Top ten theatre shows opening in December 2017
December is full of Christmas crackers, with major TV adaptations, fringe hits, US imports and THE BIGGEST MUSICAL OF THE CENTURY!
Barnum at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Getting in before Hugh Jackman’s biopic of the archetypal American showman, Menier Chocolate Factory is reviving Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble’s musical Barnum. Comedian Marcus Brigstocke plays PT himself, while Laura Pitt-Pulford stars as his wife Charity.
Barnum is at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 25th November until 13th March 2018, with a press night on 5th December. For further information or to book visit the Menier Chocolate Factory website here.
How to Win Against History at the Young Vic
Already a huge success at the Edinburgh Fringe, Seiriol Davies’s How to Win Against History rocks up at the Young Vic this month to tell the “riches-to-rags” story of the fifth Marquis of Anglesey. Expect songs, sequins and silliness.
How to Win Against History is at the Young Vic from 30th November until 30th December 2017, with a press night on 5th December. For further information or to book visit the Young Vic website here.
Photo: Kristina Banholzer
Pinocchio at the National Theatre
This feels like the National Theatre aiming for a West End-transfer mega-hit, and for good reason. Featuring songs from the 1940 Disney film, a story moulded by Maltida’s Dennis Kelly, and directed by Harry Potter’s John Tiffany, Pinocchio is shaping up to be an absolute joy.
Pinocchio is at the National Theatre from 1st December 2017 until 7th April 2018, with a press night on 13th December. For further information or to book visit the National Theatre website here.
Photo: Manuel Harlan
The Twilight Zone at Almeida Theatre
In what could be the most intriguing entry on this list, the classic American anthology show The Twilight Zone – think a pre-digital Black Mirror – gets adapted for the stage by the genius that is Anne Washburn. It’s hard to know what to expect from this; if it’s like Washburn’s Mr Burns it could be mighty divisive.
The Twilight Zone is at Almeida Theatre from 5th December 2017 until 27th January 2018, with a press night on 12th December. For further information or to book visit the Almeida Theatre website here.
Grimly Handsome at the Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court’s doing something a bit different with its final show of the year. Julia Jarcho’s Obie Award-winning dark comedy is set to take place neither upstairs nor downstairs at the theatre itself, but at The Site, a new space only used a few times this year that allows director Sam Pritchard and designer Chloe Lamford to cast the play as a series of installations.
Grimly Handsome is at the Royal Court from 6th until 23rd December 2017, with a press night on 8th December. For further information or to book visit the Royal Court website here.
Photo: Chloe Lamford
The Grinning Man at Trafalgar Studios
After a hit run at the Bristol Old Vic The Grinning Man – based, like Les Mis, on a novel by Victor Hugo – transfers to the Trafalgar Studios to bring a bit of ghoulishness to the West End just before Christmas. War Horse’s Tom Morris directs, with a book by Carl Grose and score by Tim Philips and Marc Teitler.
The Grinning Man is at Trafalgar Studios from 6th December 2017 until 17th February 2018, with a press night on 18th December. Book your tickets here.
Photo: Simon Annand
Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre
It’s here, it’s finally here! After what feels like an interminable wait – exacerbated by a 16 date-deleting delay – Hamilton launches the latest step of its global takeover this month when it debuts in the newly refurbished Victoria Palace. Hopefully you’ll get more than one shot to see this modern masterpiece.
Hamilton is at the Victoria Palace Theatre from 6th December 2017 until 30th June 2018, with a press night on 21st December. For further information or to book visit the show’s UK website here.
The Jungle at the Young Vic
Set in the Calais “Jungle” the Young Vic’s final play of the year is a typically ambitious production set to completely rework the ever-malleable main theatre. Originally commissioned by the National Theatre, there’s a lot of names involved in this one, with a pair of writers – Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson – and a pair of directors – Justin Martin and, excitingly, Stephen Daldry.
The Jungle is at the Young Vic from 7th December 2017 until 9th January 2018, with a press night on 15th December. For further information or to book visit the Young Vic website here.
Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse
Another of the month’s high-profile US imports, Amy Herzog’s Belleville stars James Norton and Imogen Poots as a young American couple who have just moved to Bohemian Paris. The UK premiere is directed by Michael Longhurst, the man behind the National Theatre’s masterful Amadeus.
Belleville is at the Donmar Warehouse from 7th December 2017 until 3rd February 2018, with a press night on 14th December. For further information or to book visit the Donmar Warehouse website here.
Dick Whittington at the London Palladium
You can’t not stick a panto on a list like this, so it might as well be the biggest one around! This year’s London Palladium extravaganza is Dick Whittington, with Half a Sixpence star Charlie Stemp as the titular character, Julian Clary as the Spirit of the Bells and theatre royalty Elaine Paige as Queen Rat.
Dick Whittington is at the London Palladium from 9th December 2017 until 14th January 2018, with a press night on 13th December. Book your tickets here.