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Christmas with the Rat Pack – Theatre Royal Haymarket, London

Devised by and Director: Mitch Sebastian Reviewer: Maryam Philpott There are some voices that are so full of atmosphere that they transport you entirely to another era, wistful voices that seem to suggest a simpler more thoughtful time. With Christmas only a few days away, everyone is more reflective and some of the most enduring festive tunes are gentle ballads ...

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The Grinning Man  – Trafalgar Studios, London

Book and Lyrics: Carl Grose Director: Tom Morris Reviewer: Richard Maguire Smiling all the way from Bristol’s Old Vic, where it received rave reviews, new British musical The Grinning Man now bares his teeth at London’s Trafalgar Studios. If only his bite was sharper. The Grinning Man, or Grinpayne as he’s known to his friends, is facially disfigured with a ...

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King Tut: A Pyramid Panto – King’s Head Theatre, London

Writer and Director: James Savournin Lyrics and Arrangements: David Eaton Reviewer: Maryam Philpott In the well-trodden panto furrow, genuine innovation is pretty rare, so Charles Court Opera’s latest “Boutique Pantomime” at the King’s Head Theatre is something a bit special. While the political jokes are updated every year and the gender-swapped casting may be de rigueur, the essential elements of ...

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White Fang – Park Theatre, London

Writer and director: Jethro Compton Reviewer: Stephen Bates In 2014, Jethro Compton brought his version of the film western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to the main stage here at the Park. Clearly a man undaunted by challenges, he now turns to an adaptation of Jack London’s classic 1906 novel White Fang, aiming to evoke its setting, the vast, ...

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Aladdin – Richmond Theatre

Writers: Jonathan Kiley and Alan McHugh Director: Ken Alexander Reviewer: David Guest Biggins is back! That simple statement should be enough to tempt panto fans young and old into cleaning their magic carpets and flying off to Richmond Theatre for what must be one of the slickest, funniest and brassiest seasonal shows this year. Just when we feared the doyen ...

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Pinocchio – National Theatre, London

Writer: Dennis Kelly Director: John Tiffany Reviewer: Richard Maguire The National’s Christmas show Pinocchio is a hybrid affair with The Fox and The Coachman played as old-fashioned pantomime villains while slickly choreographed numbers are straight out of a West End musical. But despite the cast’s best efforts, it’s the wooden actors who steal the show here. The puppet creations designed ...

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FCUK’D – The Bunker, London

Writer and director: Niall Ransome Reviewer: Stephen Bates Sowing seeds of disquiet for us to mix in with our Christmas puddings and mince pies, Niall Ransome’s hour-long monologue, in rhyming verse, provides the perfect antidote to any excess of seasonal spirit. The play is raw and it is real. Set in northern England during a freezing December, the story follows ...

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Parliament Square – Bush Theatre, London

Writer: James Fritz Director: Jude Christian Reviewer: Maryam Philpott In the political whirlwind of the last two years, the value of individual protest seems to be even more pertinent than when James Fritz won the Bruntwood Award for Playwriting in 2015. Whether it’s one victim being the first to speak publicly about enduring sexual misconduct that inspires other complainants, or ...

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