Regular readers probably know full well that here at TW Towers we are big fans of comedy troupe Sleeping Trees - aka James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith and John Woodburn - and look forward each winter to talking about their now-yearly, rather different, pantomimes.

You may have been wondering if we would get to see them in action this year - I know I was - so I'm sure you'll be excited to find that they are back with another festive offering, which you can access via online means.

I arranged a quick chat with the trio, to find out more about the new Christmas show - 'Moby Dick Whittington' - and to ask how they've been getting on in lockdown.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Moby Dick Whittington' is available to view from 1-31 Dec. For more information and to arrange to screen it, see this page here.
With COVID rules changing again, we have real world shows to tip this week - though things keep shifting, so do check each venue's website for the latest information. And we are still tipping the best in digital culture from across the UK too - including online shows from performers and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


Alice In Streamingland | Phoenix Arts Club | 5 Dec-3 Jan
This is one of those weeks when we have quite a lot to get through, partly on account of the fact that shows in actual venues are starting again this week, so of course we wanted to let you know about quite a few of those. And I think the theme of this week is going to be along the lines of "Christmas is coming", so we're starting with a pantomime, though it's not one for the kids: 'Alice In Streamingland' is a "pansexual musical pantomime" that sees the titular character descending into an alternative Wonderland with a cast of characters familiar to anyone who has spent the last few months devouring box sets. See this page here for loads of info and booking link.

Cinema In The Snow | 3-20 Dec
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, to be honest, but to be frank, I know full well there's no way I am going to get one: I've had a little sledge in my cupboard that's lain unused for years and I am not really expecting that to change any time soon. Anyway, if you miss snowy times as much as I do, perhaps a little pretend snow might help? It's not the first year that Pop Up Screens have done this, though you may not have heard about it from us (we only tip cinematic events now and then), and if you haven't, here's the basic info: it's a line up of fab festive films (think 'Muppet Christmas Carol', 'Home Alone', 'It's A Wonderful Life') screened in a wintry wonderland. All happening in a socially distanced manner this time, of course, so get your tickets quickly before they run out.

Potted Panto | Garrick Theatre | 5 Dec-10 Jan (pictured)
This is also the type of thing we wouldn't often recommend, to be honest, because we tend to focus on the sort of show you see in fringier venues than the Garrick Theatre. But we first came across the work of the creatives behind this show - plus 'Potted Potter', 'Potted Pirates' and 'Potted Sherlock' - up at our beloved Edinburgh Festival Fringe, so we're disinclined to ignore it when it's on in the West End just post-lockdown. Great for a family outing, because it really will entertain the whole family, as long as your family are all aged over six. COVID restrictions apply, of course, but you can read all about that when you book your tickets here.


The Man Who Wanted To Be A Penguin | The Albany | 5-23 Dec (pictured)
Yes, you're right, that last one in the previous section could, frankly, have been in this set of tips. But I had four shows suitable for children and I wanted to use them all. And as I keep telling you, what I say goes. Just watch me wield my tipping power. Anyway, let's get on and recommend something: "This is the story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjurer and pioneering problem-solver. You'll find him pottering in his shed; planning his latest mission. He is learning to speak Penguin and hopes that you will too!" For those aged three and up, see this page here.

Christmas Tales | Chickenshed Theatre| 5-30 Dec
Woo hoo, a show with the actual word 'Christmas' in the title. It's all quite exciting. Well, it is for me, someone who always looks forward to the festive season (largely on account of the fairy lights, really) and who is kind of hoping this year's muted celebrations will somehow make up for having to stay home for most of the year. Anyway, enough of me, let's talk about 'Christmas Tales' at Chickenshed, which is - of course - the Christmassy version of their usual 'Tales From The Shed'. Expect puppets, singing, dancing and some larger-than-life characters for the delectation of your under-sevens, complemented by that extra Yule-tide sparkle. "If ever there were a year for a huge sprinkling of magic, this is the year", runs the blurb. And yes, you know I agree. Click here.

Mr Stink Christmas Edition | Chickenshed Theatre | 5 Dec-10 Jan
And yes, we are staying at Chickenshed for - that's correct - another show with Christmas in the title, a festive version of the venue's original 2018 show based on the David Walliams book. "The very kind, but lonely, twelve year old Chloe invites the homeless 'Mr Stink' to leave behind the wooden bench where he has taken up residence and secretly move into her family's shed for Christmas. Matters become more complicated when Chloe's mother - with unfulfilled political ambitions - tries to take credit for Chloe's generosity. And precisely who is Mr Stink, anyway?" More here.


Covid Arms Live From The Pleasance | 5 Dec
You may, during lockdown, have more than once experienced the joy of a Covid Arms comedy line up, which was lovely, but this week you may well get to turn up rather than tune in. For the latest show under the Covid Arms banner is taking place at the Pleasance and will feature some live acts and some who will be "streaming in". I imagine tickets to be there will sell out very quickly, so if you don't manage to book yourself in there, you can still catch the show, as it will also be live-streamed. And you should, because these shows raise money for charity and this one has what's shaping up to be a great line up. Read more about it here.

Ari Eldjárn: Pardon My Icelandic | from 2 Dec (pictured)
Here's one for you take in whenever you want in the comfort of your own home, which is nice. From 2 Dec you can see Icelandic comedian Ari Eldjárn's first ever comedy special, filmed at the National Theatre Of Iceland in 2019, and it's via Netflix, which hopefully most of you will have. What to expect? Take it away, blurb: "'Pardon My Icelandic' hilariously explores Scandinavian stereotypes and offers unique insights into fatherhood, working as a flight attendant and living in a country with a population the size of Coventry". Oh, and I've just remembered we did a Q&A about this very show a few years back, so have a read of that here and find the special here.

Big Love, Big Laughs | Comedy Store | 4-12 Dec
Another charity-supporting comedy thing for you now, courtesy of The Comedy Store. The venue's usual star studded event can't go ahead this year, like so many things, so instead they've created something of a 'greatest hits' experience from previous years' line-ups for you to access online. Big names include Tom Allen, Stephen K Amos, Ninia Benjamin, John Bishop, Jo Caulfield, Omid Djalili, Kerry Godliman, Joe Lycett, Zoe Lyons, Al Murray, Graham Norton and Seann Walsh. Book yourself in to view it here.


Spitalfields Music Festival at Home | 5 Dec
Many festivals have had to cancel or alter their plans this year and London's Spitalfields Music Festival has been reimagined as a series of digital events to be broadcast via the Spitalfields Music website. Highlights include an appearance from Dunedin Consort, one of the world's leading Baroque ensembles, which will present 'Lagrime Mie: Songs Of Prayer And Solitude', recorded at Christ Church Spitalfields, and 'Fast Food, Fast Music', which features eight short commissions by contemporary women composers. For more information on everything taking place on Saturday, see this listings page here.

Christmas at The Chiswick Playhouse | from 4 Dec
This is one definitely cooked up for the benefit of all you musical fans out there, but I dare say Christmas carol fans will be satisfied too, as a cast of West End performers serenade you with songs by Rogers & Hammerstein, Sondheim, Bernstein and Coward, alongside the likes of 'In The Bleak Midwinter' and 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem'. It's taking place Friday and Saturday nights on three weekends in the run up to Christmas, with a different cast for each weekend. To find out more about the events and who'll be performing, see this page here.

The Fabulist Fox Sister | Southwark Playhouse | 4-5 Dec (pictured)
"New York, 1892: Kate Fox, the woman who inadvertently invented séances, is holding her last one. A final audience gathers in her apartment to watch as she conjures the ghosts of her two sisters to tell the story of their lives and the religion they accidentally began". This one person musical, conceived entirely for multi-camera streaming, will be performed by Michael Conley, who co-created the piece with Luke Bateman, and is directed by Adam Lenson. "This won't be the first time he's played to an empty room, though it will be the first time it's intentional". Lol. See this page here for info and to buy tickets.


The Flying Lovers Of Vitebsk | Bristol Old Vic | 3-5 Dec
"Perhaps you've seen them floating over a Russian village? Or perhaps you've seen her toppling forward, arms full of wildflowers, as he arches above her head and steals an airborne kiss. Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall are immortalised as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life, they walked through some of the most devastating times in history". These are live performances, taking place at Bristol Old Vic, but you can watch them live from wherever you are. Book a ticket here.

The Old House | The Actors' Centre | 4-13 Dec
Another streaming theatre piece for you, written and performed by Kate Maravan, inspired by her own experiences of relating to someone with Alzheimers. "Memory, loss, mother-daughter relationships and the hokey-cokey. Revisiting The Old House, mother and daughter hang on to fragments of what they know. Beach walks, fish and chips, carnival processions, echoes of bygone summers. Memories surface, slip away. A last chance to meet each other anew. Grief, laughter, liberation". More here.

Mustard | Traverse Online Festival | 1-14 Dec
"When E meets the man of her dreams, a professional cyclist, love hits her in the pubic bone like a train. But when it ends she plummets into a black hole of heartbreak at the speed of a doped up team on the Tour de France". Finally, we've made our way back again to the Traverse Online Festival, which keeps on putting on lots of stuff we would like to see. This week our eyes were drawn (inevitably, possibly, with its bright yellow mustardy leg picture) to this award winning one woman show by Eva O'Connor about "heartbreak, madness and how condiments are the ultimate coping mechanism". Click here.
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