Festive Family Shows to see this Christmas


The Nutcracker, English National Ballet,  The Coliseum

15 December – 8 January (family performance 7 January 2.30pm)

The Nutcracker is, for me, the ultimate Christmas show. I used to perform in the English National Ballet’s production at The Coliseum every winter, with a very small but special role singing in the snowflake chorus. So when I can I try to see the show, and this year I’m excited to be seeing it for the first time with my older son. Theatre designed for kids is great, but there is something extra special about seeing children enthralled by classic culture that they can continue to enjoy for years to come, and I hope an annual trip to see The Nutcracker will become a festive staple for my family. With the familiar twinkling music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Wayne Eagling and design by Peter Farmer it is a stellar production that should not be missed. Children 5+ can see any show but book for 7 January for younger kids.

The Snowman, Peacock Theatre

19 November – 31 December (all ages)

A magical show that is just as captivating for the adults as the children. The Peacock Theatre is once again hosting this classic much-loved picture book by Raymond Briggs, with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre bringing it to life on stage. The audience will be transported to a joyful winter wonderland where a young boy meets a snowman who comes to life. Children of all ages will love the spectacle of this show which features a live orchestra, spectacular design by Ruari Murchison, magical lighting by Tim Mitchell, and amazing choreography by Robert North.


Jack and the Beanstalk, The Lyric Theatre

19 November – 7 January (ages 6+)

The Lyric Theatre are bringing this familiar tale of Jack and his magical beanstalk to life with a colourful and exciting pantomime just in time for the festive season. Expect to see outrageous outfits, great music and audience participation in this brilliant festive show. Written by Jude Christian & Sonia Jalaly and directed by Nicholai La Barrie.

Elf the musical

Elf the Musical, Dominion Theatre

14 November – 7 January (ages 5+)

This staple Christmas film is on stage for a limited run of only 8 weeks at the Dominion Theatre in central London. I recommend having a festive day out in London seeing all the decorations before settling down for the ultimate Christmas show, Elf. The brilliant tale of Buddy, the unlikely elf, as he makes the journey from his home in the North Pole to New York in search of his real father, causing lots of mischief and mayhem while also spreading some much needed Christmas cheer to Manhattan.

Crackers: a Festive Family Farce, Polka Theatre

19 November – 15 January (all ages)

The recently refurbished Polka Theatre is one of best places in London to see family-focussed theatre. They have a whole programme of holiday shows, but Crackers is perhaps the most Christmassy. Written by award-winning playwright Charles Way, this story documents the trials and tribulations of the Crackers family as they get ready for Christmas Day, with a lot of fun and silliness along the way.


Stickman, Leicester Square Theatre

22 October – 2 January (all ages)

A charming adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stickman story. Following the adventures of Stickman as he meets animals, gets set on fire and then tries to find his way back to the family tree. This award-winning production is from the team behind Zog, Zog and the Flying Doctors,  Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, and Tabby McTat. The show features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.

Three New Musicals to See in London

I’ve spent the first few months of 2019 catching up on the new musicals showing on the West End. The start of 2019 saw many of the best hits from Broadway come over for a season in Britain, and I’ve rounded up my three favourites to book for a fun night out…

come from away

Come From Away – A touching true tale which documents the stories of the passengers from the diverted planes, who landed in Newfoundland after the 9/11 catastrophe. The music and lyrics are by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and the characters are based on real Gander residents as well as some of the 7,000 stranded travellers they housed and fed. The musical is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no interval and is an emotional and uplifting show that engrossed me from the first note to the last.


Waitress – The broadway smash hit Waitress premiered on London’s West End at the Adelphi Theatre in February 2019. It is the first ever musical on the West End to be written, composed, directed and choreographed by women. The narrative follows Jenna (played by Smash’s lead Katharine McPhee), a waitress and expert pie-maker, who is trying to escape small town life and an abusive marriage. The set and score are fun with a vintage American charm.

9 to 5

9 to 5 – The 9 to 5 Musical by Patricia Resnick is based on the 1980 musical of the same name with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The musical premiered in LA in September 2008 and opened last month at The Savoy Theatre on the Strand. Dolly herself flew to London for the Gala show to celebrate with the all star cast – starring Louise Redknapp, Caroline Sheen, Amber Davies, Natalie McQueen, Bonnie Langford and Brian Conley. The story is slightly bizaare, but if you can overlook this you’ll enjoy the upbeat songs sung by a very talented cast.

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet

A growing Christmas tree, a floating hot air balloon, hurrying ice-skaters, mean rats, dancing snowflakes, a heroic nutcracker… Tchaikovsky’s magical ballet is the ultimate Christmas show, always elegant and wonderfully imaginative. Slump into a comfortable velvet Coliseum seat and let the immaculate dancing and mesmerising set entertain you.


The orchestra brings a new energy to this familiar score, conducted by a confident Gerry Cornelius. The narrative is slightly overcomplicated by the part-sharing and splitting: James Forbat dances as the masked Nutcracker, whilst Francesco Gabriele Frola dances him unmasked as well as taking on the role of the Drosselmeyer’s nephew; meanwhile grown-up Clara (Alina Cojocaru) also dances as the ethereal Sugar Plum Fairy. At least the dancers seem to know what they are doing and seamlessly float from scene to scene, excelling in Wayne Eagling’s virtuosic choreography.

The lead couple complement each other, and move effortlessly in the main sequences. While Daniel Kraus is fantastically gruesome as the shudderingly menacing King Rat. It is Eagling’s ensemble dances which really shine in this production, the pretty snowflake chorus and the second act Waltz of the Flowers highlights the English National Ballet talent.

The Tring Park School kids are a joy on stage. Assured and adorable, they animate the production, and dance and sing with an excited spring in their step.

Another magical production of the Nutcracker at the Coliseum… this show always completes my Christmas festivities.

Continues until 30 December 2018. More information and book tickets to the Nutcracker here.