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Christmas shows you need to book now

There's a lot of fabulous Christmas shows you really mustn't miss out on this year

Rumpelstiltskin
© Shane Reid

There's nothing that can dampen your Christmas cheer like losing out on tickets to the big festive show. So here's a reminder that there are some excellent shows coming up, which will likely be very popular so make sure you don't miss them.



Snow White

Snow White

Here's the only pantomime you'll find on this list, because while there are plenty of pantos you should be trying to see, this one's as starry and as sought after as they come. With the newly announced Charlie Stemp and Danielle Hope joining Dawn French, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Paul Zerdin and more, it's a chance to see your favourite comedy performers don ridiculous frocks and get festive. Don't miss the chance to see it. Ages 3-plus. London Palladium, 8 December to 13 January



A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Jack Thorne's adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel was a hit last year and returns this year to the Old Vic in London. Matthew Warchus directs the production, which starred Rhys Ifans last year but this year stars Stephen Tompkinson. It's a top notch creative team and bound to deliver on all your festive needs. Ages 8-plus. Old Vic, 24 November to 19 January



The Tell Tale Heart

Tell Tale Heart

Not technically a Christmas show, anarchic theatremaker Anthony Neilson adapts and directs Edgar Allen Poe's nightmare story, putting a young playwright at its heart. As the young writer rents a room in Brighton in order to finish her debut play, her relationship with her landlady becomes increasingly suffocating. It should be a spine-chilling antidote to your usual Christmas fare. Ages 14-plus. National Theatre, 5 December to 9 January



White Christmas

Monique Young, who will be starring in White Christmas

Irving Berlin's classic festive musical is staged at Curve in Leicester with a crack West End cast including Danny Mac and Emma Williams. The show is an adaptation of the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby where two ex-army buddies team up with two sisters and put on a show to save a ski lodge. It's guaranteed to have singing, dancing and snow. Leicester Curve, 6 December to 13 January



The Snowman

The Snowman
© Herbie Knott

The classic Birmingham Repertory show returns to Sadler's Wells this year, its 21st year running. It has been around the block, then, but it's such a popular show with families that you can't just assume you'll bag a ticket. And who'd want to miss out on the eminently festive story of the Snowman, complete with "Walking in the Air"? All ages. Sadler's Wells, 22 November to 6 January



The Box of Delights

The Box of Delights

Wilton's Music Hall brings this lovely show back to the theatre, which is based on John Masefield's novel. Although it's not the premiere of, it got lovely write-ups last year and the theatre is about as Christmassy as they come. It's also not a huge auditorium, and it sold out last year, so tickets will be worth trying to pin down before they all disappear. Ages 7-plus. Wilton's Music Hall, 1 December to 6 January



A Christmas Carol

Simon Callow in A Christmas Carol
© Lauar Marie Linck

After giving this show five stars, how could we not include Simon Callow's version of A Christmas Carol on this hot ticket list. Callow knows his stuff – he's a Dickens expert – and he manages to offer a unique, one-man twist on the story. He's also a brilliant performer and so spending time in his company is always a delight. Ages 8-plus. Arts Theatre, 8 December to 12 January



Circus 1903

Circus 1903

We saw a little peek at the puppets in this piece earlier this year and we can confirm they are wondrous. Created by the team behind War Horse, the puppets are some huge elephants, which means you can experience the joy of the circus without the animal welfare concerns… Joking aside, there's much more besides to enjoy, including acrobats, contortionists jugglers and more in this European premiere. All ages. Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, 19 December to 5 January



Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin
© Shane Reid

One of the Grimm brothers' more enduring fairy tales, the story of Rumpelstilskin has just the right amount of darkness and light for a meaty, interesting Christmas for all the family. Staged here by Australian's State Theatre Company, the show offers lurid, contemporary, upbeat storytelling with music and mayhem. Ages 8-plus. Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, 6 December to 6 Jan



The Messiah

Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Hugh Dennis – star of Outnumbered – returns to the stage for the first time in a long while to play in Patrick Barlow's latest offering. Barlow is responsible for hits such as The 39 Steps and the recent Ben Hur and so this should be a hilarious riff on the usual Christmas nativity story. The Other Palace, 3 December to 5 January



Return to Elm House

Return to Elm House

Battersea Arts Centre's Christmas shows have in recent years involved work from the young audience. And this new piece is no exception. Explore the beautiful old building's nooks and crannies as the story of Jeanie Nassau Senior, a social pioneer and Britain's first female civil servant, is told. Ages 6-plus. Battersea Arts Centre, 1 to 30 December



The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Frank L Baum's original story is told on stage with music and lyrics from Harold Arlen and EY Harburg. It's one of the most iconic stories of all, with a wonderful happy ending that will be guaranteed to lift your Christmas cheer through the roof. Ages 7-plus. Birmingham Rep, 24 November to 13 January



The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch

Jill Murphy's scrappy young student witch Mildred Hubble was the focus of a series of books, before it was a TV series. Now it's going to be seen on stage, courtesy of Emma Reeves' adaptation. There'll be lots of music and, as is always the way with Mildred, more than a bit of chaos too. Ages 7-plus. Royal and Derngate, 27 November to 30 December

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