Noel Coward’s Christmas Spirits
This quirky, camp and consistently funny play is set in Noel Coward’s flat in Mayfair during the Blitz of Christmas 1940. Written by Nick Hutchison and starring Stefan Bednarczyk and Charlotte Wakefield, this highly entertaining piece sees Coward training his latest prodigy, Madam Arcati, to channel her medium skills to summon up the spirit of Christmas through the ages.
The show features music from Coward including Would You Please Oblige Us With a Bren Gun, and Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans, along with all manner of other recognisable tunes from the era. Occasionally, poignant prose pieces from the Civil War and WW1 are read, and almost all of the letters read out by the characters are based around real messages that were sent home from the front line. While being funny and light hearted, this play also does real justice and gives true respect to those living and dying during this dark period in London’s history.
8th – 23rd December
St, James Theatre
Tickets at £15 – £29
Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born
Singer Meow Meow has returned to London this Christmas to treat us to a cabaret like no other. Completely at home at Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival, this collection of saucy songs, satire and comedy is certain to get you howling with laughter, and even after just a few minutes of hearing Meow Meow’s incredible voice, leave you absolutely stunned and in awe of this fantastically talented performer.
The Evening Standard have described her as ‘a cross between Lady Gaga, Edith Piaf and Charlie Chaplin’, and she’s fast approaching a really impressive level of fame after winning several awards, and performing with the London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall in 2013.
This play sees Meow Meow singing, dancing, quoting and welcoming all manner of strange characters – there’s no plot as such, but rather a series of hilarious, uplifting and wonderfully weird sketches and choreography. Get your tickets now – the secret’s out and they’re selling fast!
20th – 29th December
The Southbank Centre
Tickets at £19
Matthew Bourne’s moving and emotive dance adaptation of this Tim Burton classic is set to return to Sadler’s Wells this Christmas. While this is technically a child-friendly production, we wouldn’t actually recommend it for kids. There are times when the play is really quite dark, and the scene that sees Edward murdering Jim is all the more brutal when witnessed in first person.
Danny Elfman’s beautiful music score and Terry Davies’s sets really make this play what it is, and the acting/dancing is passionate and true to Burton’s shadowy style.
We recommend you remind yourself of the story and unique ‘look’ of the original film before you go and see this play, simply for interesting opportunities to compare and contrast the two. Bourne has done beautiful work in terms of adapting the movie to be both instantly recognisable and fresh with a little something extra – a really worthwhile watch that’s both gloriously nostalgic and perfect for a cold winter’s night of entertainment.
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