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Photo credit: Rosalie Craig in Hex, the Flying Fredonis in Circus 1903 and Tamsin Greig and Trevor Fox in Peggy For You (Photos by Brinkoff/Mogenburg, courtesy of Circus 1903, and by Helen Maybanks)

Top theatre to see in London in December

Sophie Thomas

Sophie Thomas

February 16, 2022 18:42

The West End's twinkling lights brighten up the long, dark London nights. Feel the festive cheer at London's biggest shows in December and usher in the jolliest season with theatre trips.  We've rounded up the best shows you won't want to miss in London in December 2021. 


The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials wowed at the National Theatre in 2003. Nearly two decades later, enjoy the prequel play, The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage in December 2021. The thriller play tells of two adults who protect a child — Lyra Belacqua. Deal with daemons and grapple with forces at work in the Bridge Theatre's newest offering.

Bridge Theatre, from 2 December.

The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage tickets are on sale now.


The Rhythmics

Imagine auditioning for a band, only to learn it's a rhythmic gymnastics troupe. That's what happens to Grey (played by Noel Sullivan), a father who revives his musical dreams in a newfound way, twirling ribbons and leaping all the way to the world championships. These are The Rhythmics, and they're here to rock your world. See The Rhythmics, a new British musical, at Southwark Playhouse in December.

Southwark Playhouse, from 2 December.

The Rhythmics tickets are on sale now.


Best of Enemies 

The 1968 Presidential election saw Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey fight to win the White House. But debates weren't just happening between the presidential candidates; Best of Enemies plans to settle what happened between William F Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal. Individually, their ideas were polar opposites. Together, they transformed American politics. Find out how in James Graham's latest play, directed by Jeremy Herrin.

Young Vic, from 2 December.


Trouble in Mind 

In 1957, Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind was due to premiere on Broadway, but it never did. Now, just weeks after the play's Broadway premiere over half a century later, Trouble in Mind is coincidentally also being staged at the National Theatre. Tanya Moodie plays Willetta, an African-American actress who struggles to work on an anti-lynching play with a white director. Trouble in Mind explores the whiteness of 20th-century Broadway in a humorous manner, and you won't want to miss it.

National Theatre, from 2 December.


Habeas Corpus 

Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory will feel like a warm theatre hug. The raucous farce follows the Wicksteed family, a lustful group whose desires spiral out of control. With Patrick Marber at the directorial helm, and a star cast including Ria Jones and Matthew Cottle, get ready to laugh out loud.

Menier Chocolate Factory, from 3 December.

Habeas Corpus tickets are on sale now.


Pantoland at the Palladium

Be transported into a fantastical Christmas paradise at Pantoland at the Palladium this holiday season. The seasonal treats are back and better than ever in this pantomime smash, combining traditional stories and sketches with new, jawdropping tricks. In this year's pantomime, see West End pantomime veterans Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, and Gary Wilmot on stage, as well as panto newcomer Donny Osmond play the Wizard of Pantomime. Oh yes, you must book tickets!

London Palladium, from 4 December.

Pantoland at the Palladium tickets are on sale now.



Rosalie Craig plays the fairy in a new Sleeping Beauty musical, making its world premiere at the National Theatre in December. Be enchanted by this whimsical world, where spirits come to life and blessings may turn out to be a curse. If you can't wait to listen to the Hex musical before seeing it on stage, take a listen to three Hex songs here.

National Theatre, from 4 December.


Bring It On 

Ready? Ok! Cheerleading is set to take over London theatres — But I'm A Cheerleader opens at the Turbine, and now Bring It On makes its long-anticipated London premiere. Amber Davies and Louis Smith lead the cast in this high-octane musical, charting the highs and lows of competitive high school cheerleading. They'll leave it all on the floor, so get ready to flip out with excitement.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, from 8 December.

Bring It On tickets are on sale now.


A Fight Against... (Una Lucha Contra)

Can violence bring communities together, or do vicious acts drive people away from one another? Chilean playwright Pablo Manzi's latest play follows groups across the Americas to discuss how aggression can be used in combative ways. 

Royal Court, from 9 December.

Donmar Warehouse (Photo by Johan Persson)

Force Majeure

Force Majeure goes from the Cannes Film Festival to the London stage. Rory Kinnear stars in Force Majeure at the Donmar Warehouse, which finally opens after a two-year postponement. The black comedy sees a family on their Alps skiing holiday, and everything's working out well. Quickly, the family slide on thin ice and they have to deal with hilarious and tragic situations.

Donmar Warehouse, from 10 December.

Tamsin Greig (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

Peggy For You 

Theatre agents typically stay out of the spotlight, but not Peggy Ramsay. Being represented by her comes with its own trials, but Peggy's an industry heroine. So who better to take on the formidable character than the Olivier Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig? See the newest London production of Peggy For You at Hampstead Theatre, a play that rounds off the theatre's eclectic 2021 offerings.

Hampstead Theatre, from 10 December.


Circus 1903 

Step into London's grandest big top this December, as the turn-of-the-century show Circus 1903 is set to have audiences in disbelief for another year. During Circus 1903, see jugglers, trapeze artists, acrobats, contortionists and stuntmen all showcase their newest tricks — don't try them at home though! Thankfully, you'll have a few moments to breathe, as the stunning lifesize elephant puppets entertain the little ones in the audience. Roll up, roll up, for the craziest circus in town.

Royal Festival Hall, from 16 December.

Circus 1903 tickets are on sale now.

Photo credit: Rosalie Craig in Hex, the Flying Fredonis in Circus 1903 and Tamsin Greig and Trevor Fox in Peggy For You (Photos by Brinkoff/Mogenburg, courtesy of Circus 1903, and by Helen Maybanks)

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