Fairy tales and a 19th century re-invention of Christmas come to the stage this winter. Harry Mottram gets all Christmassy with anticipation.
If you’re worried about Donald Trump, Brexit and a melt down in the economy with the High Street going bust maybe you should say humbug and go and see A Chistmas Carol at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Charles Dicken’s novella is often seen as the re-invention of Christmas in the 19th century with its concentration on redemption, food and goodwill. The book has been frequently dramatised, filmed and serialised including animations and musical theatre. So it will be interesting to see how Tom Morris’ adaptation with Lee Lyford and music by Gwyneth Herbert works.
The show runs from Thursday, November 28 to Sunday January 12, 2020.
Over in Bath at the Theatre Royal in the egg is Rapunzel, the theatre’s Christmas show written by Annie Siddons and directed by Nik Partridge (December 6 – January 12).
The story of an orphaned baby rescued by an eccentric herbalist who raises her as her own. However, this act of love comes with a price. When Rapunzel blossoms into an independent young woman, her mother confines her to a tower to protect her from the prying eyes of the world.
The egg is my favourite theatre space in the region and the theatre’s Christmas play is always creative and inventive. There are also two dramas for pre-school children in December and January with The Snow Mouse and Squirrel.
Fans of Daphne De Maurier’s novels may be interested by Bath Theatre Royal staging Joseph O’Connor’s adaption of My Cousin Rachel from November 13-23. However, inexplicably the theatre notes don’t even acknowledge the original author’s name.
Bristol’s Tobacco Theatre’s Christmas show Snow White runs from November 28 to January 19, 2020. Don’t expect a pantomime style version or even a conventional retelling of the fairy tale popularised by the Brothers Grimm.
Meanwhile the Taunton Brewhouse theatre is staging The Railway Children (December 9-30) from the original 1905 novel by Edith Nesbit
Don’t miss Axbridge based theatre company Mumblecrust Theatre who stage HG Wells’ The Time Machine on November 2, in Bridport at the Lyrick theatre. Details at www.mumblecrust.com.
Weston-super-Mare’s Playhouse features Cinderella in a traditional pantomime starring Linda Lusardi (Deceember 7-31) and Bath Theatre Royal stages Beauty and Beast in the main house (December 12-January 12).
Steve Bennet is back in panto with Beauty and the Beast at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre (Novemer 30 – January 5). He has been a fixture in the city’s pantomime scene on and off for years and is always good value. When the theatre decided to drop pantos he appeared at The Bicycle Shed leaving the Northcott to forsake the popular panto tradition and to take a financial hit.
The Bristol Hippodrome is staging Dick Whittington with Shane Richie from December 7 to January 5. All of these pantomimes are big productions with all the elements you would hope for with ticket prices to match. If you’ve never been then make an effort and get in the spirit as they are part of the Great British theatrical tradition.
Coming to the Roxy Cinema in Axbridge in November is Red Joan on Friday, November 22, with Judi Dench caught up by her past relationship with Soviet Russia and nuclear secrets. While on Friday, November 29, Wild Rose concerns a Glaswegian ex-con who dreams of becoming a Nashville star.
More cinema is at the Watershed in Bristol which screens Ken Loach’s new movie Sorry We Missed You from November 4, which examines the ruinous cost of zero-hours contracts for one working class family’s struggle to achieve anything but basic survival in austerity Britain.
Bristol City’s art gallery continues its exhibition of magical objects and stories that reveal how magic has been used to heal, hunt and harm across the world. Do You Believe in Magic? features objects that embody it and the beings that exist between the natural and the supernatural.
King John’s Hunting Lodge Museum in Axbridge is open from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the morning of the first Saturday of each month (coinciding with the Farmers’ Market in the Square) and for the Christmas market. A wonderful place to visit.