Theatre: No more turkeys for Christmas

Innovative family treats in Nolan-free surroundings. What more could you want for Christmas?

First the good news. Having filled theatregoers' hearts with joy in several seasons of The Wind In The Willows, this year's National Theatre Christmas treat is Peter Pan. Usually the province of a perky drag performer - everyone from Maggie Smith to Wendy Craig has donned the pixie boots and flying harness - the role has gone to Daniel Evans.

"But he's a boy!" you gasp. True, but then Mark Rylance played the role when the RSC removed the encrustations of lazy panto productions and restored the innocence, wonder and darkness to JM Barrie's 1904 play in the 1980s. Long-term co-conspirators Trevor Nunn and John Caird will direct, and dreamy casting continues with Jenny Agutter as Mrs Darling and the mouthwatering prospect of Ian McKellen buckling his swashes as theatre's most famous one-armed bandit, Captain Hook.

The bad news? Tickets are vanishing like clocks down a crocodile. It's still only in rehearsal, but if you wait for the reviews to come out in mid-December, you won't get in unless you are prepared to queue for seats before 10am on the day. You have been warned.

A quick glance at London's other Yuletide offerings yields a surprising lack of traditional fare. The Palladium relinquished its hold on the market when it began housing long-running musicals. There are some people who wish to but haven't yet seen Oliver!, but I wouldn't recommend it. Yes, the choreography is by Matthew Bourne, but it is far from his best work. Try his Cinderella instead.

Interestingly, Bourne has continued to work on the show since its opening last month. By all accounts it is dramatically richer and stronger than at its impressive, if flawed, opening. You'd be surprised how many estimable directors watch and go: working on a show until press night and then disappearing forever. Long-runners have a nasty habit of turning into sloppy, pale imitations of that which everyone raved about.

Of the new stuff, my hunch would be to head for the Almeida which has a cracking cast lined up for John Byrne's swaggering adaptation of Gogol's boisterous bureaucratic farce, The Government Inspector. But for those with children in tow, it's More Grimm Tales at the Young Vic, or the Lyric, Hammersmith where Neil Bartlett follows up last year's magical A Christmas Carol with Treasure Island. And not a Gladiator, soap star or Nolan sister in sight.

`Peter Pan', National Theatre (0171-928 2252); `Cinderella', Piccadilly Theatre (0171-369 1734); ` The Government Inspector', Almeida (0171-359 4404); `More Grimm Tales', Young Vic (0171-928 6363); `Treasure Island', Lyric Hammersmith (0181- 741 2311)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea