TWELFTH NIGHT at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

★★★★☆ What do you get if you blend Shakespeare with panto, musicals, Arts and Crafts and Indian and Oscar Wilde influences? The answer from director Christopher Luscombe and designer Simon Higlett, is a delightful production that shows The Bard to be infinitely enjoyable, adaptable and pertinent.

LITTLE MERMAID at the Egg Theatre, Bath

★★★★★ Bea Roberts’ freely adapted version of the Hans Christian Andersen story is certainly child friendly and being staged in Bath’s cauldron of creativity that is the Egg, we might be tempted to leave it at that. Yet this is a show that could sit happily on any of our stages. Big in imagination, big in talent and big in ambition,

ALADDIN at Bristol Hippodrome

★★★★★ The first live theatre I ever saw was a Bristol Old Vic production of Dick Whittington way back in the mid-1950’s, starring Lally Bowers as Fairy Snowflake. No pantomime I have seen since has quite recaptured the sense of wonder that I experienced back then – how could it? – but this production comes very close.


★★★☆☆ Actors will either understand the style of acting required or they’ll find themselves unprepared by drama school and feel a little naked in terms of technique. All of which brings me to the delight one has in a performer such as Jon Monie, a regular at this time of year (‘by popular demand’) whose performances are as welcome as a hot toddy against the gathering chill outside.

WORKING CHRISTMAS at the Old Fire Station, Oxford

★★★★★ Without any preachiness, Working Christmas offers a perfect antidote to 2017 – a tale of healing, a tale of understanding someone with whom you might never normally cross paths. Once again, Donahoe and Rowland have managed to capture the real meaning of Christmas. Perfect.