12 alternative festive shows
Hate panto? Feast your eyes on these 12 alternative festive shows without a boo, hiss or ‘he’s behind you!’ in sight across Berkshire and beyond.
Hansel & Gretal, South Street Arts Reading, Tue 3 – Mon 30 Dec
The multi-award-winning theatre company, Reading Between The Lines, is back with Hansel & Gretel. Two children lost in the forbidden forest, lured to a creepy cottage by the smell of sweets. Nothing to scary about that… NOT. A childhood classic, given a fresh and imaginative twist.
Singin In The Rain, Mill at Sonning, Sat 30 Nov – Sat 8 Feb
The Mill at Sonning is bringing Hollywood to Berks. Sadly not a George Clooney one man show, although I’d be front row, for sure, but Singing In The Rain, this year’s Christmas musical. All tickets before 23 Dec include a festive buffet and from Boxing Day onwards a delish two-course meal. First person to spy George and Amal wins Christmas at the Clooneys (joke, obvs).
A Christmas Carol, Wokingham Theatre, Wed 4 – Sat 14 Dec
It’s Dickens but not as you know it. This is a fun, fresh and lively adaptation of the Christmas classic. A story of second chances – there’s always another day and you can write a brand-new page tomorrow. All the festive feels and a healthy reminder not to be stingy with your gifts.
An Even More Crayola Christmas, Purple Turtle Reading, Tue 3 Dec
Hot on the heels of two sell out shows for the Reading Fringe Festival and the Pussy’s Bow Pride Party, Crayola is back in town for another round of top notch drag buffoonery, but be warned: the festive season has her feeling camper than ever! With a full, hour-long show, this songstress and lip-sync clown will make this the most wonderful time of the year, with a dragged up twist!
Romeo & Juliet, Progress Theatre Reading, Wed 11 – Sat 14 Dec
Who needs the faint tinkle of sleigh bells when you can enjoy your bickering family at full volume. It’s a Christmas tale as old as Shakespeare. I can’t think of a more perfect time to see the iconic Romeo & Juliet.
Christmas Time Travellers, Broad Street and Station forecourt Reading, various dates
Part of Magical Christmas in Reading’s Living Advent Calendar. Having just arrived from their Victorian Christmas celebrations of 1888 and very much in the mood to share it with all, Professor Weft and Ms. Warp perambulate and play carols in their incredible contraption, an H. G. Wells style Time Machine.
The Hundred Watt Club – Festive Burlesque, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 21 Dec
Have you been naughty or nice this year? Hundred Watt Club’s gift to you is this hot toddy of a show, jam packed full of festive burlesque, cabaret, circus and drag acts. If you like your Winter nights bawdy and a little bit naughty, this is for you! No rummaging in the stockings, you’ll get arrested.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Alexandra Palace, Fri 13 Dec – Sun 5 Jan
Assuredly NOT a panto, this West End production (it showed at the Apollo Theatre in 2015 & 2016) comes to Ally Pally, promising a riotous spin on JM Berries’s classic tale. From the creators of award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. alexandrapalace.com
Nativity! The Musical, The Eventim Apollo, London, Wed 11 – Sun 29 Dec
Nativity made the leap from film to Christmas show in a touring production in 2017 – now it’s back again for the third round. Great cast for this one including the return of father and daughter duo Dani and Danny Dyer, plus Rylan Clarke-Neal and Sharon Osbourne. West End star Simon Lipkin will also reprise his role as Mr Poppy. I saw a version in Oxford last year and it was hilarious and heartwarming (even without the star cast), so this is bound to be brilliant. Proper feel good family theatre. Tickets here.