From a choral classic to panto chaos, there's plenty to enjoy...
The Lion in Winter, Rugby Theatre, until December 16
Fans of Game of Thrones are being urged to check out Rugby Theatre’s latest production – a sparkling historical drama full of intrigue, passion, love, hate, war and peace. The Lion in Winter is set in the castle of King Henry II in 1183 where he lives with his dysfunctional family.
James Goldman’s Tony Award-winning play tells the story of the complex relationships between Henry, his wife Eleanor, and their three conspiratorial sons.
Handel’s Messiah, Temple Speech Room, Rugby School, December 16
Rugby Philharmonic Choir celebrates its 150th anniversary by singing this great work. Although now associated with Christmas, Messiah was written as a work for Easter and was first performed in Dublin in April 1742. It took Handel just over three weeks to write the estimated quarter of a million notes. It contains some of his greatest tunes, rousing choruses and attractive arias including For Unto Us a Child is Born and Ev’ry Valley Shall be Exalted as well as the famous Hallelujah! chorus.
Cinderella, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until January 13
This year’s festive extravaganza is double the fun, with not one but two dames sharing the stage in the role of the Ugly Sisters. Greg Powrie joins Iain Lauchlan in donning their tartan frocks and entertaining hundreds of families over the Christmas period. Returning for his 23rd pantomime, Iain Lauchlan has gained legendary status in Coventry as the Belgrade’s pantomime dame, as well as writing and directing the show.
Cabinet of Curiosities, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, until March 10
The Cabinet of Curiosities is inspired by the German forerunner of the modern-day museum, Wunderkammer – the cabinets of wonder. Rugby’s version showcases a treasure trove of objects plucked from the museum’s social history and archaeology collections. Curios on display include animal bones excavated from the Roman settlement of Tripontium, Liassic tree fragments discovered in the 1970s during the construction of the link between the M1 and the M6, and a silver medieval ring unearthed in King’s Newnham. Other objects featured in the exhibition include a decorative toilet bowl from Rugby Club, a gentleman’s club in North Street in the 1880s, a tonsil guillotine operated by surgeons at the Hospital of St Cross in the early 19th century, and a pair of scissors belonging to the barber of jet engine inventor Sir Frank Whittle.
Steeleye Span, Warwick Arts Centre, December 17
With their 50th anniversary approaching, folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span, led as ever by the vocals of Maddy Prior, play a special show in the company of two of their musical contemporaries - Acoustic Strawbs and Pentangle’s Jacqui McShee, an icon of folk and jazz.