Are you bored yet? Let Gore Vidal, giant spiders and a talking nutcracker bring the drama back

4 weeks ago 17

Now is the cleanable clip to dainty yourself to the corporate joys of unrecorded performance. There is plentifulness of accepted seasonal fare retired there, from pantomimes to re-spun fairy stories and the accustomed glut of Christmas Carols, but if you privation thing a spot different, present are 5 archetypal household shows that volition entertain and invigorate the spirit.

The Ocean astatine the End of the Lane

This is simply a sparky, adrenaline-filled extravaganza with acheronian edges. Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s phantasy novel, it stops astatine the Lowry arsenic portion of a UK-wide tour. A 12-year-old lad and his person travel up against an alternate satellite of terrifying monsters successful a agrarian Sussex backwater, from gargantuan spiders to shape-shifting worms. Directed by Katy Rudd and primitively staged arsenic a quirky festival amusement astatine the National Theatre, it transferred to the West End successful a accumulation with added thrills, spills and scary bits.

The Lowry, Salford, till 8 January

The Nutcracker

No, not the ballet but the all-singing, all-dancing musical, written by the venue’s outgoing creator manager Tom Morris. While the archetypal 1892 ballet accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s euphony is amended known, this production, inspired by ETA Hoffman’s abbreviated story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (on which the ballet’s libretto is based), is simply a bold philharmonic retelling that captures the adventures of magical toys that travel to beingness astatine the changeable of midnight, including a dastardly Mouse King and a talking nutcracker. A seasonal amusement fixed a delightful twist.

Bristol Old Vic, till 7 January

The Nutcracker astatine  Bristol Old Vic.
The Nutcracker astatine Bristol Old Vic. Photograph: Geraint Lewis

Best of Enemies

This amusive and fabulously combative drama, which re-enacts the gladiatorial televised clash betwixt American thinkers Gore Vidal and William F Buckley Jr, successful the lead-up to the statesmanlike elections of 1968, is arsenic acold distant from festive fare arsenic you tin get. But it is besides James Graham astatine his playwriting best, and perfect for anyone who has had their capable of Christmas spirit. Starring David Harewood and Zachary Quinto, the accumulation traces a enactment backmost to the commencement of celebrity-led authorities and antagonistic TV statement portion the fantabulous TV workplace acceptable captures the tone of the 1960s. Guaranteed amusement that volition get the encephalon cells fizzing, too.

Noël Coward Theatre, London, till 18 February 2023

The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage

This adaptation of Philip Pullman’s captivating phantasy features the adventures of a boy, a miss and a newborn (Lyra Belacqua) caught successful an almighty flood portion being chased by the Magisterium. Originally staged astatine the Bridge theatre successful London, it is simply a happening of quality with bewitching performances, exquisite puppets and engulfing graphics. Adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Nicholas Hytner, who brought Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, to the signifier astir 2 decades ago, it is fast, propulsive storytelling with dazzling ocular effects.

Streaming astatine National Theatre astatine Home

Twelfth Night

This upbeat modern-dress drama of shipwrecked twins, emotion triangles, cakes and ale has Americana, unrecorded euphony and tons of laughs. Staged astatine Shakespeare’s Globe past year, determination is inspired casting successful George Fouracres arsenic the drunken, disorderly Sir Andrew Aguecheek. The comedian, dressed successful pastels and cravat, brings fey and supremely winning silliness to the portion on with his madcap radical of revellers. The play’s darker aspects are underplayed successful Sean Holmes’s accumulation and the full happening becomes a rollicking comedy.

Streaming connected Globe Player