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Cinders, you will have Tier Four fun

Nightmare before Christmas? Tier Four wasn't the news we wanted, but there's still plenty of festive online shows and outdoor strolls

ONLINE: Aladdin, Corn Exchange Newbury, now – 3 Jan 2021

Corn Exchange Newbury Aladdin

Aladdin will be rubbing his lamp this year in Newbury and Widow Twankey is up to his neck in laundry (I hear you). It has been a devastating year for theatres but the show must go on and the Corn Exchange in Newbury has made a recording of the panto is now available to stream at home. Jump on that magic carpet. £20.

ONLINE: Madagascar The Musical, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – 3 Jan

Madagascar The Musical Dreamworks cast of lion,zebra, hippo , penguin, giraffe and lemur

I like to move it, move it! Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a troupe of pesky penguins explode onto Bracknell’s South Hill Park stage in Madagascar The Musical this month. A dead cert hit with the kids, and adults for that matter. 

ONLINE: A Christmas Carol, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – 7 Jan

I think we’ll all be haunted by Christmas 2020, so there’s no better time to see this Charles Dickens classic. The Apollo Theatre Company brings its brand-new adaptation of A Christmas Carol to South Hill Park in Bracknell. Join Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, the ghosts of past, present and future for a night of festive spooky entertainment.

ONLINE: Pinocchio, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 – 24 Dec


The objects of a carpenter’s workshop bring to life the tale of the puppet that wants to be a real boy, and the puppet-maker who wants to be a real father. A one man show starring Steve Tiplady, as Geppetto where Pinocchio is carved on stage, brushes become a fox and the shadow of two saws become a shark. The mix of puppetry, shadows, illusion and music, make this a must-watch show. Each performance will be live streamed too.

A Christmas Carol, The Watermill Theatre, now – 3 Jan

A Christmas Carol__Watermill_Pete Ashmore and Tilly-Mae Milbrook_Pamela Raith Photography

It’s Dickens but not as you know it. This is a fun, fresh and lively adaptation of the Christmas classic. With just two actor-musicians playing Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the rest of the festive firm this is guaranteed to be small but perfectly formed (read my review here). 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.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Creation Theatre online, 19 Dec – 3 Jan 2021

Creation Theatre The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Christmas panto may be a write-off this year, but this clever production of The Wizard of Ozfrom Creation Theatre is the next best thing. Live, online performances will take place from 19 December, including Christmas Eve, with an interactive audience (so if you dial in at the same time as Auntie Brenda, you’ll be able to spot her on screen). Tickets cost £30 per device.

The Nutcracker Reworked, Royal Opera House, 22 Dec – 21 Jan


There’s nothing like a sea of tutus, twinkly lights, sugar plum fairies to lift the spirits… it can only be the Nutcracker – a 18th century prequel to Toy Story. The Royal Ballet’s staging of this classic ballet is jaw-dropping. Peter Wright’s reworked production for this Covid era is available for £16. Pass the popcorn, it’s a cracker.

In Camera: A Christmas Carol, Old Vic London, now – 24 Dec

Image: Helen Banks

A Christmas show for these crazy Covid times. A Christmas Carol is on at the Old Vic with Andrew Lincoln as the star. The catch? No live audiences, but live shows will be broadcast online as part of the Old Vic’s In Camera series. 

Dick Whittington, National Theatre London, 23 – 27 Dec

Dickie Beau in Dick Whittington at the National Theatre (c) The Other Richard
Image: The Other Richard

The show must go on! While the theatre is dark, there’s light online – and the opportunity to see the National Theatre’s panto Dick Whittington for free. The streets may not be paved with gold during the Tier Three, but this should give you all the festive feels in the run up to the big day. You can watch for free from 3pm on 23 Dec via the National Theatre’s YouTube channel. It will then transfer to the theatre’s streaming platform for six weeks.

Katherine Jenkins’ Christmas Spectacular, Royal Albert Hall, now – 2 Jan


Katherine Jenkins is spreading seasonal joy one aria at a time. This is a classical Christmas musical filmed at the iconic Royal Albert Hall where she performs seasonal faves and traditional carols with a dollop of nostalgic Hollywood glamour. Katherine will be joined by actors Vanessa Redgrave and Bill Nighy, opera’s Sir Bryn Terfel and Alberto Urso, American Broadway star Marisha Wallace, English National Ballet Lead Principal Erina Takahashi, the Royal Air Force Regiment Band and many more. Available from all major streaming services.


OUTDOORS: Berkshire’s best walks


And breathe! The stress levels are rising and we haven’t even started climbing the Christmas organisational mountain. But press pause, get some fresh and a chilly hit of wellbeing over the next few weeks on a countryside walk with your family or favourite plus one. We’ve got this! Click here for Muddy’s 20 favourite stomps across the county.

Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, throughout December

Basildon Park Georgian national trust house and snow covered parkland

Basildon Park knows how to shake its jingle bells at Christmas – and this year is no exception. The illuminated woodland walk s back, there’ll be sumptuously decorated trees, twinkling fairy lights and lavish displays (Government green light permitting). Oh and there’s winter activity trail with Peter Rabbit which should keep the kids busy long enough until you can grab a takeaway hot chocolate and cake. Booking is essential.

OUTDOORS: Cliveden National Trust, Taplow, throughout December

Expect a charming Christmas trail round the stunning grounds inspired by stories of Peter Rabbit. Swing by the Sounding Chamber and you’ll hear festive choral music recorded by local choirs. Takeaway refreshments are available for available from the kiosk so no need for a flask of soup and Kendal Mint Cake to get round the 365 acres.

Find more ideas here

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