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!

 

YOUR TOP TEN Musical Theatre Overtures EVER!

Long before mash-ups, some of the greatest composers ever to work in Musical Theatre created the perfect fusion of melody and rhythm, changing tempo, introducing themes, and combining the best bits of songs to entertain and entice audiences as they settle in for a night at the theatre.

Now, you’ve been casting your votes, humming along and tapping your toes to decide the greatest Musical Theatre Overtures ever written – and the results are in! Due to a three-way tie for tenth place, here are the TWELVE shows which made your TOP TEN Best Ever Musical Theatre Overtures:

1st Place – Gypsy
Music Jule Styne, Lyrics Stephen Sondheim

You voted the Overture for GYPSY your NUMBER ONE – and it’s easy to hear why: Although you may not hear Sondheim’s words in the overture, they somehow permeate every bar of Jule Styne’s melodious and pulsating score. Add the show’s orchestrators, Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for an overture – and in your opinion it’s the greatest ever.

2nd Place
West Side Story
Music Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Sondheim keeps turning up, doesn’t he? Again, you won’t hear his lyrics here, but you can’t really separate his words from those Bernstein melodies in your head. It does exist as an overture and featured in the film, but you won’t find it played in stage versions which makes it a slightly controversial number two in our list!

3rd Place – Candide
Music Leonard Bernstein, Primary Lyricist Richard Wilbur
It probably won’t surprise you to see Bernstein’s name appearing again – or to hear that Sondheim also wrote additional lyrics. The show may drag – the overture certainly doesn’t! Here’s the maestro himself conducting…

4th place – Phantom of the Opera
Music Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics Charles Hart & Richard Stilgoe
Despite not featuring on our original shortlist, this Lloyd Webber classic received so many votes in the “other” category that we just had to include it, although it’s not really an overture at all since it only features the title song. Not bad though, for a man who spends his life paddling around in sewers…

5th – Merrily We Roll Along
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Yes, that’s right. This time, not content with just doing the words, Stephen Sondheim thought he’d have a go at the music too. Possibly after seeing how much more money you get. We rather like this version…

6th Place – Mack & Mabel
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Eventually, more and more composers and lyricists cottoned on that if you write it all yourself, you get more money. Jerry Herman also achieved every composers dream by meeting Torville & Dean! Here they are putting his music to skating…just don’t tell Jerry they had to cut a bit of his overture out!

7th place (two way tie)
My Fair Lady
Music Alan Jay Lerner and Lyrics Frederick Loewe
My Fair Lady made a stage star of Martine McCutcheon when she took on the role of Eliza Doolittle at the National Theatre. Unfortunately, the Eastenders Actress took her character’s surname a bit too literally – which was fine until she was spotted “recuperating” at the Ivy.

South Pacific
Music Richard Rodgers & Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II
It’s surprising not to have more Rodgers & Hammerstein shows in the top ten –  such was their dominance in Musical Theatre throughout the mid-20th Century that one wonders if they simply had all the other composers killed like Andrew Lloyd Webber did in the 1980s?

9th Place
Anything Goes
Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter
Incredibly, Anything Goes turns 87 years old this year. It’s still as fresh as ever thanks to numerous re-writes and revivals. Had Porter not died he would be approaching 128 years old so it’s unlikely he would be writing anything as good now…thankfully he left us this.

10th Place (three way tie):
Guys & Dolls
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Guys and Dolls is one of those great shows that allows theatre directors who have run out of other ideas still to suggest things at meetings.

Funny Girl
Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill
Another top ten appearance for Jule Styne, who also took the top spot for Gypsy. It was recently revived and made a West End Star of understudy Natasha J Barnes.

Singin’ In The Rain
Music Nacio Herbert Brown & Lyrics Arthur Freed
The film starred Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds and is widely regarded as the greatest movie musical ever made. It also made a great stage vehicle for Tommy Steele who allegedly upset backstage staff so much that he ended up singing in far more than just rain…

You might like to check out these other shows which narrowly missed out on a top spot, but which come with a personal recommendation:

Annie, Bells Are Ringing, Carousel, Cyrano, Dear World, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Finian’s Rainbow, Fiorello, Hallelujah Baby, Irma La Douce, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Cage Aux Folles, Little Me, Mame, No No Nanette, Of Thee I Sing, On The 20th Century, Promises Promises, Sugar, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, The Fantasticks, The Man of La Mancha, The Music Man, The Wiz, What Makes Sammy Run, Wildcat

We’d like extend special thanks to all our facebook friends at Broadway Babylon and The Musical Theatre Appreciation Society for voting and offering up their expertise.

Love London Theatre? Check out our Must See Shows for 2017.

Top 10 Musical Theatre Tearjerkers: As voted by you!

When we asked you to vote for Theatre’s greatest tearjerkers we were stunned by the results! Shows we expected to make the top ten didn’t get a look in while Musicals which hadn’t been in the West End in years gave the big names a close run for the top spot. So which shows made your top ten? Grab a box of tissues and see if your favourite made the list:

Read more