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Scrooge the Musical and Everybody's Talking About Jamie in our top openings of the week

This week also marks the official opening of two of the best pantomimes in all the land

Rehearsals for The Secret Theatre
© Marc Brenner

5. The Secret Theatre

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 21 November to 16 December

Playwright Anders Lustgarten takes the dark figure of Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Elizabeth I, as the inspiration for his brand new thriller, to be performed in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The fabulous Matthew Dunster - who was the man behind the main space's Much Ado About Nothing and Imogen - directs. And what more to tantilise you ahead of its opening this week than a note to say the production will feature scenes of 'gory and often brutal violence' in its faithful portrayal of Elizabethan-era espionage and torture. Not one for kids then, or the faint-hearted.

Read our casting story on The Secret Theatre.

Rehearsals for Bad Roads
© Helen Murray 2017

4. Bad Roads

Royal Court until 23 December

The Royal Court begins a clutch of exciting international work with Bad Roads by Ukrainian writer Natal'ya Vorozhbit. The play is set in Ukraine during wartime and focuses on how conflict affects the personal relationships of women. The show is directed by Vicky Featherstone and is informed by Vorozhbit's own experiences of the war in the Donbass region of east Ukraine, where she took testimony from protesters on Maidan Square.

Read more about the Royal Court's new season here.

Jasper Britton rehearsing Scrooge
© Manuel Harlan

3. Scrooge the Musical

Leicester Curve until 7 January

Leslie Bricusse's musical gets an outing at Leicester's Curve Theatre as part of the venue's Christmas offering. This family show adds a touch of musical theatre razzamataz to Charles Dicken's classic festive story and knowing the Curve's track record with musicals, this will likely be a total treat. Jasper Britton plays Scrooge in the ensemble cast, which also includes Anton Stephans and Sharan Phull.

Read our interview with Jasper Britton on playing Scrooge.

The cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie
© Johan Persson

2. Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Apollo Theatre until 21 April 2018

Arriving in the West End following a much-heralded premiere in Sheffield is this brand new musical from Dan Gillespie Sells, based on the true life-story of a teenager who just wanted to become a drag queen. Reviews from the Crucible run were very positive and there have been some slight jiggles to the West End version, with two new songs added. It's sure to be an absolute blast of a show that tells a charming, upbeat, hilarious tale for our times.

Meet the original Jamie and mum Margaret who inspired Everybody's Talking About Jamie.

Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk

1. Christmas shows

Jack and the Beanstalk, Lyric Hammersmith until 6 January & Cinderella, Hackney Empire until 31 December

It's that time of year again, oh yes it is. What with two of the UK's, let alone London's, best pantomimes opening in the same week, it officially feels like the week for Christmas kick off. So here's two for the price of one because we just couldn't choose between them. In the past, both the Lyric Hammersmith and Hackney Empire's pantomimes have absolutely been worth watching and there's no reason why they will be different this year. Their quirky, dynamic, hilarious, off-beat versions of staple Christmas fodder are bound to delight and surprise.

Head to our dedicated Christmas and pantomime page.