Friedman, Van Outen and Shaw Among Guests for Toksvig's Christmas Cracker in London

By Mark Shenton
11 Dec 2009

Broadcaster and writer Sandi Toksvig is being joined by TV veteran Ronnie Corbett and a host of special guests, including Maria Friedman, Denise van Outen, Fiona Shaw and Stephen Mangan, will appear in Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker, a variety family show being presented at London's Royal Festival Hall Dec. 15-24.

Directed by Fiona Laird, who previously directed Toksvig in the Old Vic pantomime Cinderella two years ago, the show is billed as a Christmas cabaret, featuring music, magic and comedy and including festive sing-a-longs and a re-working of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. A specially commissioned Christmas anthem has been written by Fascinating Aida's Dillie Keane, and will be conducted by Charles Hazlewood.

Created by Toksvig and Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly, each evening will see a different guest vocalist appearing, as well as a special guest actor in the role of Scrooge, as well as a different choir.

Amongst the guest singers are Maria Friedman (Dec. 15-16, 24), Sarah Connolly (Dec. 17), Denise Van Outen (Dec. 18), Barb Jungr (Dec. 19 and 23), Clive Rowe (Dec. 20) and Sharon D.Clark (Dec. 21). Amongst those playing Scrooge are Stephen Mangan (Dec. 15), Nicholas Parsons (Dec. 16), Fiona Shaw (Dec. 170, John Humphrys (Dec. 18), Roger Lloyd (Dec. 19), Jon Snow (Dec. 20), Rob Brydon (Dec. 21), Tim Pigott-Smith (Dec. 23) and Lionel Blair (Dec. 24). The choirs are Voicelab (Dec. 15-16, Dec. 23-24), Diversity (Dec. 17-19) and London Gay Men's Chorus (Dec. 20-22).

In a press statement, Jude Kelly has commented, "From Shirley Bassey's glittering shows in the late 1990s to Jarvis Cocker's all-star takes on Disney classics in 2007, the Royal Festival Hall has always had a touch of the Music Hall about it. Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker is an un-ironic and unashamedly traditional celebration of all that's best about Christmas, proving that Music Hall-style entertainment is alive and kicking in the 21st Century." To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 847 9910 or visit