SIX OF THE BEST SHOWS FOR KIDS THIS XMAS

Each of the shows featured has agreed to reduce ticket prices for IoS readers. Just give the relevant password (0) when making your telephone booking. All offers, marked 5, are subject to availability.

ALADDIN (Albany Theatre, SE8)

The itinerant company London Bubble is to the unlovelier parts of south- east London what Theatre Royal, Stratford East has long been to the East End. If the people won't come to the theatre, then the theatre will go to the people: a recent success was an Arabian Nights on the hoof in a public park. Under a proscenium you can be sure that London Bubble will make bold use of the space. Aladdin promises all the best panto features - slapstick, madcap chases, daft songs, dancing and witty contemporary references - but cuts out the worst of the season's cliches. Good, clean fun.

5 One adult ticket free for every two children's tickets booked for evening performance of Thursday 21 December. 0 DJINNI

Albany Theatre, Douglas Way, London SE8, 0171 237 1663. To 6 Jan. Regular prices pounds 5-pounds 9.

JOEY GRIMALDI, KING OF CLOWNS (Little Angel Marionette Theatre, N1)

The life story of the legendary 18th-century clown (see Robert Cushman's article) recounted by the madcap Ken Campbell - whose script for this larger-than-life-size puppet-show should have audiences rocking in the aisles of this tiny, intimate theatre. The woodentop Grimaldi pops up in a ghoul-infested graveyard to recall his ludicrous adventures, including dinner with Lord Byron and a bear, meeting with the King (while trying to hide a cache of stolen fish in a public lavatory), and the time Napoleon tried to destroy London with cannonballs. Amazing puppet skills, pacy puns, crazy chases and original songs combine to make this a memorable show, even by this theatre's own high standards. Suitable for age six to adult.

5 Book five seats for any performance and get one free. 0 SAUSAGE

Little Angel, 14 Dagmar Pass, London N1, 0171 226 1787. In repertory until 21 Jan, matinees only. Regular prices pounds 5-pounds 6.50.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (Young Vic, SE1)

One of many wonderful things in last year's Grimm Tales (see below) was the live, improvised music on exotic folk instruments. This year's adaptation (again by the inspired Tim Supple) brings in the celebrated N Tiken Singh from Manipur to help create the genuine atmosphere of India in a dramatic rendering of Rudyard Kipling's stories of 1894. An ensemble cast should create a convincing Indian jungle, and animal characters Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa and the wolves, as Mowgli and his friends do battle with the Monkey People, and, in an epic finale, with the fearsome Shere Khan. This is one for all parents who tire of explaining that Walt Disney did not write The Jungle Book.

5 One free child's ticket to the first 10 Independent on Sunday readers to book a minimum of one adult ticket. 0 BAGHEERA

Young Vic, The Cut, London SE1, 0171 928 6363. To 27 Jan. Tickets: pounds 14 adults, pounds 7.50 children.

GRIMM TALES (Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough)

Poet Carol Ann Duffy's sinewy text had its first airing last year at the Young Vic and was an instant hit. She homed in on the supernatural spirit of the fairytales written by the brothers Grimm and gave them a vivid new potency, while not forgetting the gory details: the ugly sisters hacking off their toes to fit the slipper; the ferocious cannibalism in Hansel & Gretel ... The Scarborough team stage five of the eight tales, using Tim Supple's original dramatisation but with new designs and music.

5 Buy an adult ticket, and get a child ticket free for matinee 30 Dec. 0 ASHPUTTEL

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, 01723 370541. To 30 Dec. Regular prices: adults pounds 5.95, children pounds 3.

PETER PAN (West Yorkshire Playhouse)

Ten years ago the RSC restored the genius to JM Barrie in a stage version based on the original novel - a much deeper and cleverer piece of work than the anodyne play which most of us know as Peter Pan. Crucially it had a male actor playing Peter (which is what Barrie always wanted). Here, director Matthew Warchus develops these ideas further with an entirely adult cast, all the "children" being taller than the parents (not difficult in the case of Una Stubbs as Mrs Darling, or even David "Mr Collins" Bamber as her husband). Warchus recently won the Olivier award for Best Director.

5 Half-price family tickets for evening and early-evening performances on 8, 9, 10 & 11 Jan. Book before Xmas. 0 CAPTAIN HOOK

West Yorks Playhse, Leeds, 0113 244 2111. Tickets pounds 8.50-pounds 16, family tickets pounds 28-pounds 33.

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (Theatr Clwyd)

Giants, midgets, a flying island, a race of talking horses ... Jonathan Swift's story seems like a gift for the theatre (unless you're a designer, perhaps). But here the designer is Ralph Steadman, whose imagination has hitherto known no bounds. Roger Redfern directs this version by the author of the Mr Majeika children's books, Humphrey Carpenter, who has created a modern Gulliver that tries to retain the satire and fantasy of the original.

5 Pay only pounds 20 for any family ticket (max two adults plus four children) for 21, 22, 23 Dec at 2pm or 7pm. 0 LILLIPUT

Theatr Clwyd, Mold, 01352 755114. To 20 Jan. Prices: pounds 7-pounds 13; family ticket (of 4) pounds 30-pounds 36.

JENNY GILBERT

Comments