Rhys Ifans as Scrooge, La Soirée and The Jungle Book in our week's top openings

A herd of goats begin their spell at the Royal Court, while ”The Jungle Book” begins a UK tour

Greg Hicks (Father), Lindsey Campbell (Daughter), Crispin Letts (Uncle), Ralph Davis (Son) in The Open House
Greg Hicks (Father), Lindsey Campbell (Daughter), Crispin Letts (Uncle), Ralph Davis (Son) in The Open House
© Simon Annand

5. The Open House

Theatre Royal Bath, until 23 December

Greg Hicks reunites with director and former RSC boss Michael Boyd in the UK premiere of Will Eno's The Open House, an intimate look at a fractious family celebration. Hicks stars alongside Teresa Banham in the production, with the pair playing two parents seemingly at war with one another and unwilling to confess what has happened to their pet dog. The show will transfer to London early next year for a run at the the Print Room in Notting Hill.

See the cast of The Open House in rehearsals

The cast of The Jungle Book in rehearsals
The cast of The Jungle Book in rehearsals
© Manuel Harlan

4. The Jungle Book

Royal and Derngate, until 31 December, then UK tour

Director Max Webster, who wowed audiences of all ages with his production of The Lorax last month, hits the road with Jessica Swale's new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, with music by Joe Stilgoe. From the pictures we've seen of rehearsals, the show looks like it's going to be an epic retelling of the classic tale, and will move to Chichester in January, going on to tour the UK during the new year.

Read The Jungle Book's tour announcement here

3. Goats

Royal Court, until 30 December

They say never work with children or animals, so the Royal Court did the exact opposite and put a herd of kids onstage in the UK premiere of Syrian writer Liwaa Yazji's play Goats. Directed by Royal Court regular Hamish Pirie, the show tackles the fallout of conflict in Syrian towns, where grieving families are fed propaganda and compensated with livestock.

Read our interview with Yazji

Lea Hinz on Arial Hoop
Lea Hinz on Arial Hoop
© SweetLips

2. La Soirée

Aldwych Theatre, until 3 February

La Soirée has been a firm festive fixture for the past few years, running on the South Bank, in Leicester Square and now, for the first time, has moved into a West End venue. Debuting new acts and transforming the Aldwych into an in-the-round configuration, this is the sort of seasonal shindig to chase away the winter blues.

See a week in the life of La Soirée

Rhys Ifans rehearsing for A Christmas Carol
Rhys Ifans rehearsing for A Christmas Carol
© Manuel Harlan

1. A Christmas Carol

The Old Vic, until 20 January

Rhys Ifans returns to The Old Vic after playing the Fool in last year's production of King Lear. This time he trades japes for gloomy scowls as he assumes the mantle of Ebenezer Scrooge, Dickens' famous Christmas killjoy. The Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne adapts the tale, which has direction by Old Vic artistic director Matthew Warchus. Expect both humming and bugging.

See the full casting announced for a A Christmas Carol