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The Box of Delights returns to Wilton's Music Hall this Christmas

The cast of The Box of Delights from Dee McCourt (Borkowski Arts).

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Christmas classic, The Box of Delights by Piers Torday, based on the novel by John Masefield, returns to Wilton’s Music Hall from November 30, 2018 to January 5, 2019 in a wintery adventure full of magic, talking animals, and even a flying car…

The action-packed festive tale is based on the 1935 novel by Poet Laureate John Masefield and returns to the east London music hall after its critically-acclaimed and sold out world premiere last year. The production makes a joyous return this Christmas, welcoming back some old faces and introducing some brand-new cast members, including Theo Ancient, no stranger to magic, fresh from playing Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Joining Ancient will be Nigel Betts (Emmerdale, Doctor Who) playing the dual role of Cole Hawlings and Abner Brown, with Sara Stewart (Doctor Foster, Unforgotten) as both dastardly Pouncer and kindly Caroline Louisa. Molly Roberts will also be joining the cast playing Abner’s evil hench-rat.

Returning to the Wilton’s stage will be Mark Extance as the Bishop of Tatchester, Safiyya Ingar as the boisterous Mariah, Tom Kanji as the mischievous Charles and Samuel Simmonds as Peter.

On the train home for the school holidays, schoolboy Kay Harker has a strange encounter with mysterious magician Cole Hawlings, who entrusts him with his Box of Delights, an enchanted object with powers Kay could only dream of. When Cole suddenly vanishes and his arch enemy Abner Brown will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Box, Kay and his friends find themselves in a magical world of time-travel, bewitchment and baddies as they fight to save the Box and even Christmas itself.

The Box of Delights was adapted into a popular TV series in 1984, which proved to be a cult hit, and is now re-imagined by best-selling children’s author Piers Torday, whose work includes The Last Wild trilogy (Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize) and the Narnia homage The Lost Magician.

This timeless classic and will be bought to life by an acclaimed creative team including director Justin Audibert (Artistic Director, Unicorn Theatre) and Olivier Award-winning designer Tom Piper.

Writer Piers Torday said: “I am as proud as punch that The Box of Delights is returning to Wilton’s this Christmas. It is such a thrill to introduce today’s children to one of the great original classics of magical adventure fantasy.”

Tickets: £12.50 – £35 full price, £10 – £30 concessions/previews (November 30 to December 4).

Times: 7.30pm (matinees at 2.30pm).

NB: There will be no shows on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

Also at Wilton’s Music Hall: internationally acclaimed BalletBoyz with Young Men (November 13 to November 17) and Dietrich – Natural Duty, an intoxicating one-(wo)man show revealing the life of a legend, Marlene Dietrich (November 19 to November 24, 2018).