Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 8 December 2008 (previews from 28 November), the Young Vic celebrates Christmas Brazilian-style with Amazonia, a production inspired by the stories and culture of the rainforest (See News, 8 Apr 2008). The show is inspired by the life of Brazilian rubber tapper and environmental activist Chico Mendes, who was assassinated in 1988, and features local dance the Quadrilha. Until 24 January 2009.

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 4 December), Hampstead Theatre presents Anthony Clark’s musical stage adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s children’s novel The Little Prince, until 10 January.


OPENING TUESDAY, 9 December 2008 (previews from 3 December), Gregory Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet starring David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and Penny Downie transfers to the Novello, following its rep season at Stratford.

The production has created hysteria among fans eager to get a glimpse of the Doctor Who star on stage. The RSC had to impose stage door restrictions at the Courtyard in Stratford (See News, 5 Aug 2008), and the Novello saw queues round the block when tickets first went on sale. It runs to 10 January 2009.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 2 December), Edward Scissorhands, devised by Matthew Bourne from the Tim Burton’s film starring Johnny Depp, opens at Sadler’s Wells following an international tour, with all tickets booked before Christmas ‘slashed’ by 15% in the wake of the recent VAT cut (See The Goss, 2 Dec 2008). Until 18 January.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, American comedy actress Abi Roberts brings her one-woman show Abi Roberts Is Beached to the Basement, Leicester Square Theatre, for a short run to 21 December.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 10 December 2008 (previews from 5 December), the Donmar West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre continues with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, starring Derek Jacobi as Malvolio and directed by Michael Grandage. The play tells of Viola who, shipwrecked and fearing her twin brother dead, is swept onto the shores of Illyria. Disguising herself as a boy, she takes a post in the Duke's court and, on his behalf, attempts to woo his loved one, the Lady Olivia. Until 7 March 2009.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, cabaret performer Christopher Green brings his musical star-turned-rapper Ida Barr to the Barbican Pit in Ida Barr - So this is Christmas, which has a limited season to 23 December 2008.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Madame Zingara and Her Theatre of Dreams, billed as a “dinner theater cirque spectacular” opens in a marquee at Battersea Power Station. Until 7 March 2009.


OPENING FRIDAY, 12 December 2008, Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girlys perform A Burlesque Christmas Extravaganza at Leicester Square Theatre, until 19 December.


OPENING SUNDAY, 14 December 2008, Christmas with the Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas plays at the London Palladium for three Sundays only, celebrating the talents of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin with seasonal classics including “Silent Night”, “Merry Little Christmas”, “Baby It's Cold Outside” and “White Christmas”.

- by Theo Bosanquet