Great Christmas nights out in Hull (and beyond)

It’s Christmaaaas! And there’s a magical array of entertainment across the region this year to entertain even the toughest critic.

Slade and Wizzard continue their 44-year musical battle, as Roy Wood brings his Rock and Roll Band to the Bridlington Spa for one night only on 1 December. Featuring classic hits Flowers in the Rain, Blackberry Way and of course the ever-popular I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (which was denied the festive number one by Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody back in 1973). The latter also makes an appearance in the region this year as the 70s glam rockers, minus Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, head to Hull’s iconic Welly Club on 23 December for an unforgettable night of festive fun.

Embracing the darker side of the festive season The Ropewalk Ropery Hall in Barton resurrects a Victorian tradition on 16 December, as Dyad Productions present Christmas Gothic; a trio of haunting seasonal tales that explore the frailties of human nature. Those frailties are further examined in Hull Truck Theatre’s heartening retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol (2 Dec – 6 Jan) and East Riding Theatre’s stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s 1946 film, It’s A Wonderful Life (14 Dec – 6 Jan). Love or hate the big screen version, this is a bold and brave production that sees director Jake Smith make his East Riding Theatre debut.

Speaking of brave, on 16 December Hull Minster presents The Live Nativity; a modern retelling of the Christmas story with a procession from the city’s Queen Victoria Square followed by a performance in Trinity Square. Featuring real camels, sheep and a donkey, alongside BBC Look North’s Peter Levy as the Angel Gabriel, Hull 2017’s Rosie Millard and Inspector Kirsty Tock of Humberside Police, there are guaranteed to be a few unexpected twists along the way.

There’s plenty of drama for young ones too as York Theatre Royal explores the world of ‘winged lizards’ in The Book of Dragons (12 Dec – 6 Jan). A collection of madcap tales that celebrate the people that have outwitted an alarming plague of dragons, from the small and fiery ones to the friendly and even scary ones. For those in search of a calmer alternative to the fiery dragons’ lair, The Ropewalk Ropery Hall in Barton welcomes Lily and the Snowbear on 17 December. This funny, heart-warming tale of friendship with puppetry and enchanting music is sure to thaw even the coldest heart.

And when it comes to that family favourite, pantomime, it’s rich pickings. Here in Hull, musical theatre darling Darren Day sails into port alongside Coach Trip’s Brendan Sheerin, EastEnders’ John Labey and Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick, as panto extraordinaires Qdos return to Hull New Theatre with a mesmerising version of the swashbuckling adventure Peter Pan (7 – 31 Dec).

Meanwhile, rising stars Middle Child Theatre present Cinderella, at Früit (16 – 30 Dec). Will downtrodden Cinders go to the ball? Will Prince Charming find his true love? And what of ugly sisters Booty and Licious? One thing’s for sure, this riotous version of the classic fairy tale will be wildly different to the one taking place at the Grimsby Auditorium this year (15 – 28 Dec) which sees Britain’s Got Talent impressionist Jon Clegg take on the role of loveable butler Buttons.

Elsewhere, there’ll be sequins-a-plenty as Strictly Come Dancing’s Robin Windsor steps into the spotlight in Aladdin at Bridlington Spa (15 Dec – 2 Jan) and Debbie McGee blazes a trail across the York Opera House stage in Beauty and the Beast (15 Dec – 7 Jan). York also boasts the nation’s longest-serving consecutive panto dame and this year sees panto legend Berwick Kaler reunited with local favourite Martin Barass in a unique take on the giant adventure Jack and the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal (14 Dec – 3 Feb). Meanwhile, the Scunthorpe panto gets a new home, as Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood take to the stage at the Baths Hall (13 – 31 Dec).

With so much to delight audiences of all ages this Christmas, it’s easy to see why this is the jolliest time of year. Oh yes it is!