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Your guide to the best festive shows in London

Shows are often part of Christmas tradition and seeing one in London makes it all the more special. From ballet to panto and old classics, there's something for all types of families. So, whether you want to marvel at the subtleties in the dancers’ movements or have a good chuckle, the London stage is the place to be this festive season.

The Nutcracker performed by the Royal Ballet

Join Clara on Christmas Eve, as she embarks on a magical adventure to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Along the way, she’ll meet fascinating characters, including the Sugar Plum Fairy, Drosselmeyer the magician and the Mouse King.

Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet has been beautifully reimagined by Peter Wright for the Royal Ballet, making it the perfect accompaniment to Tchaikovsky’s score. From the sumptuous set in all its festive period glory to the dancing snowflakes, nothing says Christmas like The Nutcracker.

See The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House until 10 January.

Pinocchio at the National Theatre

Children will be enchanted by the production of the puppet that wanted to be a real boy, which is complete with music from the Disney film. They will be able to sing along to the likes of I’ve Got No Strings and Give a Little Whistle as they follow Pinocchio and his trusty companion Jiminy Cricket on their adventures.

It has been produced by some of the heavyweights of musical theatre, including John Tiffany, who brought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to Broadway; and Matilda writer Dennis Kelly. The puppets are beautifully crafted by Toby Olie, endowing the tale with an extra special touch.

Pinocchio is being staged until 10 April.

Nativity! The Musical at Eventim Apollo

The school nativity play is a universal rite of passage into childhood and therefore something everyone can relate to. Whether it’s the anticipation over the allocation of parts or the thrill of the final performance, Nativity! The Musical ramps them up to create a real feel-good comedy.

Look out for some famous faces, including The X Factor’s Louis Walsh in the role of the Hollywood producer. Expect laughs, heart-warming moments and plenty of songs to sing along to in this fun and modern production.

Catch Nativity! The Musical before it finishes on 17 December.

A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic

Rhys Ifans breathes new life into the classic character on Ebenezer Scrooge in the most festive of Charles Dickens’ tales. A great option for families with children from the early teens up, A Christmas Carol is guaranteed to rid the audience of any mentions of bah humbug.

Journey with Scrooge from his offices on a cold Christmas Eve to the past and into the future as he is guided by four ghosts, each with a lesson to teach. There will be plenty of music and lots of festive cheer to warm the heart, even if the weather is particularly wintry outside.

A Christmas Carol completes its run on 20 January.


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