I was intrigued when I heard about 'Christmas Is Cancelled', a play by Tuula Costelloe that begins a run at the Etcetera Theatre this week.

Not least because of the sensory elements involved in the production and the fact that it has more than one ending, but also because it explores a number of themes that are really interesting to me. 

Tuula performs in the show as well as having written it. I spoke to her to find out more about the play and its inspiration and, of course, more about the creator herself. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Christmas Is Cancelled' is on at Etcetera Theatre 11-14, 17-19 + 22-24 Dec. For more information and to book tickets see the venue website here.
Shows to see in the week ahead - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


A Christmas Carol | Greenwich Theatre | 12+18 Dec (pictured)
Woohoo! For the first time this year I'm able to fill a whole section with shows related to 'A Christmas Carol' and it makes my heart glad. This first one - and it's an acclaimed one we've tipped in previous years - sees the excellent John O'Connor recreating Charles Dickens' own highly successful readings of this very popular work. See the venue website here for more.

Scrooge | The Space | 13-16 Dec
And now it's over to The Space for a modern reimagining of the classic, a one man show that delves deep into the titular character's psyche and the weight on him of social expectations. "Did Scrooge truly experience haunting by the ghosts or did his actions lead to a pivotal breakdown during the Christmas season?" Oh, and you can see this one via livestream on 14 Dec too. Click here.

Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol | Orange Tree Theatre | 18 Dec-6 Jan
Our final 'Carol' is one for young people and I approve! For it's never too early to introduce young people to this story, though - in this day and age - the Muppets might have got there first, and that's absolutely fair enough. Anyway, this is another alternative spin on it, in which Bob Cratchit has taken over his boss's old company and needs a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. More here.


Wow! It's Night-Time | Little Angel Theatre | until 27 Jan
And from that family show to some more family shows, for lo, this is a section entirely dedicated to entertaining your small ones during this festive period. This one's a show that's aimed at really quite small children - aged two to five - and is, of course, a stage adaptation of Tim Hopgood's book of the same name, the follow up to 'Wow! Said The Owl'. That little owl is going to be discovering the wonders of the night time - the moon, bats, etc - and your tiny tots will love it. Click here.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff | Jacksons Lane | 14 Dec-7 Jan
Next up is this "unique adaptation" of the classic Billy Goats Gruff story, filled with storytelling, humour and acrobatics as the hungry goats try and make their way across the rickety bridge to pastures new. This is on in the run up to Christmas and sounds like an excellent pre-festivities treat, but also, is on until 7 Jan, if you want to save it for that post-celebrations period when things might get a bit gloomy. Info here.

I Want My Hat Back Trilogy | ArtsDepot | 13-31 Dec (pictured)
"A bear has lost his hat. What if he never sees it again? WAIT! He has seen his hat. A fish has stolen a hat. And he'll probably get away with it. Probably. Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat". Looks like tickets are selling pretty fast for this one and with good reason, it's a fab adaptation from an acclaimed duo of Jon Klassen's picture book trilogy. More here.


Oh No It Isn't! | Jack Studio Theatre | 12 Dec -6 Jan
OK: full disclosure, this is not actually a pantomime, despite the fact that this is a pantomime section. It is, however, a play about actors who are appearing in a pantomime. It's set during the final performance of 'Cinderella' at a run down regional theatre and explores the highs and lows of the performing life, promising to be both raucous and moving, as behind the scenes tensions between the Ugly Sisters threaten to boil over on stage. Click here.

Aladdin | Fairfield Halls | 16 Dec-7 Jan (pictured)
And now for two actual pantomimes, the first of which is on at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, and this is another show that's on into the first week of January, if you'd like to save it to brighten things up after Christmas Day. Anyway, it's 'Aladdin', which you're surely all familiar with, and stars Davood Ghadami, Kiera Nicole and Charlie Guest. For more information and to book your tickets head to the venue website here.

Jack And The Beanstalk | OSO Arts Centre | until 23 Dec
This one's already started and it was supposed to be in last week's tips but it somehow got left out. But never mind, you've still got plenty of time to take the family to see this production of 'Jack And The Beanstalk'. If you'd like to go on your own, however, or perhaps with a friend who is 'of age', you might want to take in the 'After Dark' over-18s version of the show, which runs from 15-22 Dec. See the venue listings here for both versions.


Safehouse | The Cockpit | 13-14 Dec
One or two shows for those of you actively looking for things that don't especially give off Christmas vibes, starting with this compelling sounding LGBT dark comedy. "Are gay men incapable of love? It's what Blake and Dan ask each other the night they meet after a gay play. They don't exchange numbers - only to meet a year later at a chemsex party, forced to finally answer the question!" For more info and tickets see this page here.

The Bystanders | Camden People's Theatre | 15-16 Dec (pictured)
Another interesting one for you, a two man movement piece that explores the topic of men being bystanders when it comes to violence against women, which promises to explore "the root of the cause and our attitudes towards women through the lived experience of men but also the real-life stories and voices of women". For all the details and to book tickets, head to the CPT website right about here.

Josh Weller's A Voiry Moiry Chroistmois | The Bill Murray | 17 Dec
"Last year Weller dropped an album as a surprise on Christmas Eve and it ruined many a Christmas experience for his fans. It is a truly terrible album and this holiday season he's bringing it to the stage for one night only with VERY special guests and less special guests". Need I say more? I want to go, don't you? Also, we loved Josh Weller's 2023 Edinburgh Fringe show, so, there's that. Right this way for more info and tickets.


Midwyntar | Old Red Lion Theatre | 12-15, 19-22 Dec
Here we are then, final section of the week, and what better place to start than with a Christmassy comedy horror thing? "In a remote rural cottage, Po is spending her first Christmas away from home with her new girlfriend Rowan. And Rowan's family, who are more than a little excited to meet Po at last. Amidst the family's odd traditions and questionable cuisine, Po begins to notice stranger customs that feel less than merry. Is there more than just parlour games being played?" Details here.

Protest Song | Arcola Theatre | 12 Dec-6 Jan
Described as an "alternative Christmas play", solo show 'Protest Song' focuses on Danny, who sleeps rough on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, and who one morning finds a tent being erected in front of him, and is subsequently drawn into the Occupy movement of 2011. "The protestors nourish him, not just with food. He's handed a microphone and people listen to what he has to say. In his own words, he is, 'finally in. Connected. Affecting others'". More here.

Stranger Sings | Southwark Playhouse Borough | 13 Dec-6 Jan
And last - but absolutely by no means least - we come to 'Stranger Sings', which we have definitely tipped before, but have absolutely no regrets about tipping again. If you haven't yet heard about it, it's a parody musical with a well loved TV show as its inspiration and it's definitely brilliant. A blast for anyone who loves 'Stranger Things', the eighties, hilarity and justice for Barb. Fairy lights are obviously also involved, so a great Christmas treat. Book here.
At TW:CULTURE we champion the best in fringe theatre, comedy and culture.

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