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FEATURE: Lockdown Larder Christmas special 1

Brian Butler December 2, 2020

As Government lockdown restrictions ease in some areas , theatres large and small are thinking the unthinkable – that they can mount Christmas shows.

London and Brighton are both in Tier 2 and therefore theatre doors can open . It’s less certain about music venues and further clarification is being sought .

But the good news is there’s quite a bit to enjoy if not in person then online and even in the cinema. In this the first of two larder specials, I’ll give details of what  to see , where  and when.

On the panto front the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has Pricked Рa queer twist on Sleeping Beauty running from 4 December  till 7  January; almost next door Above The Stag has Dick Whittington Рa New Dick In Town in its main house 3 December till 28 February , so plenty of time to see that. More info at www.vauxhalltavern.com and abovethestag.org.uk

The National Theatre also airs its Dick from 11 December to 23 January. And if you are a panto glutton there’s Potted Panto Р7 different shows in 70 minutes at the Garrick Theatre from 5 December to 10 January. ( nimaxtheatres.com ) Pantoland at the London Palladium  ( Dec 12 Р3 January) , stars Julian Clary and Elaine Page and is almost sold out Рoh yes it is ! Рdetails: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk and lwtheatres.co.uk

Ex Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan has filmed  his own panto Jack and the Beanstalk in his back garden and it is available at Everyman and Showcase cinemas and also on line from 4 December. Snow White in The 7 Months of Lockdown  is online from December 14 Р31, staged by Charles Court Opera. Рpanto online.co.uk and charlescourt opera.com

Saving Christmas is an amazingly novel idea Рa do-it-yourself panto from  the British Youth Music  Theatre and  director  Steven Dexter, who’s recently been packing them in for his shows at the Eagle Garden Theatre in Vauxhall. Basically you get a script, a score and  guide vocals  and a  narrative track Рprovided by singer Luke Bayer and actor Simon Callow , and then you make up your own production ! Рbritishyouthmusictheatre.org/shows

Phoenix Arts Club in Charing Cross Road, London is staging its first panto РAlice in Streamingland  , which sees Alice follow the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole into several worlds including iPlayerland . It’s written by Colin Savage , who plays the wicked Queen of Hearts and  features ex-Phantom principal Matt Bateman as the Rabbit. It runs from 5 December till  3 January Рphoenixartsclub.com

Nearer home Pinocchio is staged at the Festival Theatre, Chichester by its youth theatre, December 16 to 2 January – cft.org.uk

In Brighton The Spire is staging its enthralling  version of A Christmas Carol, which I saw a couple of years ago and which is truly amazing.  It’s on December 16 Р24 Рthespirearts.org

There are  at least 2 other Christmas Carols on stage this year РBrian Conley stars in a lavish musical version at London’s Dominion from 7 December to 2 January; and Andrew Lincoln stars in a version at the Old Vic from 12 to 24 December РNederlander.co.uk and oldvictheatre.com

And finally Brighton-based director/choreographer Carole Todd has two shows on the go Рshe’s directing Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Windsor from  3 December to 10 January, featuring Basil Brush and the magical Debbie McGee and Carole is also choreographing Dick Whittington at Above The Stag Theatre, Vauxhall ( see above ) Рtheatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

If you want a non-Christmas package of campery then Death Drop is for you, starring drag kings and queens you’ll recognise, it’s a musical take on an Agatha Christie murder mystery but with sequins and lashes. It’s at the Garrick Theatre from December 4 Р17 January Рnimaxtheatres.com

All shows may be affected by the review of tier areas on 16 December so check with the venues.

Tv schedules are still coming out but one must is a re-run of the marvellously quirky Dickensian,  created by  Eastenders writer Tony Jordan, in which many of Dickens’ characters find their separate stories colliding . It’s sad and  funny and available on BBC iplayer from 3 December. It’s worth binge watching all 20 episodes over wine and cheese.

Next time in the larder – my pick of LGBTQ+ books and films for Christmas presents . And my take on a Christmas menu and an alternative .

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