What’s on in Whitchurch and beyond this week:


(Wem Town Hall, Dec 5)

The young Clara creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker doll.

But the mysterious magician Drosselmeyer is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure.

After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to a wonderful display of dances.

Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – but doesn’t she recognize Drosselmeyer’s nephew?

Loosely based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet opens with a lively Christmas party, its Victorian setting captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs. Wright’s choreography ingeniously incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet’s original material, including the sublime for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince.

But in emphasizing the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the production also gains a touching subtext of first love.

There are two tickets for £10 for students, though a friend doesn’t have to be a student. Sow your ID at Wem Town Hall and claim your tickets.

Call 01939 238 279 for more details.


(St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester, Dec 1)

WinterFolk is a collection of original, contemporary and traditional winter songs by ‘one of British Folk Music’s mightiest combinations and is by Belinda O’Hooley & Heidi Tidow.

The album reflects on some of the darker hued aspects of yuletide, considering the season in an alternative, real way, from the absence or loss of children, to domestic violence at Christmas, from global warming to poverty, religion, displacement, migration and loneliness.

Together with an invitation to indulge in some of the gorgeousness of winter, by the fireside, a favourite record playing, glass in hand; it could also be described as ‘The Introvert’s Guide to Christmas’.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Ben Walker has contributed timeless, contemporary classical string arrangements, reminiscent of the melancholic beauty of Max Richter and the iconic arrangements of Nick Drake’s songs by Harry Robinson.

Belinda and Heidi have recomposed some of their own winter songs from early albums Silent June and The Fragile, into mature, poignant and considered interpretations.

Tickets cost £12 at www.wegottickets.com/event/389607


(Crewe Lyceum, Dec 1)

Jason Manford, is back with a work in progress show ahead of his national tour in 2018, which promises to feature a wealth of comedy anecdotes, misunderstandings and audience banter delivered with Jason’s likeable charm and teasingly intelligent wit.

‘Sunday Night at the Palladium’ (ITV1), ‘Live at the Apollo’ (BBC One), ‘Have I Got News For You’, (BBC One), QI (BBC Two) and ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ (ITV1) have all helped establish Jason as a nationally known comic.

Under 16s are to be accompanied by an adult and tickets cost £19.50 – call 01278 368 242.


(Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, Dec 7)

Rory Kinnear (The Threepenny Opera, Penny Dreadful, Othello) is Marx and Oliver Chris(Twelfth Night, Green Wing) is Engels, in this new comedy written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman.

Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London, the production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.

It's 1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.

Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.

Tickets cost £14.50; the showing starts at 7pm and for more details, call 01743 281 281.