BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Weds 30 Nov – Sun 1 Jan
88 London Road
Brighton’s only professional panto returns for a fourth year to prove beauty is more than skin deep. Join them on an exciting adventure of magic and enchantment to one of the world’s most popular fairy-tales. 88 London Road brings its own unique style and telling to Beauty And The Beast. Fun, laughs, dance, magic, music and comedy are to be had by the barrel-load this festive season at Brighton’s best pantomime. The cursed Beast lives alone with only a mirror to the outside world, with seemingly no hope of happiness. In a small village a short distance away, our beautiful and headstrong maiden goes on a journey to overcome her fears and fall in love.
DICK BARTON AND THE TANGO OF TERROR
Thurs 1 Dec – Sat 10 Dec
New Venture Theatre
Dick Barton, hero of the BBC’s acclaimed 1940s wireless serial, is brought back to life by Phil Willmott. His third critically acclaimed, and hugely successful, musical comedy is a tearaway evening of tongue-in-cheek fun at social conventions and preconceptions from the era. A ruthless Latin lothario has set his sights on the women of London. No member of the opposite sex is safe from his sultry seductions. Thank heavens that square-jawed British hero, Dick Barton, is on hand to save the dignity and diamonds of our dowagers and debutantes. But will the fancy footwork of this ‘Johnny Foreigner’ and the dreaded EFIL (Evil Foreigners In London) defeat Barton and his pals Jock and Snowy? Of course not, they’ll never be a match for our heroes.
AMONGST THE STARS
Fri 2 – Sat 24 Dec
Theatre Royal Brighton
Herringbone Arts, the team behind last year’s sell out hit A Winter’s Trail, return with a magical tale for young children and adults to share. Taking place in Brighton’s most loved theatre, this promenade experience leads the audiences on a magical journey. Something very precious has disappeared, without it things are not quite right – things don’t happen the way they should. A search party is dispatched and amidst the red velvet, gold leaf and limelight they discover a magical world, a world that is keeping something very special, very safe. Most suitable for 4 – 7 year olds, and their adults, it offers a wondrously composed and poignant reminder of the true meaning of the Christmas message.
Sat 3 Dec
The final episode in Firecat Masquerade’s interactive theatre series employs five participants as elves in Santa’s workshop. It’s an irreverent and satirical take on festive holiday-mania and corporate culture. The minimum-wage elves must endure the bureaucratic nightmare that is Santa’s Grotto, battling red tape and the toxic aspirations of the North Pole’s profit-obsessed Board to make sure that children get toys. Everyone must work together, puzzling over the Naughty and Nice Dossiers to ensure presents are wrapped, addressed to the right children and delivered on time. All the while, supervisors do their utmost to distract from the task of introducing evermore byzantine regulations, branding missions, and team bonding exercises. SantaCorp is coming to town… so be productive.
A GLASS OF NOTHING & WE THREE KINGS
Thurs 8 – Fri 9 Dec
Fresh from a sell-out run at Fringe, Brighton Blonde Productions present two darkly comic tales by Peter Kenny. Both star Beth Symons, Dylan Corbett-Bader, Kitty Underhill and James Kuszewski. In A Glass of Nothing, anything can go wrong when a young woman’s wildest dreams come true. Part weird fairy tale and part satirical take on modern theatre, it holds a mirror up to our self-obsessed society. Joining it is the world premiere of We Three Kings. It’s a twisted new nativity play, filled with gender-blurring and quite a bit of drag. It’s both cheery, offbeat and dark, just like a proper Brighton Christmas should be. It’ll be so much fun you’ll want to stuff a turkey.
THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN
Thurs 8 Dec
Acclaimed writing duo Mitchell and Nixon return to Rialto following their hugely successful 50-date tour. Award-winning company The Foundry Group and BBC4’s The Ornate Johnsons join forces for this popular revival of a hit play about British aviation pioneers Alcock and Brown. Crossing between Canada and Ireland in less than 16 hours, they made the world’s first transatlantic airmail flight. This stunning work looks at their daredevil journey across the Atlantic, through fog, sleet, snow and hail, in the tiny open cockpit of a converted Vickers biplane. What made them do it? Why have they been forgotten? And how on earth can two actors tell it all with cardboard, chairs and some left-over props?
CAST IRON CHRISTMAS SELECTION BOX
Fri 9 Dec
The Sweet Dukebox’s resident drama group return for a final show of 2016, with their Christmas tradition of unwrapping brand new scripts on stage. It means the audience can see the plays at the same time the cast does. Cast Iron Theatre brings together local playwrights, directors and actors for a regular presentations of brand new short works written, performed and directed by themselves. This time there’s no rehearsal and no safety net. Local writers have been asked to come up with Christmas-themed plays, and now it’s time for the actors to perform, but there’s no telling what could be coming. For one night only and never to be repeated, their skills are being put to the test… At least the scripts are all gift-wrapped.
GHOST STORIES AT CHRISTMAS: A VICTORIAN TRADITION
Sat 10 & Fri 16 Dec
What could be more Christmassy than having the living daylights scared out of you? That’s what the Victorians believed, and they knew a thing or two about creating the perfect festive season. The era’s most famous writer, Charles Dickens, penned his own seasonal take on the genre in the same year as the first commercially produced Christmas card. He’d later regularly publish ghost stories at Christmas time in his periodical All the Year Round. It reflected a fashion for spooky tales, something inspired by their changing social, scientific and industrial landscape. So head back to a time of séances, gaslight and the supernatural, as the Dukebox gets spooked with stories from the likes of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe.
Tues 13 – Sat 31 Dec
Theatre Royal Brighton
At the darkest time of year, the Theatre Royal brightens up our lives with a ray of pure sunshine. Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, [Sunny Afternoon] mixes slick theatricality and ingenious storytelling. This sensational smash hit show tells the captivating tale of how one of Britain’s greatest bands, The Kinks, rose to stardom. It’s a colourful story – as the group had a complicated dynamic, repeatedly falling out with each other and those exploiting them. Soaring above it all is the songs, as the majesty of the Davies’ brother song writing is truly brought to life. It transports back to 60s London, a time of optimism when the energy and magic of British music had the world in its grasp.
BEAUTY & THE BEAST
Weds 14 – Sat 31 Dec
Ropetackle Arts Centre
Following four sell-out years of panto fun at Ropetackle, LP Creatives return this Christmas with another magical and magnificent tale. It’s an exciting adventure that will transport the audience to the village of Marsh de Mello. There’s an amazing love story waiting to unfold which will tickle your French fancy! This spectacular show has all the elements you’d expect from a traditional pantomime, with oodles of silliness. It also features a voice and projection appearance from CBeebies star Rebecca Keatley as the Magical Mirror. The Beast dwells alone in a castle, but does a maid from the village hold the key to reversing his curse? I think we all know the answer to that…
Weds 14 – Thurs 15 Dec
Brighton’s favourite subversive performance company, Squall + Frenzy, presents a daring new adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s 1896 symbolist masterpiece. A balancing act, blending surreal critiques of current political events and a post-pantomime romp through some of Shakespeare’s most loved stories, Ubu Roi has earnt a controversial reputation. So get ready for an absurdly grotesque killing spree and the sex-capades of one man… a man who promises to make Poland great again! Père Ubu is the kind of villain you love to hate, and he hates you just as much as you hate him. This is a magnificent work of sheer outrageousness, and comic grotesqueness.
CATCH ME! (ATTRAPE MOI)
Mon 26 – Fri 30 Dec
Twirling hoops, dancing diabolos, acrobats soaring through the air. That’s all in a day’s work (or play) for Flip FabriQue, Canada’s new cool kids of circus. Now they bring the English premiere of their acclaimed show, Catch Me! (Attrape Moi) to Brighton for the festive season. High-flying, fearless and bags of fun, Quebec’s hottest nouveau cirque crew will impress all with feats of skill and daring (including some dramatic turns on a trampoline wall) in a crowd-pleasing display of athleticism and showmanship. It’s a circus sensation which has played to audiences around the world, receiving a nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience at last year’s Drama Desk Awards in New York.