What’s on at the theatre this January

Posted 11th January 2024

Hoppy talkin’, talking, hoppy talk!

A show produced by Royal & Derngate plays on the Royal stage and helps get the new year off to a flying start. Read all about it and then stop pond-ering and go book tickets, says Pulse’s Sammy Jones as she casts an eye over January’s stage shows in the town…

Already a celebrated West End hit, 2:22 A Ghost Story will bring chills to the Derngate (Jan 5-13), with a cast of class including The Wanted’s Jay McGuiness, Emmerdale actress Emma Wade, Call the Midwife’s George Rainford and Vera Chok from Hollyoaks.

This supernatural thriller bagged the gong for Best New Play at the Whatsonstage Awards and is funny and adrenaline-fuelled in equal measure.

Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben. Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is getting closer, so they’re going to stay up… until 2:22… and then they’ll know. And so will you if you dare to take a ticket.

The Pasadena Roof Orchestra will dazzle at The Royal (Jan 10) with classics from the pens of Irving Berlin, Ray Noble and Cole Porter, as well as electrifying hot jazz from the likes of Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington.

Pack up your troubles, come on get happy – this show is guaranteed to chase all your cares away, at least for a little while, with the pick of the hot dance music from the 20s and 30s.

Die Hard parody Yippee Ki Yay (The Royal, Jan 11), was postponed last year due to the temporary closure of the building, but the curtain will rise this time.
When gunmen seize an LA skyscraper, off duty policeman John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. This uplifting action romp (and unauthorised parody) pays affectionate tribute to the iconic 80s festive fan favourite. Divorce, foot trauma and German terrorists all feature in the delivery. Obviously.

Another rescheduled event is funny man Carl Hutchinson (The Royal, Jan 12), and a day after the Geordie boy plays, The Dazzling Diamonds bring their brand-new comedy drag show to the venue (Jan 13).

Songs from artists including Dolly Parton, Cher and Adele will air, and adult themes and strong language is a given as Lola Lush, Miss Alexis and Bailey La Creame deliver glamour, laughter and fun.

A Royal & Derngate and Spymonkey co-production follows (The Royal Jan 19 – Feb 3) with The Frogs, ‘a delirious trip through Greek theatre, a monster-filled Underworld and classic vaudeville double acts. It promises more existential angst than Clash of the Titans and more bronzed oiled torsos than Waiting For Godot. Oh, and there’s a jumping chorus of tap-dancing frogs!’

A night filled with beauty, wisdom and courage arrives at The Derngate (Jan 20-23) when Shen Yun invites you to experience China before communism, on an extraordinary journey through China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture.

The scene is set for an exquisite night, but don’t take our word for it, take that of Strictly’s head judge, Shirley Ballas, instead.
“I’ve never seen anything quite so beautifully choreographed in my entire life,” she declared.

Sarah Millican returns for a two-night Derngate stay (Jan 24 & 25) with Late Bloomer, and plenty of people want to hear her discussing her erm, cracking rack and lady garden. It’s all sold out.

The ‘80s Show (Derngate, Jan 26) will take you on a journey of nostalgia to the times when things were fun. Remember those days?!
Britain’s most-successful dance group, Diversity, bring their Supernova show to the venue (Jan 29-31). You know who they are and what they do, and their routines get more wow-some with each tour, as we can verify. You’ll be in for a real treat.

They are supporting The Trussell Trust, so please take along some non-perishable food to the date, and the trust will distribute it to people trapped in poverty. Raid the cupboard – a tin of soup, a tin or carrots, a bag of pasta…every little helps.

Follow the yellow brick road to The Old Savoy and take your seats for a full-length ballet adaptation of that classic among classics, The Wizard of Oz (January 26).
It’s family friendly, so it’s a great way to introduce youngsters to the joy of classical ballet. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, and not forgetting Toto, will remind you why there’s no place like home.