STRANGER THINGS: THE FIRST SHADOW Leads Our Top Ten Shows for December

Check out BroadwayWorld's recommendations as 2023 comes to a close

By: Dec. 01, 2023
STRANGER THINGS: THE FIRST SHADOW Leads Our Top Ten Shows for December
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

The West End says farewell to 2023 in style with some incredible theatre. We visit the world before it went upside down, go inside the government during the pandemic and get a London transfer of a time-travelling comedy.

Make sure you check back for all Broadwayworld's news, interviews and reviews.

1. Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre

The phrase "much-anticipated" is often used for new productions, but the world premiere of Stranger Things: The First Shadow has caused veritable hysteria! Adapted from the cult Netflix series and brought to life by a multi-award-winning creative team, this gripping new adventure will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story – and may hold the key to the end.

Directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Kate Trefry, there are few spoilers available, but we are promised to visit the world before it went upside down.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow is at The Phoenix Theatre until 25 August 2024. Book tickets here.

2. Edward Scissorhands, Sadler's Wells

Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands has carved a place in the hearts of audiences world-wide since its premiere in 2005.

Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, Bourne and his New Adventures Company returns to Sadler's Wells with this witty, bittersweet story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world. A perfect festive treat for all the family.

Edward Scissorhands is at Sadler's Wells from 5 December 2023 - 20 January 2024. Book tickets here.

STRANGER THINGS: THE FIRST SHADOW Leads Our Top Ten Shows for December

3. The House With Chicken Legs, Southbank Centre

Co-produced by theatre company Les Enfants Terribles and HOME Manchester and based on Sophie Anderson’s much-loved novel, the story follows Marinka, a young girl trying to find her feet when her home is quite literally pulled from under her.

A magical musical tale, the show features incredible puppets, projection and live music; Marinka dreams of a normal life, where she can stay somewhere long enough to make friends. But there’s one problem – her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning.

The House With Chicken Legs, Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre from 13 - 30 December 2023. Book tickets here.

4. Macbeth, Donmar Warehouse

In an embarassment of riches, Shakespeare’s most extraordinary psychological drama is led at the Donmar this winter by David Tennant, who plays the title role for the first time in his stage career. Joined by Cush Jumbo as Lady Macbeth and directed by Donmar Associate Director Max Webster, this promises to make a real impact.

Macbeth is at The Donmar Warehouse from 8 December 2023 - 10 February 2024. Tickets are currently sold out, but check here for availability.

STRANGER THINGS: THE FIRST SHADOW Leads Our Top Ten Shows for December
Johnny Flynn & Tuppence Middleton in rehearsal for The Motive and the Cue
Photo Credit: Marc Douet

5. The Motive and the Cue, Noël Coward Theatre

The hugely celebrated production of The Motive and the Cue transfers to the West End this December for 15 weeks only, following a sold-out run at The National Theatre.

Sam Mendes directs Johnny Flynn as Richard BurtonMark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor, in this fierce and funny play by Jack Thorne, offering a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the fascinating relationship between art and celebrity.

The Motive and the Cue is at the Noël Coward Theatre from 9 December 2023 - 23 March 2024. Book tickets here.

6. Ulster American, Riverside Studios

David Ireland's darkly comic play has a short, eight week run starring Hollywood royalty Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis and Louisa Harland, directed by the excellent Jeremy Herrin.

An Oscar-winning American actor, an English director and a Northern Irish playwright are about to begin rehearsals for a new play — one that could transform each of their careers. But when it turns out that they’re not on the same page, the night threatens to spiral out of control.

Ulster American is at Riverside Studios from 4 December 2023 - 27 January 2024. Book tickets here.

7. Pandemonium, Soho Theatre

Written by the master of satire, Armando Iannucci, and directed by Patrick Marber, this new production looks at how our great leaders grappled first with the Pandemic and then with each other.

With a huge amount of material at his fingertips, the play marks Iannucci's exciting first move into writing for theatre and promises to be caustic enough to warm your hearts at this time of year!

Pandemonium is at Soho Theatre from 1 December 2023 –  13 January 2024. Book tickets here.

8. The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House

Peter Wright’s much-loved production for The Royal Ballet returns to the Royal Opera House for the ultimate festive treat for dance lovers.

Join Clara at a delightful Christmas Eve party that becomes a magical adventure once everyone else is tucked up in bed. Marvel at the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s score, as Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker fight the Mouse King and visit the Sugar Plum Fairy in the glittering Kingdom of Sweets.

The Nutcracker is at the Royal Opera House from 6 December 2023 – 13 January 2024. Book tickets here.

STRANGER THINGS: THE FIRST SHADOW Leads Our Top Ten Shows for December

9. The Time Machine- A Comedy, Park Theatre

With a UK tour recently announced, Original Theatre Company's adaptation is a chaotic comedy that makes the author himself a time-traveller, featuring hilarious set malfunctions, out-of-sync lines, and audience participation.

Starring Michael Dylan, Dave Hearn (founding member of the Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre) and Amy Revelle, the Park Theatre hosts the London transfer of their brand-new version of HG Wells’ masterpiece.

Will they be able to defeat the space time paradox - or at least get through the second half?

The Time Machine- A Comedy is at the Park Theatre until 30 December 2023. Book tickets here.

10. Cold War, Almeida Theatre

Based on Paweł Pawlikowski’s Academy Award-nominated film, Cold War is an epic love story spanning the decades and breadth of Europe at its most divided.

Featuring traditional Polish songs, stirring choral arrangements, alongside music from Elvis CostelloConor McPherson‘s adaptation of Cold War is a compelling story of passion, redemption, and the journey to be free.

Directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold, this poignant new musical features Anya Chalotra and Luke Thallon.

Cold War is at the Almeida Theatre until 27 January 2024. Book tickets here.