THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 2016 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
SOFIE HAGEN: SHIMMER SHATTER
The completely delightful Sofie Hagen has become a favourite of ours (and of everyone else, seemingly) over the last couple of years, following her Fringe run of the show that won her the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer gong in 2015, 'Bubblewrap'.

This month she brings her newest set, 'Shimmer Shatter' to Soho Theatre for a two week run, and we are thrilled about that. I spoke to her ahead of the London dates for a bit of a catch up, and to find out more about the new show. Read the interview here.

Sofie performs 'Shimmer Shatter' at Soho Theatre from 5-17 Dec. See the venue website here for more info and to book.



JOE STILGOE: BIG BAND CHRISTMAS
If you're feeling up for some jazzy music and a touch of Christmas cheer, then we have the perfect thing for you in Joe Stilgoe's three upcoming Lyric Hammersmith performances, which are spaced weekly through December.

To find out more about these shows, and other things the internationally acclaimed musician has been getting up to lately, I put some questions to him ahead of his London dates. Read the interview here.

'Joe Stilgoe and his Big Band' is on at Lyric Hammersmith on 5, 12 and 19 Dec. See this page here for info.



JAMIE JACKSON: MUTED

Opening next week at much praised young venue The Bunker is a new musical that inspired significant acclaim when the first workshop version was presented a few years back. 'Muted', created by Tim Prottey-Jones, Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley, tells the story of a young man who chooses not to speak in the aftermath of a tragic incident.

To find out more about the show and the company behind it, I spoke to the production's director, Jamie Jackson. Read the interview here.

'Muted' is on at The Bunker from 7 Dec-7 Jan. Head this way for details and to book your tickets.


FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 2016 >>

Mother Goose | Wilton's Music Hall | 2-31 Dec
It's December now, and has been for a whole day, so now I can recommend pantos, and Christmas themed shows, and shows with Christmas in the title without feeling guilty about it. So I am not going to worry about the proliferation of Christmassy events in today's tips. Starting with this, "the mother of all pantos", from the team behind last year's critically acclaimed 'Dick Whittington'. See this page here for info.

Cracked Christmas Cabaret | Jacksons Lane | 2-3 Dec
And if you are looking for something that's a bit of an alternative to the traditional Christmas fare, here's something that will fit the bill. Christian Lee hosts the likes of '21st Century Troubadour' Steve Aruni and his robot band, unicycling 'boylesquer' Adriano Fettucini and 'Card Ninja' Javier Jarquin. Click this link for details.

Room On The Broom | Stratford Circus | 2-18 Dec (pictured)
Yes, well, I know this isn't strictly what you'd call a Christmas show, but it's clearly on now in order to be a pre-Chrimbo treat for your little ones, and believe me, it will be magical, and magical is what you need to make festive. This slick Tall Stories adaptation of the picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler has won praise and award nominations, and is generally all round lovely. Find all the details here.


SATURDAY 3 DECEMBER 2016 >>

Horniman Christmas Fair | Horniman Museum Gardens | 3-4 Dec
The first weekend in December seems like a highly appropriate time to visit a Christmas Fair, especially one that looks as fun-filled as this: there are performances, a Christmas trail, carols, a family craft activity, a farmers' market and an arts and craft market. Hurrah, see this page here for all the info.

POST by Xavier De Sousa | 30 Nov-3 Dec (pictured)
Argh, nearly missed this one, and I am so regretful about that because these are such a timely and important issues that are being addressed. It's an exploration of what it means to be a migrant, especially in a time when there's a wave of nationalism arising that threatens to put an end to our freedom of movement. See the venue website here for details.

Comedy Club 4 Kids | Soho Theatre | 3 Dec
Yes, yes, we've tipped it before, but it is always worth tipping, because it is always good, and I thought you might like to give your kids (and you, actually) a nice clean comedy treat in the run up to Christmas. If you can't make this one, there's always the 17 Dec, and lots of dates coming up in the new year to cheer you up when you've taken down the fairy lights. Book here.


SUNDAY 4 DECEMBER 2016 >>

This Might Be It | Theatre N16 | 4-8 Dec
Only on for a short time, so don't miss your opportunity to see this. The company behind it are a new one, but don't be put off by that (we all have to start somewhere), not least because their show explores a very current and interesting theme - that of our contemporary relationship with technology, and isolation in this digital age. Head this way for info and to book.

Little Red Riding Hood | Chelsea Theatre | 30 Nov-24 Dec (pictured)
It's based on the traditional tale, but it's got a nice seasonal twist: "It's Christmas Eve at Grandma's house and what a big wardrobe Grandma's got... Grandma's house makes funny noises and what a lot of clothes Grandma's got... it's impossible to sleep while there's a story to be told!" And it's from an award-winning team, too, see the venue website here to book.

Word/Play Celebrity Christmas Gala | King's Place | 4 Dec
A very nice thing to do on your lazy Sunday this. Lucy Parham does her regular music/spoken word thing with piano playing celebs, but this time it's a Christmas show, so expect some festive surprises. See this page here for info and to book (ASAP, tickets are selling quickly!), and this page here for a Q&A we did with Lucy ahead of last year's gala event.


MONDAY 5 DECEMBER 2016 >>

Sofie Hagen - Shimmer Shatter | Soho Theatre 5-17 Dec
The completely lovely and utterly talented Sofie Hagen returns to Soho Theatre with her latest show, as seen by our reviewer in Edinburgh this summer, and pronounced to be pretty much perfect. If you haven't seen her perform yet, it's about time to take in some of her funny and insightful stories. See the venue website here to book.

Live 4 | Camden People's Theatre | 5 Dec
If you, like me, enjoy scratchy, experimental stuff, then this evening curated by Barrel Organ will be just the ticket. Five different pieces on a range of different themes and issues, and the opportunity to offer your own feedback; it all adds up to an enriching cultural experience. See this page here for details.

Nick Cody - Come Get Some | Soho Theatre | 5-10 Dec (pictured)
Your second comedy choice of the day is Nick Cody, who I am pretty sure we'll be referring to as an 'old favourite' in the aeons to come. As it is, we've only known him a couple of years, having seen him for the first time at the 2015 edfringe, when we discovered that he had an awesome beard. Don't let that blind you to his comedic talents, though. He is really good, beard or no beard. See this page here for info.


TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2016 >>

Charming Dick | Cockpit Theatre | 6-23 Dec
'Charming Dick' was the 2015 edition of the long running institution that is the Royal Vauxhall Tavern's Christmas panto, and it's headed for the Cockpit theatre, kicking off a more-than-two-week run this very day. It's got a great cast, and will no doubt be great fun for all you big kids out there. I don't think I really need to spell out that this one isn't suitable for actual children. See this page here for info.

Scenes From The End | Tristan Bates Theatre | 6-10 Dec (pictured)
Bit of a change of scene from bawdy panto, this, a one woman opera focusing on themes of death, grief and endings. Don't be turned off by the doomy subject matter, though, this is a critically acclaimed and powerful piece of work that will very possibly take your breath away. I've tipped it before, and may well tip it again. See the venue website here for details.

Benighted | Old Red Lion | 6 Dec-7 Jan
I love JB Priestly, but this is JB Priestly with a difference, in that it's a stage adaptation of a 1927 novel, published when the esteemed playwright was yet to become well known. A party are lost in Wales on a treacherously stormy night, and abandon their car to seek refuge in a ramshackle mansion house, and if I tell you that this inspired 'The Rocky Horror Show' you'll see just where this creepy comedy is headed. Head this way to find out more.


WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER 2016 >>

My Big Fat Weirdos Christmas Wedding | Leicester Square Theatre | 7-9 Dec
Alternative comedy collective Weirdos present their latest charity pantomime, which boasts a huge cast of comedians, and promises "love, violence, music and poorly made cardboard props". Funny silliness, all kinds of delightfulness, and all proceeds to Great Ormond Street. But don't bring children, not least because it will go on way past their bed time. Head this way for details.

Bollywood Jack | Tara Theatre | 7 Dec-7 Jan
And another panto, but this time at the new Tara Theatre with Tara Arts' traditional Bollywood spin; in fact "an East-West culture-clash of glittering costumes, a side-splitting dame and songs that will have you dancing in the aisles!" Which sounds super, doesn't it? Well hurry up and get your tickets booked, because it looks to me as though they are going like hot cakes.

Jack Frost | Blue Elephant Theatre | 7-8+10 Dec (pictured)
Crikey, that was almost three pantos in one day. But no, this one is a children's show that won't fall into that category, though it has a snowy, Christmassy theme. The play combines puppetry, live music and storytelling, and is, you won't be surprised to hear, all about the mischievous Jack Frost. See the venue website here for info.


THURSDAY 8 DECEMBER 2016 >>

Christmas Gothic | ArtsDepot | 8 Dec (pictured)
Oooooh, a slightly scary-sounding pre-Christmas treat for you here, courtesy of the talented Rebecca Vaughan: "Come in from the cold and enter into the Christmas spirit as a dark and spectral woman tells haunting tales of the festive season, lighting a candle to the frailties of human nature and illuminating the cold and chilling depths of the bleak, wintry dark..." Intrigued? Me too. See this page here.

Muted | The Bunker | 7 Dec-7 Jan
This new and highly promising pop-rock musical tells the story of the fate of an exceptionally talented young musician: his band was on the brink of stardom, but then his mother was killed in a hit and run accident, and he fell silent, refusing to say a word. Can he be persuaded to go back to performing? Click this link here for more info.

Cymbeline | The Space | 5-18 Dec
I know it has its detractors, but I like it, and I trust Who Said Theatre to make a good fist of it. Politics, pride and a sinister bet collide with family, lovers and concealed identities in Shakespeare's most genre-spanning tale - a fabulous antidote to all that Christmassy sparkle and shizzle we've been trying to force on you lately. See the venue website here for info.
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