These days, the Christmas season seems to take up more resources and planning than ever. From John Lewis adverts to Black Friday shopping sprees, everybody seems to be on a clock that’s inexorably counting down every minute and rebuking our tendency to procrastinate. Thank goodness for goofy pastimes like falling over at the ice rink or watching dramatic productions implode. Somehow, watching others mess up makes our own bad planning and failures just that bit more bearable.

Christmas Festival – Royal Albert Hall
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Those looking for a fairly traditional festive music programme will have plenty to choose from at the Royal Albert Hall this December. Raymond Gubbay is the acknowledged master of events aimed at the popular end of the classical market and Christmas is almost tailor made for his unique combination of costumes, choirs and candlelit string sections.

Events, which take up most of the second half of December, range from the relatively high-brow Handel’s Messiah to the jolly Christmas Carol Singalong. In between these you can enjoy a full organ recital, a choral masterclass by the Kings College Choir or an atmospheric candlelit programme from the Mozart Festival Orchestra in full period costume (the orchestra that is – you can where whatever you fancy!).

www.royalalberthall.com

Peter Pan Goes Wrong – Apollo Theatre
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An affectionate end up of amateur drama and the ego clashes that occur in provincial theatres, this seasonal offering from Mischief Theatre is packed with satire, laughs and pratfalls. In this comedy, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society present Peter Pan with such ineptitude and silliness that each scene seems to play out as a ballet of destruction and chaos.

The famous story of an evergreen youth fighting evil pirates in Neverland has proved to be a logistical nightmare for even the most professional outfits. Flying kids, miniature fairies and a homicidal crocodile are all dependent on precise timing and reliable effects; none of which our hapless thespians possess. The result is a side-splitting comedy that seems to be always on the verge of falling apart but mercifully hangs on until the disastrous grand finale.

www.peterpangoeswrong.com

Anton & Erin’s Christmas Cracker
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Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, best known for their performances on smash hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, take time out from their busy touring schedule for a festive frolic of fancy footwork. Incorporating popular ballroom routines into seasonal arrangements has proved to be a successful formula for the duo and this Christmas promises to be as dazzling as ever.

“Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, “Let It Snow” and “Frosty The Snowman” are all given a glamorous swing makeover by Strictly experts Richard Balcombe and Lance Ellington. It’s a perfect setting for the couple to really show off the expertise and grace which has led to them being dubbed “The King and Queen of Ballroom”.

http://www.royalalberthall.com/

New Year’s Fireworks – Southbank/Embankment
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Watch the Thames turn into a spectacular river of fire as Big Ben rings in the New Year. Since the Olympic Games in 2012, London has been the standard for all metropolitan-based firework extravaganzas. Situated on floating barges, under bridges and mounted on the pods of the London Eye the pyrotechnics are televised around the world but nothing beats being there.

The London display is accompanied by a thrilling musical backdrop as popular classics, speech samples and urban beats build to a massive crescendo. Because of the popularity of this event, it is bound to be ticketed but it’s definitely worth the hassle. London Underground is running tube trains through the night so there’s no fear of being stranded.

https://www.london.gov.uk/events/2016-12-31/london-new-years-eve-fireworks-2016

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