London might be locking down, but the trickle of Christmas shows announced in the last couple of weeks is starting to turn into a flood, with not one but two major productions of Dickens’s beloved seasonal ghost story ‘A Christmas Carol’ announced today.
The edgier take comes from Nicholas Hytner’s Bridge Theatre, which follows up its hugely successful season of socially distanced monologues with a new 90-minute devised take on the story, which sees brilliant actors Simon Russell Beale and Patsy Ferran and rising star Eben Figueiredo take on all the roles in what’s billed as an ‘exuberant’ take on the tale. It runs from November 27 to January 16.
If you’re looking for something a bit more family-friendly, check out the show that reopens the West End’s enormous Dominion Theatre (December 7 to January 2). This ‘Carol’ is a staged concert version of Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent’s 1994 musical adaptation of the yarn, which was a seasonal fixture of Madison Square Garden from the mid ’90s to the early ’00s. In contrast to the stripped Bridge version, this bad boy has more than 50 performers (including musicians) with West End regular Brian Conley as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.
Theatres are fine to stay open under Tier 2 regulations (and it would appear from Liverpool that this applies to Tier 3 as well), but remember, you can now only attend with members of your household or bubble (though you and up to five friends could book in in separate groups and then have a festive tinny in the street afterwards, but don’t say we told you to).
There is however a third option: if you’d rather stay at home, the Old Vic’s In Camera series of shows performed live from its stage to an online-only audience will continue with Jack Thorne’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ – this would have been its fourth year coming back to the Vic, but it’s not reopening to the public until 2021. You can catch this ‘Carol’ from December 12 to 24 – casting is TBA, but this production tends to get some pretty big names (last year’s Scrooge, Paterson Joseph, is pictured). It’s ticketed at the IRL capacity of the theatre, so snap ’em up early.
Find more festive shows with our guide to London panto season 2020.