With Christmas right around the corner ‘tis the season for busy shopping sprees, too many parties and cheesy pantomimes. Sometimes it can all get a bit too much! So, if you’re looking for something a bit different but still with a festive flair, then don’t despair! There are plenty of fantastic shows on offer to give you some festive fun -with a twist!

Every year thousands of people flock to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. However, if you want the fun without all the crowds this year, try the alternative Winterville at Victoria Park in East London. Winterville includes loads of amazing attractions and not least is their unusual festive circus offering, The Circus of Horrors ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ from the 12 – 19 DecemberFeaturing sword swallowers, death defying aerial acts and even a human pin cushion, this is a spooky spectacular not to be missed.

If crazy circus acts only whet your appetite for festive fun, then later on make your way to The Glory, (also in East London) for A Christmas Night at the Musicals. There you can join Olivier Award winning ‘La Soiree’, Edinburgh Fringe favourite Le Gateaux Chocolat and The Glory’s very own alternative drag star, Jonny Woo as they present fabulously festive versions of their popular musical shows. It’s a perfect treat for anyone who loves cabaret, but as it is only running for seven nights through December it’d be wise to check it out soon!

Alternatively, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty – New Adventures breathes new life into the classic ballet for audiences who prefer something a little more traditional. Matthew Bourne has focussed on the gothic aspects of this timeless tale, complete with vampires and other mystical beings! Yet with stunning choreography, costumes and stage design, this ballet at Sadlers Wells will take you on a magical journey like no other.

If you’re already too busy with Christmas shopping and don’t have time to see a lot of shows (including all your favourite pantomimes), then try Cinderella and the Beanstalk at Theatre503. After writing a pantomime and sorting out every fine detail, Josh, John and James realise that they have forgotten to hire a cast! A hilarious three man pantomime follows; a mash up of all your favourite pantomimes in one! A perfect twist on your old-fashioned panto, but with all the gags you could want.

In need of some refreshment? Then head down to the Print Room at the Coronet for Table of Delights. Created in association with Bristol based theatre company ‘Theatre Damfino’, Table of Delights offers enchanting tales of food from field to plate with an interactive twist. Audiences are seated around a giant table whilst served bite sized tastes of delicious food, crafted by chefs Claire Thomson and Matt Williamson. Although made with younger audiences in mind there is also an adults menu for big kids at heart! A delicious start to all that Christmas indulgence.

If you still want some family fun, why not check out Mr Rabbit meets Brer Santa at The Puppet Barge? Described as ‘one of the sweetest shows in London’ by The Guardian, Mr Rabbit meets Brer Santa is based on the Brer Rabbit folk lore from South and North America. The story is brought to life with beautiful marionette puppets, a Christmas delight for all of the family!

These amazing shows are just a small selection of London’s quirky offerings this December. But all of them show that even if you don’t fancy the traditional Christmas entertainment, there are still loads of fantastic theatrical offerings to suit any taste. So, get along to one now and get into the Christmas spirit!

Image from: Table of Delights