Something (slightly) more serious? Our top Christmas shows
Alongside the plethora of pantos, there are not shortage of family-friendly Christmas shows on offer for those looking for something a little more serious. Here, we round up ten of the best on offer this year
The award winning Slava's Snowshow returns to the Royal Festival Hall from 17 December 2013 to 6 January 2014, following an extensive UK tour. The show, according to press material, "combines comedy and poignancy with stunning spectacle and breathtaking images culminating in a blinding, heart-stopping blizzard of a finale."
The Royal Shakespeare Company's Christmas offering is a retelling of JM Barrie's classic tale, replete with Captain Hook, Neverland and some seriously impressive flying effects. Scripted by rising star playwright Ella Hickson and directed by Jonathan Munby, it runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from the 10 December 2013 to 2 March 2014.
The National Theatre's festive show - an adaptation of Erich Kästner's 1929 children's novel - will see the Olivier stage "transformed into 1920s Berlin". When his money is stolen on the train by a mysterious stranger, young Emil thinks he's lost everything. But as he starts tracking down the thief, he soon discovers that he's not alone in the big city after all.
Experiential theatre specialists Look Left Look Right (You Once Said Yes) are taking audiences on a journey of "intrigue and surprise" through Covent Garden this Christmas. Blending together several much-loved Christmas tales, if offers you the chance to take part in your own fairytale. Running from 18 November to 22 December, spaces are limited to 40 per night and audience members embark in pairs every seven minutes.
Bristol Old Vic stages a new version of Hans Christian Andersen's much loved amphibious tale, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Simon Godwin. The evening promises "a festive spectacular that you and your family will cherish" - just don't expect to see Sebastian the Crab singing "Under the Sea"!
It wouldn't be Christmas without Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit et al, and this staging of Dickens' festive classic at Birmingham Rep will bring them all to singing and dancing life. Directed by Tessa Walker, it runs from 27 November to 4 January and, with preview tickets starting at £2, is sure to satisfy even the meanest of festive Scrooges.
Another festive staple is the Irving Berlin-scored musical White Christmas, immortalised on screen by Bing Crosby. It's receiving several stage outings this year, including this one at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre (29 November-4 January) starring Graham Cole (The Bill), Steven Houghton (London's Burning), Wendi Peters (Coronation Street) and Rachel Stanley (Chicago).
This arena spectacular is one of the largest-scale Christmas shows around, and features X Factor star Stacey Solomon as Tinker Bell. According to press material, "Watch as Peter is elevated into the air without harnesses by an incredible wind turbine, allowing him to realistically fly on the stage." Intriguing!
Based on the much-loved Christmas film with a book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, this festive favourite centres on a department store Santa who claims to be the real thing. new touring production opens at the Beck Theatre, Hayes on 11 November before visiting Croydon, Wolverhampton, Billingham, Yeovil, Windsor, Lowestoft, Birmingham, Oxford, Norwich and Southend.
Choreographed and directed by Will Tuckett, this Royal Opera House production is in its tenth anniversary year and marks the first ever ROH transfer to the West End. Running at the Duchess Theatre, it sees Kenneth Grahame's classic retold through dance, song, music and puppetry.