap festive show. Opening 5 Dec, tickets from £20

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