It’s Christmas time once again, the bane of many a reviewers year as you are dragged from panto to panto to see effectively the same show again three times a week, so when I was offered the chance to see a heart touching story performed by one of Britain’s most enduring national treasures I thought all my Christmases had come at once.

A comedian, actor and an opera singer…it sounds like the start to some random 90s joke, but writer and director Patrick Barlow has pulled out a Christmas cracker with this trio in The Messiah.

Alfie James presents his new play “HOME: For A Lost Soldier” in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of armistice day. In the aftermath of WW1, with the return of their soldiers, a small community attempt to rebuild their lives. There are themes of love, trauma, equality and many other ideas crammed into this loose storyline. Ultimately, the audience are forced to endure through two long hours of dull staging, mediocre writing and poor performances.

I always love it when a production is inspired by a random event and Paid Fantasist is one such production. Based on ‘A day in the life of…’ Tom Baker, he of Doctor Who fame, and an article that appeared in The Times in 1978 the action begins.

Ahead of its upcoming tour, Bag of Beard Theatre debut new production Renaissance Men at the Old Red Lion Theatre this November. Written by emerging playwright James Patrick, this dark comedy is highly topical and engaging.

Imagine a future where your ego is suppressed at birth and a chip in your brain is connected to a super computer called Darren who knows all the answers to everything. Introduce a simple stapler girl, Lynn (Hayley Osborne), who has spent 10 years saving up enough money to have the procedure reversed to restore her ego and then immediately regrets it, and you have the concept of Rats.

In 1987, the world watched as a new and revolutionary way of dancing and an innovative love story unfolded on our screens. Now, just over 30 years later, I had the pleasure of watching this amazing company bring Grey and Swayze’s love story to life on stage. This astounding show for me had a lot to live up to due to the shoes it had to fill and those of which the actors taking on such huge roles had to walk in.

Pop-Up Opera are a touring opera company founded by Clementine Lovell in 2011, who aim to change the way people view opera by bringing it to unusual, intimate and unconventional spaces. Opera can be perceived as outdated and extravagant, but by stripping back the smoke and mirrors and producing bare, raw yet engaging performances; Pop-Up Opera hope to revive opera and change its appeal to a modern day audience.

When was the last time you saw something, a piece of theatre, a film, a TV programme, that really made you think? Something that made you feel a certain way? Something that made you want to change your attitudes? Tom Hughes’ new play makes us think just that, leaving each audience member with an individual impact.

Fast food is a given in London. You swipe and ping and pong and hey presto food arrives in a jiffy. Almost as if by magic a faceless force delivers meals to your door. And in a revelation akin to the child sweatshop labour used by many high street brands, Pizza Shop Heroes reveals the truth behind the menus; the stories of the taken-for-granted invisible workforce. You will never look at a foreign face the same way again.

Park Theatre premiers Jesse Briton’s latest play ‘A Pupil’ this November. Developed as a collaboration between Bear Trap and Kosky Productions, this four-woman show is a thrilling drama with a fascinating narrative.