The North: Theatre Guide Monkey

Bored of spending time with the family this Christmas? Check out our theatre guide monkey’s guide of what’s on up North.

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If you’ve found yourself up North with nothing to do this Christmas, I’m your man! Um, well … primate. Anyway, here’s my list of all the theatre that you’d be foolish to miss over the festive period.

Greater Manchester

Zack – The Royal Exchange, Manchester (on until 22nd January)

The Royal Exchange is always a gamble. I’ve seen the best and worst of theatre here, but it usually puts on a good Christmas show. This one’s for the family, and sounds like a pleasant tale, if not a gripping theatrical spectacle.

A Christmas Carol – The Lowry Theatre, Salford (on until 8th January)

The Library Theatre Company never fail to impress. Although they’re not known for ground-breaking theatre, they specialise in good, honest drama and often offer a solid adaptation of a classic. Plus, this piece has some impressive endorsement from The British Theatre Guide: “A perfect marriage of music, movement, acting, storytelling and visual imagery in a slick and superbly-performed piece of theatre.”

David Copperfield – Bolton Octagon Theatre, Bolton (on until 15th January)

Clearly the current financial climate is generating a Dickens revival up North. Well, if you’re going to go for a Victorian misery memior, David Copperfield is an appropriate choice. This production looks particularly good.


Peter Pan – The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield (0n until 9th January)

The Crucible’s offering of Me and My Girl looks terrifyingly bad, but there’s no escaping the Christmas chintz in Sheffield this year. If you are in the mood for some theatrical tinsel, I’d head to The Lyceum for this *cough* ‘star-studded cast’, in a good old fashioned panto.

A Christmas Carol –  West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (on until 15th January)

This is the York-ist challenge to the Lancastrian offer on at The Lowry, and it looks good.

The North East

I hesitate to say it, but there’s not much happening up here. There’s a generous offering of local pantos at various civil halls and amateur theatres, but not much else until the new year. The biggest budget offerings are as follows:

White Christmas the Musical – The Sunderland Empire, Sunderland (on until 1st January)

I cannot think of anything more nauseating. I would certainly avoid anything musical after the gastric nightmare that is digesting a Christmas dinner, but each to their own.

Robin Hood – Theatre Royal, Newcastle (on until 15th January)

Boasting Coronation Street talent and 3D technology, this is clearly a no-expense spared production. Yet, with tickets for a tenner, this is clearly a ‘win win’ situation. Total bargin.


Aladdin – The Empire Theatre, Liverpool (on until 11th January)

Liverpool does not betray its association with all things fake-tanned, and manages to produce a panto head-lined by none other than Pamela Anderson. Worth a trip just to see dads trying to explain to their families why this is a suitable Christmas treat. It a

lso ‘stars’ Les Dennis.

No Wise Men – The Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (on until 15th January)

For an alternative to the above, head to The Everyman Theatre for this comedy. It received a glowing review on BBC Four’s Front row, and it’s pitched as a compilation of our favourite traditional Christmas scenes with a modern narrative twist. Good stuff.

And, if you do venture down South, make sure you take a look at the Theatre Guide Fairy’s recommendations.