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Twelve Theatre Things of Christmas

December 9, 2015

With the launch of “Get Into London Theatre” (GILTS) yesterday, the season has truly started, I always feel. Fir trees and turkeys may feel differently, but for me it’s all about the “GILTS.”

Anyway, it got me ruminating on the other things that always happen in the theatre world during the Christmas season…


1) The Theatre Royal, Haymarket, always has the best decorated foyer and tree of any West End venue.

2) It’s impossible to escape the “giving” season. Think Mr Cumberbatch was doing a ‘hard sell’ from the stage? He’s nothing compared to what your show’s cast will do this season – even taking a bow before beating the audience to the foyer, where they will rattle those tins for charity as only trained actors used to scrounging for loose change can.

3) It’s also impossible to escape the “party” season. Even at a real “laugh a minute” drama, at least 2 of the audience will be “suitably refreshed” before the show – with their “nished as pewts” friends arriving late and being even more so.

4) That huge star brought in at enormous expense for the panto season will catch something off the kiddie chorus / get bitten by the pony / develop bunions from the glass slippers or just get fed up… and go home early. Everybody then pretends that somebody who once unblocked a sink in the background on “EastEnders” is a fantastic substitute Good Fairy (and may even be right).

5) Nobody wants to see a show on Christmas Eve, so the producers panic discount from the week before.

6) From10pm until Midnight on Christmas Eve, will sell more “Dinner and Show” packages to big hits, and “Premium Seats” to mediocre shows than it has sold in the previous month. All credit card names will be male.

7) Some lunatic marketing person (probably trained in Saudi Arabia) will think Boxing Day is a good time to launch a theatre ticket sale. As with “Black Friday,” everybody is more interested in cheap electricals and clothes – wise up, man! (did you see what I did there – clever. Not.)

8) By the end of Christmas week, most shows will have more understudies, standby, alternate and swing cast members performing than regulars. 10 shows in a week takes its toll…

9) A spoofing “adult” pantomime will find its front row filled by a busload of primary school kids, due to a mix up at the bookings agency.

10) “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will announce simultaneously that their shows have “broken box office records for the show / theatre / West End” over the season. Actually, not hard with 3 extra performances a week and a price increase across the venue since last year…

10) A million children will be captivated by their very first trip to the theatre. A few will become the biggest stars of the future.

11) Everybody will do a “12 Days of Christmas” list on their blog. Except me, as I can’t think of a twelfth one. They then finish with an ironic joke that they can’t think of a twelfth one. Oh…. er…

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