If you are a fan of excellent comedy with a political edge to it, or a lighter take on cricket statistics, then you'll be well aware of the great Andy Zaltzman. If you've never witnessed him at work, then that's completely shocking and you should rectify the situation immediately.

Luckily, you have quite a few chances to take in his latest show, because it's set for a fairly chunky run at Soho Theatre, beginning this month and stretching into the new year. I thought that seemed like a very good reason for a quick chat, so put a few questions to him, ahead of his London dates. Read the interview here.

Andy Zaltzman performs '2016 - The Certifiable History' at Soho Theatre from 20 Dec-7 Jan, see the venue website here for all the details.

Scott Gibson made quite an impact when he presented his first show at edfringe this summer, walking away with much acclaim and the Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer gong for his debut hour, 'Life After Death'.

Now, as a Christmas treat for you Londoners, he'll be performing his prize-winning set at Soho Theatre over the festive period. To find out more about the show, and about Scott, I put some questions to him ahead of his London run. Read the interview here.

Scott Gibson performs 'Life After Death' at Soho Theatre from 20 Dec-14 Jan. See this page here for more info.

I know you can't move for Scrooge references around here at the moment, but I promise this will all end in January. But of course not before you have all had a chance to see this musical version of 'A Christmas Carol' by Broadway types Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent, a production of which is being staged at LOST Theatre this month.

To find out more about the show I put some questions to the creative team behind it: Mark Magill, Martin John Bristow, Randy Smartnick and James Thacker. Read the interview here.

'A Christmas Carol' is on at LOST Theatre from 19-31 Dec. See the venue website here for info and to book.


Le Gateau Chocolat presents Duckie | Royal Festival Hall | 16-24 Dec
Wonderful and acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolate presents this family friendly show that's a re-working of 'The Ugly Duckling', set in an animal circus. It's the first piece he has made for children and I am 100% sure it will be excellent just because he's excellent, but also because of the themes of self-acceptance and dealing with being different. See this page here for more.

Le Gateau Chocolat - Icons | Soho Theatre | 12 Dec-7 Jan (pictured)
What do you mean I'm not allowed to recommend one person twice in one day? I make the rules around here, so there. And if you want, you could see both shows: 'Duckie' in the afternoon with the kids, and a grown-up outing to 'Icons' in the evening. I've just got this all worked out for you. Head this way for details.

Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman | Soho Theatre | 13 Dec-7 Jan
What do you mean I'm not allowed to recommend two shows in the same venue on the same day? I make the rules around here. Plus, I've already done it lots of times. Anyhoo, this sounds utterly fascinating, and yes, as the title might suggest, there's something of a menstrual theme. I think we should expect a really exciting and illuminating cabaret performance that delivers a serious blow to "misogynist menstrual shame". See the venue website here for more info.


Red Riding Hood | Hoxton Hall | 17-24 Dec
"This Christmas join the Hood family at their Pie & Mash shop... Meet Red Riding Hood, her best friend Tommy Tucker, Mother Hood and not forgetting the biggest, baddest wolf in town". He's behind you! A newly created but very traditional looking pantomime featuring Hoxton favourite Marc Wesley Dehaney. See this page here for all the info.

James Campbell's The Funny Thing About | Leicester Square Theatre | 17-18 Dec (pictured)
James Campbell genuinely is a pioneer of stand up comedy for kids (I remember gaping when I first heard about his children's shows because the idea seemed pretty revolutionary at the time), and his reputation precedes him, so I imagine these tickets will go quickly, so hurry. If you don't quite make it, there are a couple of dates in January too, see the venue website here for more info.

RHS London Christmas Show | RHS Laurence Hall | 16-18 Dec
Don't tell me that you are not going because you don't like gardening because that really doesn't matter when you have Christmas presents still to buy and relatives with green fingers. But, also, there are going to be freakin reindeer at this event. Yes, reindeer. They are gorgeous. And there will be festive live music. And craftspeople. And independent food producers. Aces. Go here.


A Very English Christmas | St John's Smith Square | 18 Dec
Oh, we are so all about the carols today. Not one, but two recommendations involving classically Christmassy music. And there aren't so many tickets left for this one, by the look of things so do get your skates on (and you could maybe have a trip to one of the capital's seasonal rinks while you have them on). Anyway, this performance is from that Tenebrae lot who are absolutely brilliant, glide right this way.

Kieran Hodgson - Trilogy | Pleasance Theatre | 18 Dec (pictured)
No carols here, but we are all about the brilliant stand-ups today too. Specifically this brilliant stand-up, Kieran Hodgson, who is heroically performing his three recent highly acclaimed shows all in one night, and you can choose to go to just one, or see all three - 'French Exchange', 'Lance' and 'Maestro'. Hope he gets to have a nice restful day on the 19 Dec. See this page here for more.

LCMS - Sonoro: A Ceremony Of Carols | King's Place | 18 Dec
And now to your second possibility of seasonal classical loveliness, this time courtesy of new-yet-already-popular professional chamber choir Sonoro, over at King's Place. The performance centres on two works for upper voices and harp, Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols' and Rutter's companion piece 'Dancing Day'. This one also seems to be selling quickly, so click this link ASAP.


Viva Hypnosis | Leicester Square Theatre | 19-20 Dec (pictured)
You might not think that hypnosis shows are your dab (and I certainly think they've had a period of waning in popularity) but Simon Warner promises to obliterate "the 'old hat' stuff that people might expect" and put "the 'show' and the 'comedy' back into the comedy hypnosis show". It does sound like a genuinely fun night out and one you can probably enjoy as a gang. See the venue website here for all the details.

The Crumple Zone | Clapham Omnibus | 19-23 Dec
This is a British premiere of the play by US writer Buddy Thomas, and it's also the first show to be performed in the newly converted music room at the venue. It's set at Christmas, so will have a nice seasonal feel, and promises a hilarious fly-on-the-wall perspective of five friends sharing an apartment for the festive period. Also on at Pleasance later in the month. See this page here to book tickets.

Joe Stilgoe And His Big Band | Lyric Hammersmith | 19 Dec
You may recall that we did an interview with Joe Stilgoe at the end of last month about his Christmas performances in Hammersmith  - click here if you'd like to read that. This is the final one of those gigs, so, your last chance if you haven't already been. Lovely music and festive shenanigans, head right this way.


Andy Zaltzman - 2016 The Certifiable History | Soho Theatre | 20 Dec-7 Jan
I think pretty much everyone agrees that 2016 has been a bad sort of a year, in more ways than one. In fact, that's putting it mildly, given that some people I know seem to feel that it's basically apocalypse time. Well, I'd like to hear the take on it of someone whose opinion and comedy I love a lot, the very brilliant Andy Zaltzman. I bet you want to hear it too, see the venue website here for more.

A Christmas Carol | LOST Theatre | 19-31 Dec
If you'd like your seasonal Dickens' adaptation to be of the musical kind, look no further than LOST Theatre, where you'll find a production of the Alan Menken-scored version that was a regular and popular Christmas tradition over in New York for many years. Great for anyone, but also recommended as a family outing, as this should go down well with your older children. Head this way for details.

Breaking The Ice | Stratford Circus | 19-24 Dec (pictured)
Another children's show for you, this time to cater to the tastes of any very little ones aged 2-5. It sounds really lovely: "Join an Arctic adventure based on the incredible true story of a wild polar bear who made friends with a husky. Follow a story of unlikely friendship and be part of Team Polar Bear or Team Husky as the animals learn to play together". I want to go. Can I go? Even though I am (cough) a little older than 5...? Click here for info.


Scott Gibson - Life After Death | Soho Theatre | 20 Dec-14 Jan (pictured)
The winner of this year's Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer gong heads Soho-wards with this solo show focusing on the actually true tale of how he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage whilst on a stag weekend in Blackpool. Funny, inspiring, high quality comedy from a highly charismatic act. See the venue website here for more info.

The Pod Of Maximum Damage featuring Adam Riches, Joseph Morpurgo, Toby Hadoke & Adam Buxton | King's Place | 21 Dec
On to the shenanigans of another Edinburgh Comedy Award winner now, this time Adam Riches, who won the main prize back in 2011 (can't quite believe it's that long ago). Anyway, here he is, recording a new podcast "about the greatest television show you will never see". Joined by an excellent line up of guests, as named in the title above, so I'm not going to type them all out again. See this page here for details.

Jayde Adams - 31 | Soho Theatre | 20 Dec - 7 Jan
I forgot to mention at the top that this is something of an Edinburgh Comedy Awards themed day, mainly because when I chose them I wasn't really thinking about the fact that the three shows were all connected in that way, and it's only just made itself clear to me. Jayde Adams was nominated alongside Scott Gibson for the newcomer nod this summer, and very much won the heart of our own discerning reviewer. We already tipped this when she performed it at Soho Theatre back in November, but that was kind of a one off, and this is a longer run, so it's allowed. Head this way for details.


Why The Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo | Ovalhouse | 22-31 Dec
Oh my goodness, what could possibly go wrong with this family/7+ show? Michael Morpurgo is brilliant, whales are brilliant, and the creative team behind this is also brilliant. Here's a bit of a synopsis: "Children Gracie and Daniel have been forbidden to go near the mysterious and seemingly dangerous Birdman. But messages and clues intrigue them and, after being lost at sea in the fog and stranded on his tiny island, they begin to unravel the Birdman's secrets, the villagers' fears and superstitions and learn why the whales came to the island". Head this way to book.

Margo And Friends - Best Of The Fringe | St James Theatre | 22 Dec
Journalist/comedian Viv Groskop's 'Be More Margo' - a show about "snobbery, class, Britishness and The Good Life, fuelled entirely by gin" - did rather well at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, and this one-off follow up features a number of guests plucked from among her fellow Festival performers. Should be great fun. See the venue website here for more.

Babe, The Sheep Pig | Polka Theatre | 25 Nov-5 Feb
Oh goodness, I love Babe, and so does anyone with any sense, so if you have kids but haven't yet seen this lovely adaptation of the Dick King-Smith story, then it's time you did. Not one for small children, this, not least because it's quite long, but should offer an enchanting pre-Christmas treat for your 5-11s. See this page here for all the details.
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