Alternative Christmas shows in London

Festive culture without the clichés: take your pick of the capital's best alternative Christmas theatre



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Going to the theatre this winter doesn't have to mean nutcrackers and camp men dressed as Marie Antoinette. There are plenty of alternative shows that will help to quell the Christmas overload. This page will get updated as more shows are announced, but you can see all shows in December here.

Apocalypse Meow: Crisis Is Born

In the hands of singer Meow Meow, this should be a Christmas cabaret like no other. The performer's new show 'Apocalypse Meow: Crisis Is Born' takes place as part of the Southbank Centre's Winter Festival and should offer Meow Meow's popular brand of saucy songs, satire and comedy. Ages 14-plus.

  1. Purcell Room South Bank, SE1 8XX
  2. Tue Dec 16 - Mon Dec 29
More info

Cinderella and the Beanstalk

Say, what now? Isn't that supposed to be 'Jack and the Beanstalk'? Apparently not, in Theatre 503's Christmas offering, which follows a mash up of fairy tale pantomime characters including Rumple Stiltskin, Cinderella, beanstalks and golden eggs. All performed by only three actors who sing, dance and fight. Tom Attenborough directs.  

  1. Theatre 503 503 Battersea Park Rd, SW11 3BW
  2. Tue Dec 2 - Sat Jan 10
More info

Don Quixote

Brilliant Cuban dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta staged his 'Don Quixote' in 2013 and revives it now as part of the Royal Ballet's autumn season. Acosta's version of the tales about the bumbling knight and his trusty squire Sancho Panza is inspired by Marius Petipa's version and has music from Ludwig Minkus. Acosta himself dances Basilio, along with Steven McRae and Matthew Golding while Marianela Nunez dances Kitri alongside Natalia Osipova and Fumi Kaneko.  

  1. Royal Opera House Bow St, WC2E 9DD
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Thu Jan 22
More info


Screenwriter, actress and novelist Rosie Heiney turns her hand to the stage with black comedy 'Elephants'. Set at 5.53pm on Christmas Eve, a couple is waiting for friends and family and festivities to start. But will last year's surprising revelations over the festive period overshadow the current Christmases fun? The third of three plays to run at the Hampstead Theatre's downstairs 60-seat theatre this season.

  1. Hampstead Theatre Eton Avenue, NW3 3EX
  2. Thu Dec 11 - Sat Jan 17
More info

Eric and Little Ern

  • Rated as: 3/5

Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens’s pleasant Morecambe and Wise tribute show was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Now it returns to the West End for a seasonal stint.


  1. St James Theatre 12 Palace St, SW1E 5JA
  2. Tue Dec 16 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Fascinating Aida – Charm Offensive

Hard to credit, but Fascinating Aida have been at it for 30 years now and remain at the top of their game. Adèle Anderson, Liza Pulman and founder member Dillie Keane deliver witty, musically nimble tunes that hark back to music-hall classics while remaining devilishly up to date: recent subjects include Tesco, dogging and cheap flights (now familiar to millions of YouTubers).


  1. Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank, SE1 8XX
  2. Thu Jan 1 - Sun Jan 11
More info


Theatre company 1927 wowed audiences in London and beyond with their macabre hit 'The Animals and Children Took to the Streets'. Here they create a brand new piece as the Christmas show in the Young Vic's 2014 programme. The company use animation, songs, humour and live performance to explore the relationship between man and machines.

  1. Young Vic The Cut, SE1 8LZ
  2. Tue Dec 9 - Sat Jan 17
More info


The winning team behind this year's massive hit 'Let the Right One In' reunite on this new play 'Hope'. It sounds pretty different to that vampiric fairytale, though: 'Hope' is a political play about the squeezing government cuts where leaders of the council Hilary and Mark are on a mission to save 22 million pounds. Excellent John Tiffany directs following his winning touch on'LTROI' and earlier hit 'Black Watch'. Ages 14-plus.

  1. Royal Court Theatre Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
  2. Wed Nov 26 - Sat Jan 10
More info

La Soirée

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

'La Soiree' returns in 2014 and plays in the Spiegeltent on the South Bank. This review is of its 2011 run. Camden's Roundhouse has yet again been transformed into a big top for the return of the high camp juggernaut that is 'La Soirée'. We have seen this show many times, including in its former guise as 'La Clique' both here and at the Hippodrome (now being refurbished as a casino). It hasn't lost any of its punch. The Roundhouse is a larger venue than 2010's South Bank Magic Mirrors tent, but intimacy has been preserved by the small circular stage set above the stall seats, while those sitting in the cheaper ranks further back get to witness the shocked faces of those sitting further in. The whole audience is treated to a breathtaking melée of burlesque, vaudeville and circus sideshow. Some performers astound with feats of physical nerve and endurance; others charm with character sketches and slapstick. The seamless production allows no time for you to pick your jaw up from the floor before the next act takes to the stage. Le Gateau Chocolat, the cross-dressing tenor, holds the audience in rapture with his operatic take on modern pop and rock music and with his flirtatious performance – men in the front row beware! Hamish McCann's sexy, gravity defying twist on the pole dance gets the women whooping and has to be seen to be believed. Cabaret veterans the Skating Willers reach dizzying speeds on the smallest of rinks and Queen fan, Mario, who juggles and unicycles to t

  1. Spiegeltent at the South Bank Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
  2. Wed Nov 5 - Sun Jan 11
More info

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Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho
Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho

I'm sure you only missed me off to give the other shows a chance. Yes, that's right, I'm back and more fabulous than ever! In a brand new drag musical comedy satirical extravaganza. Ever wondered what might have happened if I, Margaret Thatcher, had got lost in Soho on the eve of the vote for section 28, reversed all my views, and become an overnight cabaret sensation? Then wonder no more! Written and directed by award winning playwright Jon Brittain and co-written by and starring Matt Tedford as the lady herself, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho is a hilarious tongue in cheek Christmas show that's running at Theatre503 from 10th December - 4th January. There'll be music, laughter and free school milk for all! Where there are discos, may we bring harmony! Trailer here... Tickets here...