Christmas in London means the three P's: pies, plum pudding, and pantomimes. It's the season when fairy tales are adapted to the stage for kids of all ages - usually with a lot of cross-dressing involved. This year, Mark Ravenhill, whose mind is usually on much more somber subject matter, has come up with his take on Dick Whittington and His Cat as part of the Barbican's annual BITE festival (through January 20). The director is the very hot Edward Hall.

The panto at the Hackney Empire is Cinderella (December 2-January 13), which the venue is calling their biggest effort ever. Meanwhile American film and television star Henry Winkler, will appear in Peter Pan at the New Wimbledon (December 7-January 14) as the whiskers-twirling Captain Hook.