2:36 PM November 12, 2021
From acrobatic fairytales to toe-tapping Five Guys, and traditional pantomime – we look ahead to the top festive family entertainment in North London’s theatres.
‘Cratchit’ at Park Theatre, Finsbury Park
– Credit: Courtesy of Park Theatre
After playing Bob Cratchit at the Old Vic, Olivier Award-winner John Dalgleish reprises the role in a dark retelling of A Christmas Carol which sees Dickens’ redemptive tale from the perspective of Scrooge’s underpaid clerk. Streamed last year, Cratchit receives its live premiere at Park Theatre. As a hard frost descends on London, Bob gets his own visit from the spirits of Christmas who show him a bleak future of inequality and injustice. December 7 to Jan 8.
Beowulf An Epic Panto, King’s Head Theatre, Islington
– Credit: Courtesy of Charles Court Opera
Charles Court Opera’s ’boutique panto’ promises a wickedly entertaining festive makeover of the Old English saga. Back once again at the Upper Street venue, expect raucous, irreverent slapstick fun with Beowulf, Grendel, Grendel’s mother and a maelstrom of fantastical characters, coupled with musical numbers delivered by a talented cast. With adult only performances and children’s matinees it’s set to be the chamber opera company’s biggest panto yet. November 26 to January 8.
A Christmas Carol, Alexandra Palace Theatre, Muswell Hill
– Credit: Manuel Harlan
Sherlock and League of Gentleman star Mark Gattis retells his favourite childhood tale and gets to crack out the ghostly face paint as Jacob Marley. Focusing on the ghost story at the heart of Dickens’ classic, he promises “a scary, thrilling, joyous adventure to get the blood piping on a freezing winter’s night. A Victorian phantasmagoria!” Featuring special effects galore and Nicholas Farrell as Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s staged in Ally Pally’s suitably atmospheric Victorian theatre. November 26 to January 9.
Sleeping Beauty at Hoxton Hall
– Credit: Courtesy Hoxton Hall
Hoxton are thrilled to be back with their annual panto. This year, Imagine Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty features Danny Charles as outrageous dame Nala, Eloise Lord as dashing Prince Emir, and Adrien Spencer as Princess Beauty. Expect tons of adventure, booing and hissing for Eleanor Burke’s evil Carabosse and bags of slapstick fun from Chester The Jester in a family friendly panto. December 10-24
Five Guys Named Moe, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate
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It’s not a panto, but Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award winning show featuring the hits of jazz legend Louis Jordan marks a welcome return for the Gatehouse’s annual musical. With a reputation for delivering West End standards above a Highgate pub, expect brilliant choreography and toe tapping hits such as Saturday Night Fish Fry, Safe Sane and Single, and Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby sung by West End performers. It’s all wrapped in a story about a penniless dumped guy who finds solace in a quintet of guys who come out of his radio. December 15 to January 16.
A Christmas Circus Fairytale Jacksons Lane, Highgate
Highgate’s home for contemporary circus stages an acrobatic spectacular featuring a second look through the magic mirror at traditional fairytales for ages 3 and up. There are glass slippers, magic lamps and poisoned apples but did the princess need rescuing and was the witch all that wicked? Stories are – literally – turned on their head as characters step out of the storybook to dance in the air, fly across the stage and dazzle with fantastic feats. December 17 to January 2.
Jack and The Beanstalk, Hackney Empire
– Credit: Courtesy of Hackney Empire
The Empire’s regular stars Clive Rowe and Tony Whittle co-direct and perform in Hackney’s budget-busting family friendly spectacular. Rowe will be milking the laughs as Jack’s ma Dame Trot, and Whittle is Councillor Higginbottom alongside the usual shenanigans with cows, magic beans and scary giants. Expect eye popping sets and costumes, barnstorming song and dance numbers, custard pies, and a nice singalong at the end. November 20 until December 2.
The Wizard of Oz, Shaw Theatre, King’s Cross
Follow the Yellow Brick Road to King’s Cross as panto returns to The Shaw Theatre. Join Dorothy, Toto and friends on their way to the Emerald City as they try to escape the Wicked Witch. Enchanted Entertainment’s panto version of L Frank Baum’s classic delivers pop songs, audience shout outs and dance routines. Click your heels together to journey over the rainbow from December 18-24.
And for grown-ups dreading the festivities there’s…
21 Round For Christmas, The Hope Theatre, Islington
– Credit: Supplied
Join day-dreaming, outspoken, list-making, extroverted-introvert Tracy in the midst of cooking Christmas dinner for her unfeasibly large family. Jew..ish writer Toby Hampton co-authors with Matt Ballantyne this raucous festive romp with added spice. Clare Bloomer performs. November 30-December 18.