What’s On in Manchester – December 2019

*Puts on best Noddy Holder voice*… IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!! I wish it could be Christmas every day because December really is the most wonderful time of year. Although the weather outside is frightful, there is nothing better than sitting in the warmth watching some wonderfully festive theatre.

Manchester never fails to deliver theatrical Christmas crackers and this year is certainly no exception. Here is a selection of what stocking fillers are on offer across local theatres in December.


Until 29th December 2019

The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit Hope Mill Theatre Manchester What's on in December

After their resounding success with staging superb, award-winning musicals, Hope Mill Theatre are ending the year with the festive sequel to the much-loved Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit depicts the story of Tiny Tim, now that he is all grown up. Sixteen year-old Timothy Cratchit wants to find his way in the world without the help of his benefactor, Ebeneezer Scrooge.

He embarks on an adventure that will lead him to join the great comic Guiseppe Grimaldi, encountering love and loss along the way. It is a heartwarming coming-of-age story that stars Ryan Kopel in the lead role, with Paul Greenwood playing Scrooge.

To book tickets, please visit Hope Mill Theatre’s website.


Until 1st February 2020

Gypsy Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester What's on in December

The Royal Exchange have also produced a high calibre of musicals, from The Producers to West Side Story. This Christmas, traditions are continued with a new revival of Gypsy.

Gypsy is a magnificent musical about Mamma Rose, who pushes her children into the world of show business, living her career through her two daughters, Louise and June. At a young age, their cutie-pie family act strikes gold, but will it last when the girls grow up?

Gypsy is the ultimate celebration of the glamour of showbiz, which doesn’t fail to show the hard graft that you have to put in to achieve fame. It also shows the power of the mother-daughter bond.

With a superb cast and fantastic songs written by Stephen Sondheim, this is not to be missed!

Tickets are available through the Royal Exchange Theatre’s website or via their box office phone line on 0161 833 9833.


11th – 30th December 2019

The insanely talented 1927 Productions return to HOME this month with their much anticipated new show, Roots, having previously impressed audiences with their critically acclaimed productions, Golem and The Animals and Children Took to the Streets.

1927 Productions’ signature style combines theatre with live music and stunning Fritz-Langian animations. Their clever approach of interacting with the animations is spectacular and mind-blowing.

Roots is a series of rarely told folktales that offer us a glimpse into imaginations from a pre-industrialised age, and brings to life magical birds, fat cats and tyrannical ogres. It considers the stories of our forefathers, and how they might shape the stories of the future.

Everything 1927 Productions have produced so far has been superb so my expectations are high for Roots.

Please visit HOME for more information and to book tickets.


Until 31st December 2019

Mr Poppers Penguins Sale Waterside Arts Manchester Theatre Review Pins and Needles
Picture © Jason Lock Photography.

Mr Popper is a painter and decorator, but dreams of Antarctic adventures. Imagine his astonishment when, one day, a packing crate is delivered to his house from Admiral Drake in the South Pole, and a penguin waddles out!

Mr Popper’s Penguins is based on the book by Florence Atwater, which was famously adapted into a film starring Jim Carrey. This musical adaptation of the family favourite contains catchy songs, and 10 naughty penguin puppets, who love to cause chaos!

Pins and Needles Productions are behind bringing this story, and its puppets, to life. Their astonishing puppetry skills were impressive enough when I saw Father Christmas here last year. For Mr Popper’s Penguins, they may need to sprout a dozen pairs of arms to keep up with the mischievous penguins!

This is guaranteed to be a hit with all ages, particularly as Sale Waterside have brought back their hugely popular slumber shows, where children can wear their pyjamas and bring their favourite teddy bear. Milk and cookie packs are also sold for £2.50.

To book tickets, you can call Sale Waterside’s box office on 0161 912 5616, or through website.

My full review of Mr Popper’s Penguins is available here.


On until 11th January 2020

Jack and the Beanstalk Oldham Coliseum Review Manchester Theatre Review Panto
Sam Glen’s Jack Trott. Picture Credit – Darren Robinson.

Who doesn’t love a bit of panto? The Oldham community certainly does, and their annual pantomime has been adding some Christmas sparkle to the town for generations. It is hugely popular family fun.

This year, they are staging Jack and the Beanstalk, the classic fairy tale where Jack sells his cow for some magic beans that grow into a giant beanstalk reaching high above the clouds.

Coliseum veteran comic, Richard J Fletcher makes his debut as Dame Dotty Trott and Sam Glen stars as Jack. But it is Mitesh Soni’s vegan cow, Hazy, who has been taking Oldham by storm. With some fabulous dance mooooves, he is by far the best panto cow in the land!

To join Jack on his adventure in the magical land of the giants, please visit the website of Oldham Coliseum to buy tickets.

You can read my full review here.



3rd December 2019 – 11th January 2020

Six the Musical Lowry Theatre Manchester What's on in December

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.

We are all taught the fates of Henry VIII’s six wives when we are in school. The tyrannical monarch couldn’t help chopping the heads off those who displeased him, particularly when his wives never bore him sons.

History’s focus is always on Henry, never on the six women who became Queens of England. It’s time for them to pick up a microphone and rewrite history! Tudor Queens become pop princesses in this 80 minute celebration of girl power.

Tickets have been so popular, Six’s run has been extended for an extra week in the Lowry’s Lyric Theatre. I never understood why it was put in the smaller Quays Theatre in the first place!

For more information, or to book tickets, please visit the Lowry’s website.


Finally – Merry Christmas to all my readers. Thanks for supporting my blog over the year. I really do appreciate it.

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