Bristol’s theatre lovers are quite possibly the luckiest in the country, left spoilt for choice all year round by the city’s big and small theatres alike, and never more so than this Christmas when a plethora of shows offers something for everyone.
Bristol Hippodrome’s festive production is a one-size-fits-all Christmas delight – the traditional family pantomime Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs starring Warwick Davis who is soon to be seen reprising the role of Wicket the Ewok in the new Star Wars movie, released 17 December.
Joining Warwick on the Hippodrome stage are CBeebies presenter Andy Day and Bristol panto stalwart Andy Ford, and there’s a guest appearance from Shaun the Sheep too. The show is bright and colourful, full of song, dance and comedy, with a simple to follow story and a proper happy ending. Whether you’re taking a three-year-old, a 33-year-old, or a 103-year-old, they’ll all love it. The final performance is on Sunday 03 January.
Bristol Old Vic’s Sleeping Beauty has made the national newspapers due to director Sally Cookson’s decision to make the central character a prince, named Percy, rather than the more traditional princess, with one politician quoted as saying “It’s political correctness gone mad!”That national coverage includes a spot in The Guardian’s list of this year’s 10 best Christmas shows, which is no great surprise as, controversy aside, it really is a fantastic show with a delightfully evil baddie and possibly the best cover of Living on a Prayer you’ll ever hear. It runs until 17 January.
Sleeping Beauty is described as suitable for ages seven to 107, but younger theatre fans don’t miss out as the theatre has a second Christmas show just for them – The Night that Autumn Turned to Winter, a truly magical tale presented by Little Bulb Theatre in co-production with Bristol Old Vic and Farnham Maltings. It takes place in the Studio and runs until 10 January.
The final festive treat from Bristol Old Vic is Blah Humbug, a one-performance-only Christmas special presented by the team behind Blahblahblah, the theatre’s regular spoken word night, featuring a great line-up of poets such as Thick Richard, Selena Godden, Wilf Merttens, Jonny Fluffy-Punk, Vanessa Kisuule, Chris Redmond and Lucy English. Suitable for ages 14+, it takes place in the Studio and starts at 8PM.
Tobacco Factory Theatres also have not one, not two, but three fabulous Christmas shows on offer. The first, The Light Princess, also appears on The Guardian’s Top 10 list, and if we had to pick just one show to see this Christmas (what a horrible thought) it would probably be the one we’d choose.Based on a 19th century fairy tale by George MacDonald, The Light Princess has been adapted for the stage by Thomas Eccleshare and Peepolykus’s John Nicholson. It tells the story of a princess (the clue was in the title really) who has been cursed to live life with no gravity. She floats around, light-headed and light-hearted, a concern to her father who worries about her disregard for the well-ordered life he craves.
Performed on a beautifully designed set, the work of Phil Eddolls, it features original music by Verity Standen and a lot of comedy too. A really lovely show for anyone aged from 6+, running until 10 January, but don’t delay if you want to book tickets as they are selling fast.
For younger children the 50-minute-long Kid Carpet’s Noisy Nativity, a radical remix of the traditional Christmas story, is playing in the Brewery Theatre until 03 January, and for anyone over the age of 14 there is Living Spit’s A Christmas Carol, a particularly funny version of the classic Dickens story.
If you miss Living Spit in Bristol there will also be an opportunity to catch the show at the seaside in Weston-super-Mare, where it forms part of Theatre@TheBay’s first season at the former Tropicana/Dismaland site, alongside Nutshell Nutcracker, Mrs Gerrish’s Grotto, Nutty Noah, Instant Wit, Fireside Tales with Grandad and Coulrophobia.
Bristol’s other Christmas shows include The Wind in the Willows presented by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the Redgrave Theatre until 17 December, and Creative Youth Network’s production of Cinderella, featuring P-Charmz, being performed at The Station in Silver Street from 15 to 19 December.
As the big day draws closer the team at The Bristol Shop would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your support in 2015.