Theatrical alternatives to pantomime this festive season

Theatrical alternatives to pantomime this festive season

We Will Rock You

Including Magic Theatre, We Will Rock You and Queer Theory

Late November and December can be a tough month for regular theatre audiences immune to the charms of the pantomime: attempts to add a post-modern spin to its romantic tales of good's inevitable triumph aside, the creaking comedy and dubious gender politics don't always replace the bracing energy of intense, provocative theatre. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives available across Scotland this holiday season.

Magic Theatre
A mixture of digital media and live art, Jian Yi's personal study of 'queer/East Asian/diaspora heartbreak' draws on Artaud's notions around the theatre of cruelty and butoh – and is spiced by visuals from Cryptic associate Robbie Thomson. Promising a psychotropic experience, it's less 'he's behind you' than 'desire is keep within you'.
CCA, Glasgow, Thu 21–Fri 22 Nov; Summerhall (as part of Anatomy), Fri 13 Dec.

Strange Tales
Grid Iron join with the Traverse to adapt stories from China's past through puppetry and movement. Aiming for a world 'poised between East and West', directors Pauline Lockhart and Ben Harrison bring to life stories that have a surprisingly contemporary resonance and a mysterious immersive quality.
Traverse, Edinburgh, Sat 30 Nov–Sat 21 Dec.

Theatrical alternatives to pantomime this festive season

Magic Theatre

It's A Wonderful Life!
A Christmas classic, unashamedly sentimental but owing more to the spirit of 'Goodwill to All Men' than 'Buy a Load of Plastic Rubbish for Ungrateful Relatives'. It's the familiar tale of how one man can make a difference, and Floating Brick Theatre insist that its message retains meaning in the age of social media. And there is a free voucher for a mince pie included in the ticket price.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sun 15–Sat 21 Dec (not Fri 20).

We Will Rock You
Although most pantomimes have a better script – Ben Elton's shameless book has not been sufficiently criticised for stringing together the tunes through a plot that appears to have borrowed from a Canadian prog-rock concept album – this jukebox musical has a high tech scenography, bouncing choreography and some familiar tunes from the most famous band in the world to feature a badger-defending astronomer on guitar.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 9–Sat 28 Dec.

Queer Theory
Getting away from the pristine theatres, Queer Theory happens in a club, profers a variety of cabaret-inspired acts that celebrate the wild and the anarchic. From music through to live art, and usually with a touch of drag and some satirical humour, this monthly session has been flying its freak flag for over two years and gathering its own ferocious and funny identity and energy.
Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow, Wed 11 Dec.

Queer Theory

A queer cabaret show including live music, drag, poetry, comedy and performance art.

Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow

Thu 13 Feb

£5 / 0141 333 0900

  • 19:30 – 23:00

We Will Rock You

A run through all your Queen favourites in this musical penned by Ben Elton and members of Queen.

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Tue 18 Feb

£24.50–£41 / 01274 432000

Wed 19 Feb

£24.50–£41 / 01274 432000

Thu 20 Feb

£24.50–£41 / 01274 432000

…and 2 more dates until 22 Feb

Birmingham Hippodrome

Mon 20 Apr

£39.50–£69.50 / 0844 338 5000

Tue 21 Apr

£39.50–£69.50 / 0844 338 5000

Wed 22 Apr

£39.50–£69.50 / 0844 338 5000

…and 9 more dates until 2 May

Bristol Hippodrome

Mon 16 Mar

£13–£80.90 / 0844 847 2325

Tue 17 Mar

£13–£80.90 / 0844 847 2325

Wed 18 Mar

£13–£80.90 / 0844 847 2325

…and 3 more dates until 21 Mar

Also at:

Strange Tales

Written in China centuries ago, Pu Songling’s Strange Tales is now adapted for stage by the acclaimed immersive theatre company Grid Iron in co-production with Traverse Theatre.

It's a Wonderful Life!

Theatrical adaptation of the classic movie.

Magic Theatre – [Scenes from the Unconscious]

A contemporary digital and live art performance.

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