Best festive theatre gigs

November 10, 2010

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose… yes, Christmas is everywhere, and it’s only the start of November. I usually get excited about the festive season towards the end of this month, but if you’re a theatre fan you might want to think ahead and book in some wintry treats over December. Here are my pick of the London’s festive delights this year…

*The Waterloo East theatre have three fabulous gigs booked in, starting on 5th December with former Glinda-standby Annalene Beechey and Glyn Kerslake (recently in Assasins at the Union) singing duets and solos with a few Christmas numbers sprinkled in. Another treat on the 12th December is Rebecca Caine (of Les Mis and Phantom) and guests, in a sumptous soprano cabaret including current West End Christine Gina Beck. The last in the series is Hadley Fraser and friends on the 19th. Hadley recently appeared (and shone) as Grantaire in the O2 Les Mis concert, and will be singing with guests such as Stuart Matthew Price and Sophie Smith. His Sheytoons bandmate Ramin Karimloo recently described Fraser as ‘the best voice in theatre.’

*For a more booze-laced Christmas gig, head to Freedom on the 12th December for Festive Fever, a cabaret starring Les Mis‘s Chloe Hart, Spring Awakening‘s Charlotte Wakefield and We Will Rock You‘s Ian Carlyle among others. The company will entertain with Christmas tunes while the crowd enjoy mince pies and mulled wine. Yum.

*Christmas in New York was one of the highlights of my festive season last year. I spent a whole CiNY-themed day with a good friend, getting red-cup Starbucks, browsing the South Bank’s Christmas markets and grabbing a very NYC meal at Ed’s Diner before seeing a sensational line-up (Julie Atherton, Rachael Wooding, Oliver Tompsett) perform contemporary and classic yuletide songs. This year’s company is yet to be announced, but I really hope to be at this year’s CiNY as it really is a quality show, with both funny and emotive songs, beautiful staging and, last year, a brilliant ensemble from Arts Ed.

Christmas in New York

Last year's programme

*If you fancy some swing with your tinsel, head to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to catch Frank, Dean and Sammy in action. Christmas with the Rat Pack is a one-off, two-date performance from the cast of the Olivier-nominated show The Rat Pack, starting December 19th. The trio will work through all the favourites, including I’ve Got You Under my Skin, New York, New York and Mr Bojangles.

*While you’re supping your mulled wine and filling your ears with musical bliss, you may also want to support a good cause. Theatre MAD (part of the Make a Difference Trust) are putting on A West End Christmas, hosted by Gaby Roslin and also hoping to tempt the crowds with mince pies and vino. Previous WEC shows have featured Jessie Wallace, Never Forget/Les Mis‘s Scott Garnham and the wonderful West End Gospel Choir. The angelic way to celebrate a proper West End Christmas.

Leicester Square

A very West End Christmas

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