Updated: Nov 26
Ohh, the utter joy of a theatre full of kids. We went to our first press night last night and excitement was palpable. Most of these haven't opened yet but we will add our verdicts as we see them, so check back or follow us on insta.
The Bolds Unicorn Theatre to 30 Dec
Adapted for the stage from his own books by Julian Clary. The Bolds are pretty much like everyone else, except for one important difference, they are hyenas! The story is slight but the musical numbers are excellent, the cast strong (with special mention to Sam Pay as a Scottish baddie with a secret) and Mrs Bold's outfits a retro joy. The group of KS1 kids on press night were finding Mr Bold's string of cracker jokes hugely funny and the whole show is full of heart. There are even Christmas jumpers at the end. Charming. Ages 6+.
There May be A Castle Little Angel Theatre to 23 Jan
Piers Torday is a magician of imaginative writing and the Little Angel Theatre are puppet master crafters. Let them tell you about this show about love, loss and the power of imagination. Click here. Ages 7+. Younger kids should check out the enchanting Storm Whale.
Wolf Witch Giant Fairy Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre 10 Dec–3 Jan
Billed as a 'wild folk opera of music, mischief and magic', this runs for just over an hour without an interval and is suitable for ages 5+. Best availability in Christmas week.
Hex National Theatre, Olivier, 4 Dec–22 Jan
The National's artistic director Rufus Norris wrote and directed a gloriously dark Sleeping Beauty at the Young Vic in 2002 and he is back almost twenty years later with a musical take on the tale that (as in his previous adaptation) doesn't stop with the kiss that wakes Beauty up. The blurb promises a 'mythical, big hearted musical' - the rehearsal snaps look intriguing! In the Olivier so lots of room but tickets are selling fast. Ages 8+.
A Christmas Carol Old Vic 18 Nov–8 Jan
We have seen Rhys Ifans and Andrew Lincoln take on Scrooge. This year it's the turn of Stephen Mangan. If you haven't seen it, go! It is a magical, moving Christmas treat. Ages 8+.
Circus1903 Southbank Centre 16 Dec–2 Jan
We have taken all ages to this wonderful celebration of the Big Top and although the minimum age is 3+, our teens loved it too.
Also on at the Southbank is Bring it On:the Musical (8 Dec–22 Jan). Cult cheerleader chickflick gets the musical treatment with gymnast (and Strictly star) Louis Smith backflipping his way into Christmas. Ages 10+.
Beauty and the Beast Rose Theatre Kingston 3 Dec–3 Jan
NOT a panto, this new production from the always-excellent Rose Youth Theatre promises a mix of songs, heart-warming characterisation and a touch of magic. Ages 5+.
Love them or hate them (and Emily once went to three in 24 hours!), we reckon these three are the best of the 'local' pantos. All are running until 2 Jan.
Jack and the Beanstalk Hackney Empire
Aladdin Lyric Hammersmith
The Queen of Hearts Greenwich Theatre
West End Outings for older kids (not just for Christmas!)
The Life of Pi Wyndhams Theatre
We simply cannot wait for the Pandemic-delayed West End run for this extraordinary book. Previewing at the moment, press night is 2 Dec. Good availability.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Duke of Yorks
We haven't seen this since it moved to the West End but we caught it at the the National and WOW, it is fantastic. Ages 12+.
Six Vaudeville Theatre
Learn your Tudors with this musical romp from the perspective of Henry's wives. Great fun. Ages 10+.
Got an English A Level student? These are for you.
The Wife of Willesden Kiln Theatre to 15 Jan
There is very limited availability for Zadie Smith's first play, a raucous, NW London take on Chaucer's Wife of Bath.
Four Quartets Harold Pinter Theatre to 18 Dec
Ralph Fiennes' one man show is only for die-hard fans but if you are studying Elliot, this should be top of your list. Expensive.
Emily Turner, 25 November 2021