Sometimes things come together in such a serendipitous way, you just know that it's all going to work out brilliantly.

Such as when I heard that an adaptation of the novel 'Benighted' by JB Priestley (a fave writer) would be gracing the stage at the Old Red Lion, and that one of the actors involved is one of zazU, the comedy-theatre troupe we gave an award to in Edinburgh this summer.

I spoke to that aforementioned actor, Harrie Hayes, to find out more about the show. Read the interview here.

'Benighted' is on at Old Red Lion from 6 Dec-1 Jan. See the venue website here for more info and to book.

The themes of 'Christmas', by acclaimed and prolific playwright Simon Stephens, are not jolly, but they are definitely pertinent, especially in the current political climate; which is why I was pleased to see that a production of the play is on at Theatre N16 this December.

To find out more about the show, and the motivations for staging it, I put a few quick questions to producer and N16 AD Jamie Eastlake. Read the interview here.

'Christmas' is on at Theatre N16 in Balham from 11-22 Dec. See the venue website here for more info and to book.


Luv | Park Theatre | 8 Dec – 7 Jan
Murray Schisgal's award winning 1964 Broadway debut 'Luv' gets a Christmastide airing over at the Park Theatre this month, so if you are in the mood to laugh, get on over there. Described as "a riotous celebration of the absurd lengths we go to when struck down with the terrible affliction known as 'love'", which I suspect the vast majority will be able to relate to. See this page here for all the info.

The 2016 RVT Panto: Prince Bendover In Boots | various dates to 5 Jan
Well, a few days ago we told you to go and see the Royal Vauxhall Tavern's 2015 pantomime (it's being staged again at The Cockpit, we weren't suggesting that you go back in time) and then realised that we hadn't talked about this year's panto, which is daft. Of course, what this means is that you could very well see two RVT pantos in the space of a week if you follow our instructions, and that would be a beautiful thing. See the venue website here for details.

Holy Presents | Camden People's Theatre | 6-17 Dec (pictured)
"Joy to the world, in heaven Jesus' iphone 6S is ringing, the Holy Ghost is on the loo and God's lost his glasses.  Sweaty stilton, too much port and a turkey that's drier than Joseph's flip-flop; it's just another family Christmas in the household of its holy originators." I recommended this self-same show around this time last year, but it's brilliant, so I am doing it again. So there. Lovely. Follow this link here and you won't be able to resist9


Urban Makers East Christmas Market | Mile End Ecology Pavilion | 10-11 Dec
You know, if you are someone who celebrates Christmas and still haven't started your Christmas shopping, don't panic, because look, a fabulous Christmas market is on in East London this weekend, full of all sorts of interesting and different items made by a host of talented designer-makers. See this website here for all the info.

A Christmas Carol | Canada Water Culture Space | 6-17 Dec (pictured)
Sorry, but we're going to be recommending quite a few Scroogey shows over the next couple of weeks, because we can't help but love 'A Christmas Carol'. This one is very much a family show, suitable for 7+, and is a modern and lively adaptation of the Dickens classic featuring lots of singing and audience interaction. Click this link for details.

Come Rhyme With Me | Ovalhouse | 10 Dec
Dean Atta and Deanna Rodger host an evening of spoken word from poets, lyricists and musicians. On tonight's menu are some rather familiar names: writer, filmmaker and theatre maker Paula Varjak, playwright, poet and screenwriter Sabrina Mahfouz, and Toby Thompson, who is "a writer who doesn't write anything down, a musician who doesn't play an instrument, and an artist who doesn't use paint". Head this way for more.


The Snow Queen | Theatre N16 | 11-22 Dec
We seem to have inadvertently chosen three shows that are suitable for younger people today, but that's possibly quite a nice thing, given that it's a Sunday, and exactly two weeks until Christmas. Anyway, first up is this production of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, a modern adaptation which promises humour, magic and surprises. See the venue website here for info.

The Little Match Girl | Lillian Baylis Studio | 10-30 Dec (pictured)
And on to another HCH-inspired piece. I know we tipped this show in 2015 but I think it's one of those worth tipping again, because Arthur Pita's dance theatre version of the well-known tale is just so magical and moving, you should probably go and see it again this year even if you saw it last year. Click this link here for details.

A Young People's Guide To Feminism | Arcola Theatre | 11 Dec
And finally, one that's got nothing to do with Hans Christian Andersen, and is for an older audience, adults and those aged 12+. It's an "immersive and visceral theatre event" focusing on feminism and how young people engage with it, performed by members of Arcola Youth Theatre, who have been exploring the topic over the course of this term. See this page here for more.


Ricky Whittington And His Cat | New Diorama | 12 Dec-7 Jan
Hey, pantomime fans, it's another date for your diary. Like many of the pantos we've been recommending of late, this one's definitely not the traditional type, and isn't suitable for children. You can expect the funnies, however. When Ricky heads to London, he finds the streets are not paved with gold, and in fact they're overrun by rats – aka disenfranchisement, political disillusionment, economic instability and alienation – and discovers that the capital is a tough place to move to if you are young and don't have rich parents. Cracking cast, see this page here for more info.

The Selfish Giant | Arcola Theatre | 7-16 Dec
There used to be an animated adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short story on telly every Christmas when I were a lass, and I used to watch it and weep at the end. Hmm, not sure I'm selling this well. But it is a sweet, poignant story, and I am sure this staged adaptation will be hopeful in spades and your kids will love it. All children love stories with giants in, and that's that. See this page here for details.

Sing-A-Long Muppets Christmas Carol | Camden People's Theatre | 11-12 Dec (pictured)
Sunday is already sold out, which is why I had to recommend this on the Monday instead, so if you want to go, you'd better get a move on, though if you are in fact on the move you might be able to catch one of the regional tour dates (Essex, Norfolk, Cambridge, Leeds). I think the fabulous duo that are Sh!t Theatre probably started this whole muppet thing back in 2012 or 13, so I think we could say it's becoming an institution, and one you will regret missing. Head this way to see if there are any tickets left.


Josie Long Hosts Christmas This Year | Battersea Arts Centre | 13-17 Dec (pictured)
The always-great presence that is the lovely Josie Long presents a new and festive stand-up show all about hosting your own Christmas, which is fairly promising – I know my own attempts to host Christmas are routinely hilarious. Anyway, she is very popular, so I imagine tickets are selling pretty quickly. Head this way to book yours.

The Collective Project 2016 | Tristan Bates Theatre | 13-17 Dec
The Pensive Federation return with another edition of their annual festival The Collective Project, during which a collection of actors, writers and directors work together to create eight new twelve minute plays in over the course of twelve days – a time-pressured and fascinating process, I'm sure. See this page here for more info.

Christmas | Theatre N16 | 12-22 Dec
"One night in an East end pub, four men confront their past and brace themselves for an uncertain future". Acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens' festively named work is Christmas play, yes, but not really the twinkly kind, given its fairly bleak setting and themes. Not everything ought to twinkle though, even in December. See the venue website here to book.


The Flanagan Collective's 'A Christmas Carol' | Arts Theatre | 12-31 Dec
Now, you may think we are prepared to tip just about any performance of 'A Christmas Carol', but a) you'd be wrong and b) you don't want to miss this one. Why? Because The Flanagan collective are very brilliant, and because this is a fabulously immersive experience involving a two course actual meal. Hurrah, see this page here for all the details.

Mimi And The Mountain Dragon | Bloomsbury Theatre | 13-31 Dec
Another potential pre-Christmas (or post Christmas, in fact, if you're not going to actually see it today) treat for your young fry, and this one involves snow and dragons, and the story is by Michael Morpurgo, so it's got to be a little slice of kid-heaven. See the venue website here for more info.

Doc Brown | The Bill Murray | 14 Dec
The much renowned, very talented, and clearly very busy Doc Brown takes time out from all that appearing on the telly and everything to pop over to Angel Comedy's new venue to entertain a live crowd. Highly recommended, if you can manage to get yourself a ticket. Click this link to find out more.


Helen Duff and Elf Lyons – WIPS and Tickles | Camden People's Theatre | 15 Dec
Two TW favourites offer up a double bill of new shows, and even if they are works in progress, I think it represents remarkable value, because these are top quality acts. Helen Duff's is about "about life as a fully exposed idiot", while Elf Lyons' is about changing the ending of 'Swan Lake'. See this page here for more info and to book.

Kiki's Delivery Service | Southwark Playhouse | 8 Dec-8 Jan (pictured)
OMG, what a fab alternative to panto for the children, if panto isn't your thing. It's a staged adaptation of a best-selling and award-winning book by Japanese author Eiko Kadono, but you are possibly already familiar with this rites-of-passage story of a teenage witch embarking on her career because of the animated film version by Studio Ghibli. See the venue website here for more.

The Fitzrovia Radio Hour's A Christmas Carol | The Vaults | 6-31 Dec
Yay, another 'Christmas Carol' but this one is in the hands of The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, who turn their customary period touch to the Dickens classic, reimagining it as a 1940's style studio recording. Expect something funny and fabulous, not to mention spiffing. Head this way for details.
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