Amongst the major openings in London in the week before Christmas are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 18 December 2006 (previews from 16 December), adult cabaret troupe Duckie brings its new interactive Christmas show, The Class Club to the Barbican Pit for a limited season to 7 January 2007. A festive meal is included in the ticket price.

OPENING THURSDAY, 21 December 2006, Indian musical The Merchants of Bollywood comes to Hammersmith Apollo for a limited Christmas season to 7 January 2007 (See News, 6 Jul 2006). Featuring original music by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant and choreographed by leading film choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant, on whose life the story is based, the piece follows the clash of generations and ambition among Bollywood stars. It’s described as “a potent mixture of dreams and sacrifices, family rebellion and romance”.

Following a successful tour in Australia, The Merchants of Bollywood received its UK premiere at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre on 24 October 2006 and then toured to Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Bradford, Cambridge, Cardiff before transferring to London. The production is performed by a cast of 40 dancers, singers, actors and musicians direct from Film City Mumbai, and is presented in the UK by Harvey Goldsmith, the man behind the Live Aid and Live8 concerts.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, the touring production of Richard O’Brien’s cult rock ‘n’ roll musical The Rocky Horror Show returns to London for another limited West End season (See News, 21 Nov 2006), this time at the Comedy Theatre, where it continues until 27 January 2007 (it ran for three weeks at the Playhouse in July). The production, directed by Christopher Luscombe, is led by David Bedella as Frank N Furter and former Hear’Say band member Suzanne Shaw as Janet. During its new West End run, the guest star narrators are “Corrie Killer” Brian Capron, The League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton and DJ Danny Baker (See News, 6 Dec 2006).

** DON’T MISS the chance to see The Rocky Horror Show in the West End for half-price, only £21.25 – offer ends 27 January 2006 - click here for more details! **

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Grimms - The Final Chapter, a selection of dark and funny fairytales from around the world, opens at Trafalgar Studio 2 (See News, 9 Aug 2006). The production from Horla, whose Christmas Carol was at Trafalgar Studios last Christmas. Grimms continues until 6 January 2007.

OPENING FRIDAY, 22 December 2006 (previews from 20 December), Gilbert and Sullivan's 1880 operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, in which Frederic, a slave to duty, thinks he has finally completed his apprenticeship to a band of pirates when he turns 21. However, his attempts to follow a more honourable profession are scuppered when he realises he was born on February 29 of a leap year - and thus his apprenticeship has many, many more years to run. The score includes “Poor Wandering One”, “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”, “The Sergeant of Police” and “Policeman's Chorus”. Adapted and directed by Chris Monks, the production’s cast includes Stephen Carlile, Alan McMahon and Craig Purnell.

- by Terri Paddock