Best theatre shows to book for Christmas 2019
From festive family fun to an unholy lustful nun
Recapturing Christmas magic can be a challenge when the real world keeps knocking so relentlessly on the door.
Fortunately, festive fun can still be found if you look in the right places - the Old Vic, London Coliseum and Hammersmith Apollo aren’t bad places to start.
A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic
This big-hearted production of Charles Dickens’ classic story returns to the Old Vic, adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne, the writer behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and starring Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Babylon) as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Thorne’s last run of A Christmas Carol was “like the Olympic Opening Ceremony... there are several stunning pieces of visual theatre”, says Time Out.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas - UK wide
Dr Seuss’ book How the Grinch Stole Christmas has had several on-screen iterations, the most memorable - and disturbing - of which was no doubt Ron Howard’s 2000 adaptation starring Jim Carrey in the title role.
And now the musical production is set to bring the wickedness of the Grinch and whimsy of Whoville to stages up and down the UK.
The Snowman at Peacock Theatre
You’d have to be the Grinch to be unfamiliar with the story of The Snowman and Howard Blake’s famous song, Walking In the Air.
Watch the characters of Raymond Briggs’ classic book brought to life as a young boy’s snowman leads his friend on a magical quest through the night sky.
And if by some Christmas miracle you don’t know the story, then even better - you can enjoy the adventure with a fresh sense of wonder.
“It’s a funny thing about this show,” says the Daily Express. “You just can’t wait until the next time.”
Nutcracker at the London Coliseum
Enjoy the English National Ballet’s performance at the London Coliseum, brought to life by more than 100 dancers, beautiful sets and a majestic playing of Tchaikovsky’s popular score.
One of the world’s favourite ballets, The Nutcracker encapsulates the childhood wonder of Christmas through lively choreography and theatrical enchantment.
“If you are looking for the best for your Christmas dance treat, this is it,” says the Sunday Express.
Nativity! at the Evetim Apollo
Nativity! returns to London for its third year in a row, bringing a cast of household names including Sharon Osbourne and Danny Dyer.
The funny, feel-good musical was adapted for stage by Debbie Isitt, creator of the popular Nativity! Christmas comedy films.
The Guardian called 2018’s run “infectiously enjoyable” and “certainly a family-friendly affair”.
White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre
Featuring one of the most famous festive songs (White Christmas, obviously), this merry and bright musical is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas mood.
A brilliant cast and crew - including Danny Mac and Dan Burton on stage, and Nikolai Foster and Stephen Mear behind the scenes - reprise their roles in this tale of two veterans who form a showbiz duo in the wake of the Second World War.
Fresh from an acclaimed sell-out season at Curve, Leicester, White Christmas is a “glorious excuse to drool at 1950s frocks, wallow in sentiment, delicious Irving Berlin songs and captivating dance routines”, says The Stage.
Joan of Leeds at the New Diorama
This show is guaranteed to be different from the other Christmas classics on the list. Joan of Leeds tells the story of a real English nun who, in a 14th-century Yorkshire convent, was blessed with unholy visions.
“She perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust... to the notorious peril to her soul,” wrote the Archbishop of York at the time, after Joan fled monastic life to “spread her new carnal creed”.
“The story of a nun whose scandalous carnal visions set her off on a righteous sex-positive path... Joan of Leeds is a medieval musical that's full of songs, sacrilege, and 14th-century filth,” says Time Out.