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Christmas shows in London

Complete guide to pantomimes, family shows and alternative Xmas theatre

Welcome to Time Out's guide to Christmas theatre in London – from pantomimes to family shows to something a little more alternative, our guides will help you find the festive show that your lot will love. More will be added as the shows are announced, plus keep an eye out for the latest theatre openings and specialist listings for October, November and December.

RECOMMENDED: Get ready for Christmas in London with our guide

Seriously festive shows in London

Pantomimes in London
Theatre

Pantomimes in London

Where's the best panto in London? It's behind you! No, it isn't. It's in this list

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Christmas shows for all the family
Theatre

Christmas shows for all the family

Tis the season for family outings with these delightful family-friendly shows

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And for the little ones...

Christmas theatre for toddlers
Theatre

Christmas theatre for toddlers

Keep their Christmas spirits high with a charming show this winter

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Christmas theatre for kids
Theatre

Christmas theatre for kids

Burn some of that Christmas energy at one of these enthralling festive shows

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Or for something completely different...

Alternative Christmas shows in London
Theatre

Alternative Christmas shows in London

Going to the theatre this winter and want to avoid the tinsel and panto dames? Our list of alternative shows is guaranteed to quell the Christmas overload.

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Christmas dance shows in London
Dance

Christmas dance shows in London

Pirouette into the festive season with our pick of Christmas dance shows in London. From classic ballets to gothic fairy tales, take your pick.

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Our Christmas theatre show highlights

Cinderella
Theatre

Cinderella

The first pantomime to grace the stage of the London Palladium in nearly 30 years, this lavish-looking telling of rags-to-riches classic 'Cinderella' certainly comes with an interesting cast. Paul O’Grady as the Wicked Stepmother, Amanda Holden as teh Fairy Godmother, Julian Clary as Dandini, 'Any Dream Will Do' winner Lee Mead as Prince Charming, ventriloquist Paul Zerdin as Buttons, Nigel Havers as Lord Chamberlain and Count Arthur Strong as Baron Hardup. And in the title role – surely at least partly symobilically cast – is Natasha J Barnes, who rose to prominence earlier this year as Sheridan Smith's acclaimed 'Funny Girl' understudy. The ensemble has definitely got the air of a variety show line-up to it, which is probably all to the good on the storied Palladium stage.

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Kiki's Delivery Service
Theatre

Kiki's Delivery Service

Fans of the Studio Ghibli film watch out: Southwark Playhouse's Christmas show is based on the book that inspired it, a novel by Japanese author Eiko Kadono, rather than the luscious animation itself. But it should still offer plenty of charm, as it follows a 13 year old witch who leaves her family to start a new life alone. Jessica Sian's adaptation is suitable for everyone aged seven-plus.

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La Soirée

La Soirée

This review is from 'La Soiree's 2015 run; the line up will be different for 2016 ‘Leave your troubles at the door!’ Brett Haylock, master of ceremonies and godfather of the ‘La Soirée’ family says as the gilded gates of the Spiegeltent close. ‘It’s Sunday at the end of what must have been big weekend for all of you’. He pauses, with a devilish grin. ‘So why stop now. The bar is over there’.Haylock and his carousel of weird and wonderful circus and cabaret performers know how to party. They’ve been throwing the best shindigs since 2004 when ‘La Clique’ (‘La Soirée’s older sister) burst onto the Edinburgh fringe and inspired a thousand hearts to run off with the circus (myself included, I was going to get Ursula Martinez to teach me that trick she does with a silk hanky).Now with a hundred imitators clamouring at their mirrored doors, they are still the mistresses of sexy, subversive circus. Haylock keeps his line ups fresh by importing new talent alongside crowd favourites like the fabulous Mario Queen of the Circus and the bonkers and bendy Captain Frodo. And while there’s undoubtedly a bit of padding to be had in the two hour show, there are some crackers from the newcomers too.Mooky Cornish has the unenviable job of being resident clown in a programme where jugglers and contortionists raise more laughs than most stand ups. Cornish sensibly offers up something different. Her act – which involves a very badly performed ‘dramatic scene’ among other things – walks an impressi

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Little Match Girl (and Other Happier Tales)
Theatre

The Little Match Girl (and Other Happier Tales)

An actual proper Christmas show for Shakespeare's Globe this year, as new boss Emma Rice directs Joel Horwood's adptation of a smorgasboard of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories, including the titular weepie. We're promised 'music' puppetry and candlelight' and it's billed as being 'for adults and brave children alike'.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Sally Cookson, the director behind the NT's acclaimed 'Jane Eyre' adaptation, returns with this inventive take on the story of the boy who would not grow up. 'Peter Pan' is JM Barrie's fantastical take on growing pains, featuring well-loved characters like Wendy, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell. This family show should be a bit sharper than the hordes of 'Peter Pan' pantos that fill theatres at Christmas. It's a revival of Cookson's 2012 Bristol Old Vic production, which scooped some rave reviews for its subversive, dressing-up box aesthetic. This time round, the production's cast will include Lois Chimimba (who played the lead Aly in the NT's disastrous festive offering Wonder.land last year) and Sophie Thompson, in the dual role of Captain Hook and Mrs Darling .

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Sleeping Beauty
Theatre

Sleeping Beauty

With heaps of zany energy, lurid costumes, a chortle-worthy dame (in previous years Clive Rowe has done them proud) and budget East End prices, Hackney's panto is typically one of the best out there. This year, panto-writing dream team Susie McKenna and Steve Edis are spinning the yarn of Princess Aurora, who pricks her finger on a spindle and sends everyone into an enchanted slumber. Fear not, kids and adults are likely to stay wide awake for this festive treat, though - if past form is anything to go by, you can expect heaps of high-energy dance routines, fresh comedy, and plenty of surreal touches.

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The Red Shoes
Dance

The Red Shoes

The Academy Award-winning movie 'The Red Shoes' is a dark story of obsession and ambition, pirouetting around one girl's increasingly desperate dream to be the world's greatest dancer.  Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures are bringing this Hollywood golden age story to the stage, using music by the film's original composer, Bernard Herrmann. It's a risky proposition: although the film's a mega-hit, the Broadway version was one of the biggest flops in NYC theatre history. But it's refreshing to see Bourne break with his run of fairytales to delve into the real world of backstage romance. Mixing surreal, cinematic style with the everyday life of a touring dance company, this should be a ravishing visual treat. New Adventures principal Ashley Shaw will create the central role of Victoria Page, after leading the company as Aurora in their hit 'Sleeping Beauty'.

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Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Theatre

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

This review is from 'Peter Pan Goes Wrong's 2015/16 run. It returns for 2016/17 Peter Pan soars! Or doesn’t, in this extremely funny follow-up to ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, which transferred from a fringe venue to the West End, won an Olivier for Best New Comedy earlier this year and gladdened the hearts of theatre-makers everywhere. The original cast are back for this production. If you saw ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, there are few surprises here. It’s an ingeniously simple premise: drop an audience into a fourth-wall-breaking performance of a show that falls apart spectacularly from the first scene. Here, that’s an adaptation of JM Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, directed and starring the pompous Chris (Henry Shields), who – in spite of his amusingly seasonal, pissed-off insistence that this is ‘not’ a panto – is properly boo-hissable. And not just as Captain Hook. The real director of ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’, Adam Meggido (who’s just had huge West End success as co-creator of ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’), stages everything beautifully, creating a breathlessly chaotic atmosphere that distracts us from the obvious technical skill and sophistication necessary in order to make everything break down so hilariously. There’s some inevitable flying-related japery, with the ‘actors’ swinging haplessly into scenery or abruptly disappearing. But while this – and the various set malfunctions – are good for quick laughs, it’s the cast’s comic timing that really powers it, from Nanc

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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More Christmas fun in London

The best Christmas lights in London
Things to do

The best Christmas lights in London

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2016's top Christmas markets
Shopping

2016's top Christmas markets

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Where to ice skate in London
Things to do

Where to ice skate in London

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Winter Wonderland 2016
Things to do

Winter Wonderland 2016

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Christmas carol concerts in London
Music

Christmas carol concerts in London

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Must-visit Santa's grottos
Kids

Must-visit Santa's grottos

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Comments

1 comments
steve morgan
steve morgan

In London for Christmas looking to take my daughter to a pantomime oh yes i am

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