You may be aware of the work of producing company SharkLegs, given the recent high profile success of one of their shows, 'The Inevitable Heartbreak Of Gavin Plimsole', which took edfringe by storm in 2016.

Their latest play, a show for children and families with a lovely Christmassy theme, begins a run at Greenwich Theatre to this week. To find out more, I spoke to creators Kezia Cole and Richard Hay. Read the interview here.

'Snow-Pocalypse - Friendship Never Melts' is on at Greenwich Theatre from 8-30 Dec. For all the details and to book click here.

Last time we spoke to Upswing founder Vicki Amedume it was about 'Bedtime Stories', a dreamy show for children told through acrobatics and visual projections. It was great to hear that a new show from the company will be on at Stratford Circus Arts Centre in the run up to Christmas, a fabulous-looking winter treat for families.

I reconnected with Vicki, to find out more about 'The Ramshackle House'. Read the interview here.

'The Ramshackle House' is on at Stratford Circus Arts Centre until 24 Dec. For more information and to book tickets, see this page here.


The Bearpit | Camden People's Theatre | 8-9 Dec (pictured)
"Publicly Flora and Nic are the perfect couple. Privately, they haven't spoken to each other in months. As the glaciers melt and the rain begins to fall, they've got one night to settle the scores. One of them is going to crack". This story of a crumbling relationship appears to be a metaphor for the state of the UK, polarised by economic, geographical and social divides. Should be interesting, see this page here for info and to book.

A Night Of Small Things | Old Red Lion Theatre | 7-9 Dec
Small Things Theatre presents its fifth 'Night Of Small Things', a variety night offering a showcase for up and coming poets, playwrights, performers, musicians and comedians. Expect a high quality pot-pourri of "stand ups, intimate musical sets, pint sized sections of poetry and short gems of theatrical brilliance". Just my dab, and I bet you'll be interested too, see this page here for more.

Rob Kemp - The Elvis Dead | Soho Theatre | dates eclectic
It's been on since mid-November so you might have seen it already, but if you haven't, it's time. This Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer nominated show was a bit of a hit up at the Edinburgh Festival this summer and no wonder, as it's the sort of weird and wonderful concept that tends to go down a storm come Fringe-time. In brief: it's a solo telling of eighties horror film 'The Evil Dead II', set to songs by Elvis Presley. Yes, that's right, you know you want to, step right this way.


A Christmas Carol | Christmas At Leicester Square | 8-30 Dec
It is a truth, universally acknowledged (well, by me) that pretty much any adaption of 'A Christmas Carol' that is staged in London during the festive season will end up in amongst our tips at some point, even if it's only vaguely and tenuously related to Dickens' classic winter tale. This is one with a twist, from the brilliantly comical troupe Fitzrovia Radio Hour, who reimagine it as a 1940s radio Christmas special. Hurrah, see this page here for details.

Parliament Square | Bush Theatre | 1 Dec-6 Jan
"Kat gets up one morning, leaves her family behind and travels to London to carry out an act that will change her life and, she hopes, everyone else's. For those it touches, their lives will never be the same. But what, in the end, are the real consequences of her actions?" This play by James Fritz won the Judges' Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, and asks questions about what one person can do to make a difference, and where we draw the line between intense commitment to a cause, and obsession. For info and to book, head this way.

Snow-Pocalypse - Friendship Never Melts | Greenwich Theatre | 8-30 Dec (pictured)
A silly and funny family show about the last two people in the world, who find the last book in the world, and through it learn of a thing they didn't previously know about, called 'Christmas'. Help from the audience is essential in creating their own Yuletide celebrations from scratch, and that starts with a pre-show craft workshop in which children can create treasures from discarded bric-a-brac to be used in the play. I think this will be fab, see this page here for more.


Winterreise | The Cockpit | 10-11 Dec
Franz Schubert's winter themed song cycle featuring songs of love and loss based on poems by Wilhelm Müller, performed by acclaimed tenor Norbert Meyn and pianist and producer Alisdair Kitchen. Not the cheeriest thing to select, I suppose, for your pre-Christmas season, but it's really, really beautiful, and might prove a really lovely calming thing to take in when you're completely frazzled from having to shop and think about Christmas. Book your tickets here.

Scrooge And The Seven Dwarves | Theatre503 | 6 Dec-6 Jan (pictured)
What did I say yesterday about shows involving Scrooge? Never knowingly not tipped by ThisWeek. But even if that weren't the case, this is Sleeping Trees' annual Christmas show, which I think we class as a pantomime, though it won't be the traditional kind. Anyway, this will be great for a family outing, anyone of any age will enjoy it, and you'd better hurry, because I reckon tickets will be selling at pretty high speed. Rush this way for yours.

Cosmic Superheroes | Conway Hall | 8 Dec-31 Jan
I love the sound of this photographic exhibition, presented by Robin Ince and Trent Burton's Cosmic Shambles Network, described as a "celebration of the superpowers it has taken for women at the forefront of the worlds of Arts and Science to establish themselves as superheroes in their individual fields". Subjects include writer and comedian Josie Long, physicist Helen Czerski, poet Salena Godden, archeologist Brenna Hassett, social activist Nimco Ali, folk-singer and songwriter Grace Petrie, and more. See this page here for info.


Spencer Jones - The Audition | Soho Theatre | 11 Dec-6 Jan
TW favourite Spencer Jones returns to Soho Theatre for a number of dates over the festive period and now he's got even more credits to put at the bottom of his blurb, as he won a nomination for the big Edinburgh Comedy Award at the most recent edfringe. This, of course, is the show that provoked said nomination, so I am pretty sure you'll all be keen to get your hands on a ticket. Head this way to book your dose of hilarious prop and character comedy.

All That Malarkey | King's Head Theatre | 11 + 18 Dec (pictured)
It's a while since we last saw this lot in action up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but what we saw was an extraordinarily entertaining show, so now I am feeling rather regretful that we have not taken in one of their more recent performances. At the most recent edfringe, for example. How lucky it is, then, that they're poised to rock up at the King's Head Theatre to bestow their brilliant brand of operatic cabaret on North London? Expect a seasonally themed collection of pop, R'n'B, jazz, carols and musical theatre, classical reimaginings of contemporary favourites, and sketch mash-ups. See this page here for info.

Lucy McCormick - Triple Threat | Soho Theatre | 11-16 Dec
Aaaaaand another favourite that we first met through Edinburgh (it's a bit of a theme today, as it turns out), back at Soho Theatre for one week only. This much acclaimed show is a darkly funny retelling of the New Testament in three acts, with Lucy McCormick in the main roles, which features dance, power ballads and absurdist art, and when our reviewer saw it in 2016 she declared the performers to be "seriously talented" and the show "unmissable". So what are you waiting for? All the details are here.


The Female Gaze and Other Stories - Collection 2017 | The Cockpit | 12 Dec
Rich Creative's sell-out feminist scratch night returns to showcase the work of four new writing talents, each covering a different and interesting subject. 'It' by Annabelle Rich studies the relationship between a young woman and her eating disorder; 'Chitta Vritti' by Francesca Tennant makes humorous points about mindfulness as central character Nat tries to find balance in her life; 'A-Sexual-Being' by Sophie Ablett depicts two girls with very different perspectives on sex as they create an unlikely relationship; finally, 'The Circle' by Emily Renée examines the effects of rape on a loving couple. For all the details, see this page here.

Beauty And The Beast | King's Head Theatre | 11 Dec-6 Jan
A gender-flipped parody of the beastly tale, a new musical, brought to you by Fat Rascal Theatre and performed by a cast of five and an onstage musician: "She's grotesque. A possessive beast of a woman, to be sure. But look on the bright side, Beau: she's got a lovely personality. Somewhere. Under all the fur". This sounds like promisingly festive fun, head this way for all the information.

Man On The Moon | Camden People's Theatre | 12-13 Dec (pictured)
"Keisha communicates with her reclusive dad through books, letters and symbols. But when the letters stop coming she is forced to venture into his world. This truth-infused narrative sees the protagonist follow a trail of breadcrumbs that lead her a number of check-points: cultural displacement, religious confusions, political paranoia, misplaced masculinity and more". Keisha Thompson presents this acclaimed piece that explores the effect that mental health issues can have on a family, specifically within the context of the Black British experience. See this page here for more.


Jayde Adams - Jayded | Soho Theatre | 11-16 Dec (pictured)
Oh, I don't know, you might already have booked your tickets because this woman has an award CV as long as my arm (and my arms are overly long, a bit like a gorilla), and you all probably know how great she is. If you don't, be warned that she's brilliant and hilarious, and will in this show be addressing the theme of popularity, and what its like when you struggle to fit in. And if anyone can make that funny, you'd better believe that she can. See this page here for more.

Breaking The Ice | Ovalhouse | 13-23 Dec
This week really are approaching peak children's Christmas show time in London, and to reflect that, I accidentally selected two different pre-Yule treats for your small ones on one day. We start with this fab show for a younger age group - it's recommended for children aged 2-6 - which tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a wild polar bear and a husky dog. We've tipped it before and I'd tip it again. See the venue website here for all the details.

Ugly Duckling | The Albany | 4-31 Dec
And so to our second recommendation for the youth of today. A traditional tale that they are probably already familiar with, brought to life in a physical performance accompanied by live music. As you'd expect, the company behind the show focus on the themes of the importance of identity and self-worth, taking the viewer on a "journey to discover inner beauty". Click herefor info and to book.


We've Got Each Other | Camden People's Theatre | 14-16 Dec
"With the modern jukebox musical traditionally comes a multi-talented cast, a live band (or orchestra if you are lucky), opulent sets and decadent costumes, extravagant dance routines, dramatic key changes and the odd hydraulic lift or two. 'We've Got Each Other' has none of these things (they cost a lot of money), but Paul still tries to create this all singing, all dancing spectacle using the powers of your imaginations". Paul O'Donnell's "imagined Bon Jovi musical" which invites the audience to help complete the story sounds fun. Click here for more.

Thark | Drayton Arms Theatre | 12 Dec-6 Jan
I like farce and I am also a bit of a sucker for anything set (or indeed, written) in the 1920s or thereabouts, and that's why this jumped out at me: Ben Travers' 1927 play 'Thark', about Mayfair-based Sir Hector Benbow, his attempts to spend time with an attractive lady without his wife finding out, and an investigation into whether his home is haunted. I am primed to expect something entirely frothy and full of witty dialogue. See the venue website here for details.

Great Expectations | Old Red Lion Theatre | 12 Dec-3 Jan (pictured)
A version of the Dickens tale, reflecting all the themes of the novel, but set in an entirely different time. In this contemporary adaptation Pip is a boy from a council estate who has no money and little hope for the future, whose single mother is a police officer struggling to provide for the both of them. The rest of the familiar characters turn up, some in slightly modified form - 'Magwycz', Estella and Miss Havisham - as Pip makes his way towards big city success. More information right about here.
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