December doesn't have to be just about Christmas-themed entertainment—check out these five London shows offering a huge variety of acts.
Timber (21-31 December)
Queen Elizabeth Hall welcomes this axe-juggling, log balancing bonanza performed by Cirque Alfonse, comprising circus performers from one family. From 66-year-old Grandad Alain to two-year-old grandson Arthur, the circus troupe leads the audience on a gravity-defying acrobatic thrill, juggling with real axes and balance on logs. It's all accompanied by folk musicians on fiddles and banjos deriving from their native Quebec.
Don Quixote (25 November-22 January)
Carlos Acosta stars in the classic tale of Don Quixote, which he also choreographs, at the Royal Opera House. The renowned Cuban dancer, a principal guest artist of The Royal Ballet, takes the part of Basilio, a dashing young barber who is in love with Kitri, the innkeeper’s daughter. The wily old Don Quixote, obsessed with chivalrous deeds he’s only read about, also enters into the fun of romance. There’s a guest appearance on selected dates by the outstanding Russian dancer Natalia Osipova.
Golem (9 December-17 January)
With captivating music, innovative animation and raw live performance, Golem is an unusual stage experience from theatre collective 1927. The concept questions whether man in the modern day is morphing into machine, and what happens when the two are combined. Premiering at the Young Vic, decide for yourself about living in a world driven by technology.
Cats The Musical (from 6 December)
Making its long-awaited return to the West End stage, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats enjoys a new run at London Palladium (from 1 Dec). Based on T. S Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, it centres around the annual Jellicle Ball, for all Jellicle cats, where their wise leader Old Deuteronomy makes decisions for the afterlife. Its scheduled 12 weeks is a far cry from its original London run, which continued for 21 years from 1981.
Tristan & Isolde (5-21 Deceber)
Wagner’s classic opera is retold with a fresh insight into this tale of illicit love, which has its roots in Celtic folklore. Tristan and Isolde are in love – however Tristan had promised that she marries his uncle, King Marke. Will their plot of poisoning the king bring the two lovers together? Christof Loy brings a new passion to this old story, at Royal Opera House.