As Cameron Macintosh’s Oliver! continues to pack the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, an alternative version of the Dickens classic opens at Kentish Town’s Lion and Unicorn on 30 November. The Giant Olive production promises to be truer to the grittiness of the original with its brutal Fagan a world away from Atkinson/Djalili’s portrayal. Light-hearted musical it isn’t, but if last year’s Christmas Carol at the venue is anything to go by, a genuinely thought-provoking adaptation.
Telling Tales at Chelsea
Tall Stories, the team behind the best-selling Gruffalo stage shows, is also back in London this Christmas with Something Else at the Chelsea Theatre from 1 December. Based on the Unesco award-winning picture book by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell, it’s the story of a fantastical friendship between two unusual creatures, Something and Something Else, featuring the mix of storytelling, songs and jokes that Tall Stories have made their hallmark. For three to seven-year-olds.
And in another coup, The Famous Five will be brought back to life in a brand new adaptation of their best adventures at the Tabard Theatre in Chiswick. West-end director Russell Labey (Chitty, Old Boy at the Trafalgar Studios) returns to the fringe venue alongside composer Leon Parris for a musical based on the popular Enid Blyton books. Expect ginger beer, japes a spot of danger and of course, a dog, in what promises to be a Jolly Good Show all round!
And One For The Grown-Ups!
Meanwhile Oh No It Isn’t – the latest premiere to hit Southwark’s Union Theatre– is an outrageous musical comedy fuelled by bawdy humour and the kind of steamy choreography that makes Dirty Dancing look like kiddy camp. A role-call of the characters says it all: young mum, Twirly, washed up soap-star Regina Dripcock and down-on-his-luck genie Puff Cumnightly. Not to mention a love-lorn gnome called Merkin. Running from 9 December and big on audience participation, this one’s strictly not for the kids.