Piper calls the tune

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The Independent Culture
Unicorn Arts Theatre has given the story of The Pied Piper a thoroughly modern twist. Amid a rainbow-coloured set, depicting cock-eyed medieval houses, a group of holiday-makers arrives to find a tourist trade cover- up. Yes... their holiday destination is infested with rats. The pipe gets handed to a boy with the vision to see through the sleaze. And you can guess the rest. This is not an "its behind you!" pantomime but a family Christmas show in the style of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with music updated by Joanna MacGregor. Meanwhile at London's Polka Theatre for Children, the story of Oona, an Irish Cinderella, also promises new twists on another familiar theme. The Starlight Cloak is set to Irish music with dance. Prince Charming is now the young Prince of Ulster.

Pied Piper, Unicorn Arts Theatre, London WC2 (0171-836 3334) to 21 Jan; Starlight Cloak, Polka Theatre, London SW19 (0181-543 4888) to 3 Feb