Our top Christmas Show picks for 2018

Christmas is officially on its way! With the festive spirit filling the air, we’ve put together a handy list of all our favourite Christmas Shows for this year. From family friendly shows to classic ballet, read our top picks below!

For families
If there’s one thing that Christmas is for, it’s spending time with your nearest and dearest. What better way to get together and enjoy the Christmas holidays than with a day out and a show in London? We recommend…

Circus 1903
Featuring sensational puppetry and daring feats, this is a show that will have the whole family in awe. Opening on December 19th, Circus 1903 is a sure-fire way to feel the magic this Christmas.

What’s even better than watching a great show with your family? Saving on tickets, of course! Book now and save up to 35% on selected seats.

Stick Man
stick-man-triplet-one-OXJQThe much-loved adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s book returns to the West End stage this Christmas and is the perfect show for young children. With a running time of just 55 minutes, and plenty of hilarious action to keep them entertained, kids will love this award-winning production. Book tickets now and save up to 48% – tickets start at just £15!

Rumpelstiltskin
A treat for older children (8+ is advised), this classic fairy tale is re-imagined with twists, turns and supreme silliness. Opening on 13th December, this five-star, ‘outrageous rocking musical’ (Sunday Mail) stars Australian singer and cabaret star Paul Capsis. Book now and save up to 44%.

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Nativity! The Musical
Full of your favourite hits from the much-loved films, Nativity! returns to the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo this Christmas, with Danny Dyer, Jo Brand and Dani Dyer in tow! With tickets selling fast, don’t miss out on this star-studded smash-hit.

A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow
Following three previous sell-out seasons, this heart-warming and critically acclaimed production of Charles’ Dickens classic tale returns to the Arts Theatre from 8th December for a strictly limited season. A must-see Christmas story for all generations, if you don’t want to miss out, book your tickets now.

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Ballet
There are few things more magical than taking a trip to see ballet in London at Christmas. Our top ballet productions this year are…

The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas tale never fails to warm the heart. Opening at the London Coliseum on December 12th, this production from English National Ballet is as traditional and as enchanting as it gets at Christmas! Book now from just £16.80.

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The Snowman
From The Peacock Theatre comes a show that is ‘guaranteed to melt the heart of even the most cynical scrooge’ (The Guardian). Based on the book and film of the same name, The Snowman is returning to the London stage for a record-breaking 21st year. Children under 2 go free and you can book tickets from just £18.

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Girls (or boys!) night out
Celebrate Christmas with your friends with a riotous night out on the town. We’ve got a fabulous selection of shows to keep you more than entertained this Winter…

Briefs: Close Encounters
Grab your red lipstick and prepare for a fierce night of drag, burlesque, circus and everything else you could possibly want with the Briefs boys! Beat the Christmas chills with this super-hot and thrilling show, with tickets starting from £15.

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The boys are also available to make your New Year’s Eve truly and fabulously unforgettable – book tickets to the NYE party of your dreams here.

The Silent Disco Show
Grab your dancing shoes, grab your glowsticks and prepare yourself for a sensory party experience unlike any other. Donning your very own special glowing headphones, this unique club night experience is guaranteed to have you feeling the party spirit this Christmas. Book now from £18.60.

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Burlesque Carol Concert
Carol singing with one hell of a twist, House of Burlesque invites you to raise your voices and your glasses to all of your favourite Christmas songs as they put on a show that’s sure to raise your pulse. With tickets from just £15.60, you can’t go wrong with this one!

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If you didn’t quite find what you were looking for, we have a myriad of incredible events guaranteed to get you feeling festive: browse our fantastic selection of Christmas shows right here.

The Strictly Curse has struck again: the top 10 Strictly Scandals

Uh oh, looks like Seann Walsh has become the latest victim of the Strictly curse. Every year it seems another couple is broken up by their partner’s participation on the show, so we’re counting down the 10 most high-profile #StrictlyScandals that the show has generated.

10. Brendan Cole & Natasha Kaplinsky

Breandan Cole and dance partner Natasha
Copyright: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Throwback to the very first series of the hit show in 2004, poor Brendan was the first to fall victim to what would become known as the Strictly Curse. When partnered with BBC newsreader Natasha, rumours spiralled, claiming that the pair were becoming more than just dance partners. While Natasha denied any romance between them, Brendan actually split with his then fiancé!

9. Daisy Lowe and Bradley Wade

Daisy Lowe in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo credit: Press Association

Not all contestants who split with their partners actually ended up dating their dance partner, though. Daisy Lowe appeared on the show in 2016 and was partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec, who is pretty dreamy by all accounts. Shortly after her appearance, she announced that she has split with her then boyfriend, Bradley Wade, stating that the gruelling schedule had caused the two to drift apart.

8. Giovanni Pernice & Georgia May Foote (2015)

Georgia and Giovanni
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

But let’s be honest, most of the couples split because of their partners! Coronation Street star Georgia was dating one of her co-stars when she signed up to the show and was partnered with Giovanni. Foote then split with her boyfriend, and, in spite of reports, the dancing duo continued to deny that they were a couple… until they were pictured kissing. It wasn’t to last, though, as the pair split shortly before training for the 2016 series began.

7. Pasha Kovalev & Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Countdown star Rachel was quite newly married when she entered the show, but split from her then husband after just 15 months. While the pair denied that Pasha was involved in the split, the dance partners then confirmed that they were dating just a few months later. In fairness, this couple seems to have made it stick; four years later and they’re still together!

6. Kristina Rihanoff & Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe and dance partner Kristina
Photo credit: BBC Press Office

It’s not only the male dancers jumping into relationships with their partners! Sparks flew between Kristina and Joe when they were partnered on the show, enough for him to split with his then girlfriend in 2009. This wasn’t to last, though, as Kristina announced that the pair had split in 2013, stating that Joe “found it difficult when I dance with other men”. Perhaps he was afraid of the Strictly curse himself!

5. Kristina Rihanoff & Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Clearly not one to be put off by the Strictly curse, Kristina and former rugby player Ben were paired together on the 11th series of the show. Shortly after, Cohen announced that him and his wife of 11 years were separating, only to reveal a few months later that him and Rihanoff were in a relationship. The pair welcomed their first daughter in June 2016.

4. Flavia Cacace & Matt Di Angelo

Matt Di Angelo in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo Credit: Press Association

Also not afraid to blur the line between dance partners and relationships, Flavia was paired with Eastenders star Matt in 2007. Shortly after the show ended, the pair revealed that they were dating, after Flavia split with her then boyfriend and fellow professional dancer on the show, Vincent Simone. Their romance wasn’t destined to last, as…

3. Flavia Cacace & Jimi Mistry

Flavia and Jimi on Strictly Come Dancing
Photo Credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

You guessed it, the curse struck again! Rumours have circulated that Flavia in fact got with Jimi while still in a relationship with Matt, as the pair announced their split just weeks before it was revealed that she was dating her newest dance partner. This pairing was seemingly more fated, though, as the pair got married in 2013.

2. Kevin Clifton & Louise Redknapp

Louise Redknapp in Strictly 2016
Photo Credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

While her partner had nothing to do with their split, Louise and her famous footie husband, Jamie were perhaps the most high-profile of victims. The Strictly curse struck the Redknapps after Louise took part in the 2016 season and rediscovered her love for performing. She has since spoken out, claiming: ‘Sometimes I felt like crying because deep down inside me this voice was screaming: “This is what I have been missing.”’ After 19 years of marriage, Jamie and Louise divorced in 2017.

1. Kevin & Karen Clifton

Strictly stars Kevin & Karen Clifton
Photo Credit: Press Association

Taking the top spot, on a more positive note, are Kevin and Karen Clifton. The pair got together and were engaged before Kevin joined the Strictly cast in 2012, but announced their split earlier this year after three years of marriage. On the upside, the pair have publicly stated that they are still very close friends, and that they will in fact be going on tour together later this year! Who says exes can’t be friends?

 

If you love Strictly like we do and want to see the incredible talents of the contestants and their partners for yourself, you can grab tickets to the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour right here!

 

The Wider Earth: exclusive interview with David Morton

It’s the story that shaped not only a young man’s life, but the understanding of life as we now know it. Now, Charles Darwin’s inspiring journey will be put on stage for all to see in the first show of its kind at the Natural History Museum. We asked playwright David Morton for all of the exciting details, ahead of the production’s historic opening on Tuesday 2nd October…

The Wider Earth tells the story of Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle. How did that voyage affect the rest of his life and work?
On 25 October 1831, a 22-year-old Charles Darwin boarded a ship preparing for a voyage around the world. What he saw on the five-year voyage that followed led him to think deeply about the natural world, and to question received opinion about its origins. He also collected specimens – thousands of them – and these specimens, studied in the field and on his return to England, provided vital evidence in support of his ideas, especially on the theory of evolution.

Since this play is based on a real, historical voyage, how did you find the balance between giving a historically true account and telling a good story?
To strike the balance we’ve tried to include nothing in the story that doesn’t at least have some reference to actual events. There are definitely some leaps of imagination to heighten the drama but we’ve tried to keep true to the memories of the characters and the contributions they all made.

Was there any part of the writing or development process that you found especially challenging?
The most challenging part was trying to work out which parts of the history to use. The records of the voyage are so rich with information that it was hard not to include everything.

What do you think will surprise audiences most about the Darwin you’re presenting versus the Darwin they think they know?
In the show we try and capture Darwin’s energy, his drive, and his excitement. We wanted to show the Darwin behind the long grey beard, and paint a portrait of Charles as the young man.

In your opinion, what do puppets add to the story (or to theatre in general)?
The process of bringing a puppet to life on stage takes an incredible degree of commitment and discipline. Unlike an actor who spends a rehearsal period developing a character, a puppet has to first learn how to be alive before we can even start to wonder as to what its character might be. Ultimately, the process isn’t complete until the imagination of an audience turns the movement cues that we give into the illusion of life. I think that puppets deepen the possibilities of storytelling in theatre, and can provoke a real sense of wonder in an audience.

Of the 30 puppets featured in this production, do you have a favourite?
The Galapagos tortoise! And the flightless cormorant.

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Since it’s a bit unconventional to stage a play in the Museum, have there been any logistical challenges?
Converting the Jerwood Gallery into a theatre for the first time has been a challenge, but the outcome is absolutely worth it!

What has it been like working with the Museum’s scientists?
Working with Professor Adrian Lister has been an absolute honour. To receive input into the story from someone who has lived and breathed everything Darwinian for so long has allowed the script to flourish. Adrian has an amazing sense of Charles as a person, and has been just as excited as us about making the story fresh, and bringing the voyage to life.

There are so many incredible and unique aspects to this production: its staging in the Natural History Museum, its 30 hand-made puppets, its blending of animations and live performance. What are you most excited to share with audiences?
The experience of the whole thing. I think what’s so special about this work is the integration of the elements. There’s so much to look at, and the world of the play is so rich. Also the amazing cast, their dedication to the characters and the story has been just awe inspiring and I’m so grateful to the whole team.

If you’re as excited as we are for this groundbreaking new production you can book tickets now! Watch the trailer below:

 

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Libby Purves OBE: Theatre Blogger Q&A

Ever thought about writing a theatre blog? Even seasoned bloggers sometimes need some expert guidance, so we were utterly thrilled when BBC broadcasting legend and theatre critic Libby Purves OBE agreed to share a few of her insider tips with us.
Tips like:
  • How bloggers get started?
  • How long should a review be?
  • Which blogs do the bloggers read?
  • How long do bloggers spend blogging?
  • Why it’s not always about the big hit shows.

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Mark Shenton: The Man Behind The Stage

In the first of a series of interviews with the West End’s top Theatre writers and bloggers, we meet Mark Shenton. Mark co-founded MyTheatreMates.com with friend Terri Paddock, a site which is building a big network of great bloggers and has some terrific contributors.

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My Theatre Mates – definitely a must read for all thespians!

Mark is associate editor of The Stage, as well as joint lead critic. He has written regularly for The Stage since 2005, including a daily online column.

Hi Mark and thanks for the interview. When did you start writing a blog and what do you wish you’d known back then?

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Meet West End Wilma: The First Lady of Theatreland

We all love a good gossip, and few women have their finger more firmly on the pulse of Theatreland than top-blogger and all-round glamourpuss West End Wilma. So what of the lady behind the teapot? Join us for an exclusive peek through Wilma’s stage door!

Hi Wilma. It’s a tremendous honour to meet you – and you’re looking fabulous by the way! You’re well known for your love of tea and interviewing the great and the good of West End Theatre, but what we really want to know is….

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