Big bad pigs, goats, mermaids, giants and magic lamps - it must be Christmas showtime.

Here we round up the best festive entertainment across North and East London to book for this season.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Jacksons Lane

Ham & High: The Three Billy Goats Gruff runs at Jacksons Lane in HighgateThe Three Billy Goats Gruff runs at Jacksons Lane in Highgate (Image: Jackson's Lane)

Kaveh Rahnama, the writer and director of last year’s brilliant Jack and the Beanstalk and 2021’s A Christmas Circus Fairytale is back at the Highgate arts centre with a joyous, modern take on literature's most famous goats. Expect humour, aerial skills, and acrobatics in a family friendly fable about our empty-bellied cloven-hoofed heroes trying to feast on the lush green grass with only a big bad troll standing in their way.

December 14 until January 7, Jackson's Lane, Archway Road.

The Little Mermaid, Hoxton Hall.

Ham & High: Olivia Egbunike as the Little Mermaid at Hoxton HallOlivia Egbunike as the Little Mermaid at Hoxton Hall (Image: Hoxton Hall)

A traditional pantomime, with a fresh take on the fairytale of a mermaid whose powers are at risk when she falls in love with a landlubber. This version has a twist in the tail, with an empowered heroine, a happy ending, a prince who follows his true love under the sea, and a panto baddy who's a Sea Witch. With songs, silliness, projections, and a spectacular UV undersea sequence, it all takes place in a Grade II* listed Victorian musical hall 

December 18-29 at Hoxton Hall, Hoxton Street.

A Christmas Carol, Alexandra Palace Theatre

Ham & High: Keith Allen stars as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol A Ghost Story at Ally PallyKeith Allen stars as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol A Ghost Story at Ally Pally (Image: Alexandra Palace Theatre)

In 2021, Mark Gatiss clanked around as the ghost of Jacob Marley in his own adaptation of Dickens' classic festive tale. This year it's Lily Allen's dad Keith, who takes the role of the miserly Scrooge, visited by a quartet of ghosts on Christmas eve to help him find redemption from his greed. The Sherlock writer is fascinated by supernatural stories, and his highly theatrical version comes complete with spooky special effects to send a tingle up your spine.

November 20-January 7, Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill.

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book, Little Angel Theatre

Ham & High: Charlie Cook's Favourite Book runs at Little Angel Theatre Charlie Cook's Favourite Book runs at Little Angel Theatre (Image: Little Angel Theatre)

Islington's well loved puppet theatre has past form for adapting bestselling storybooks by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Following from the success of The Smartest Giant in Town, director Samantha Lane and musician Barb Jungr have co-written this puppet filled musical for ages 3-8 which sees Charlie try to convince his reluctant sister of the joys of reading with a succession of exciting tales. Accompanied by a programme of play based workshops to encourage literacy at home and school, Donaldson herself has given it the seal of approval: “I am delighted that Little Angel Theatre is adapting Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book for the stage. It celebrates the joy of reading in many forms - books, magazines and even encyclopaedias - and is a book within a book within a book - in fact there are 11 books in total - complete with pirates, ghosts, dragons and aliens."

November 18 until February 4 at Little Angel Studios, Sebbon St, N1.

Aladdin, Hackney Empire.

Ham & High: The cast of Aladdin at Hackney EmpireThe cast of Aladdin at Hackney Empire (Image: C Perou)

The Empire's annual song and dance spectacular is now in its 24th year and 16 of them have featured the irrepressible Clive Rowe as dame. In recent years Rowe has also stepped up to direct this heady cocktail of popular tunes, eye-popping costumes, shout outs, sweetie throwing, cross dressing, and slapstick. Featuring a script by Will Brenton and original music by Steve Edis, this year it's Natasha Lewis' evil Abby-na-zaaar who tries to thwart Fred Double's Aladdin from getting the Princess - but she hasn't reckoned on the help of Kat B's genie, or Rowe's Widow Twankey.

November 18 until December 31 at Hackney Empire, Mare Street, E8.

Potted Panto, Wilton's Music Hall

Or if you can't be bothered with all that shouting and 'behind you,' Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, will round up seven classic pantos in 80 hilarious minutes in the seventh annual outing for this Olivier award nominated show. High octane and very silly, it usually runs in the West End and has been described as a 'blast of exuberant festive nonsense,' and sees them dash from rubbing Aladdin’s lamp to roaming the streets of Dick Wittington’s London, and making sure Cinders gets to the ball.

November 29-December 30 at Wilton's Music Hall, Graces Alley, E1.

A Sherlock Carol, Marylebone Theatre

Ham & High: A Sherlock Carol at Marylebone TheatreA Sherlock Carol at Marylebone Theatre (Image: Danny Kaan)

Around the corner from Baker Street, Mark Shanahan's enjoyable mash up of Dickens and Conan Doyle returns after a hugely successful run last year, bringing Victorian London onto the stage with a genuinely knotty mystery for Ben Caplan's Sherlock. The game's afoot when a grown up Tiny Tim implores him to investigate the death of his reformed benefactor Scrooge. (Kammy Darweish) Throw in a threatening letter, a missing diamond, and a Christmas Eve haunted by the spirits of past present and future and it’s enough to intrigue the great detective, but can he overcome his own ghosts to crack the case?

November 24 until January 7. Marylebone Theatre, Park Road, NW1.

The Time Machine: A Comedy /21 Round For Christmas, Park Theatre

Park Theatre's festive offering features a comedic take on HG Wells' time travelling masterpiece (November 30-December 30) as a group of hapless actors try to stage a script that involves the space time paradox, and a performer determined to sing her Cher tribute. This silly, festive fun stars Dave Hearn, a founding member of Mischief Theatre of The Show That Goes Wrong fame. Also a comedy but of a more sardonic stripe, 21 Round For Christmas (December 6-23) was previously a hit at The Hope and finds Tracy Sullivan; day-dreaming, outspoken, list-making, extroverted-introvert in the midst of cooking a chaotic Christmas dinner for her extremely large family. There's one who won't eat turkey, one gluten free, one vegan and a mother in law who doesn't love her family. How will she cope?

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4.

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Based on Charles M. Schultz' Peanuts cartoon strip, Clark Gesner's 1967 musical is one of the most frequently performed shows in the US and follows the eponymous hero on a day when nothing goes right. Can he get his kite to fly, deliver a valentine to The Little Red-Haired Girl, or hit a baseball? And will friends Linus, Lucy, Shroder and his dog Snoopy help him feel better about himself?

December 14-January 14, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate N6.

Gwyneth Goes Skiing, The Pleasance Theatre

She’s the Goop-founding, Door-Sliding, Shakespeare-In-Loving, consciously-uncoupling Hollywood superstar. He’s a retired optometrist from Utah. In 2016, they went skiing and their worlds collided on the slopes of Deer Valley. Seven years later they went to court and Harbinger's of chaos Awkward Productions who brought us Diana The Untold and Untrue Story, will have plenty of fun with this festive-set face-off where the audience is the jury. Prepare to be gooped. BYOJE (bring your own jade eggs).

December 13-23, Pleasance Theatre, Carpenter's Mews, N1

Dear Santa, Arts Depot

For ages 2-7 Rod Campbell's magical storybook is brought to life as Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah, but doesn't get it right straight away. With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect', just in time for Christmas Eve. The show is followed by the chance to meet Santa in his grotto where every child will receive an extra special gift.

December 2-24, Arts Depot, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley

The Selfish Giant, Puppet Theatre Barge

Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant is brought to life in a beautiful, heart warming new adaptation by James Boswell. Performed with skill and humour using marionettes (string puppets) it's suitable for ages 5 and up. When a group of children climb into the giant's forbidden garden where it's always winter, one little boy manages to melt more than the snow.

December 2-January 21 Puppet Theatre Barge, Blomfield Road, W9.

Edward Scissorhands, Sadler's Wells

Ham & High: Edward Scissorhands runs at Sadler's WellsEdward Scissorhands runs at Sadler's Wells Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands has carved a place in the hearts of audiences since its premiere in 2005. Based on Tim Burton's classic movie and featuring the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, it's the bittersweet tale of gentle, curious Edward, created by an eccentric inventor, who finds a home with a kindly townswoman when his benefactor dies. But will the unfinished boy with only scissors for hands find his place in a community which struggles to see past his curious appearance?

December 5-January 20, Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, N1

Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Pig, JW3.

Ham & High: Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Pig is the first Jewish panto staged at JW3Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Pig is the first Jewish panto staged at JW3 (Image: JW3)This is the community centre's first Jewish Pantomime, and comes with traditional favourites including: sloshing buckets, getting lost in the woods, panto baddies and a finale singalong. The on stage live band and cast play multiple instruments from: accordion, guitar, trumpet, violin, drums, clarinet, Bulgarian bagpipe and Irish whistle and singe a mix of Jewish pop, rock and show songs in Klezmer style -with all new pantomime lyrics by Nick Cassenbaum and Josh Middleton, including Amy Winehouse's Rehab as Little Red Riding Hood goes on a quest to save her Bubbah from the Big Bad Pig and help light up her village for chanukah.

10 December-January 7, JW3 Finchley Road, NW3