This Year’s Christmas Shows

The Panto season is gearing up already for 2015! There are some very fine pantomimes on offer this Christmas across the Home Counties – always a good way to introduce young people to the theatre for the first time.

There are also several first class children’s stories being told that wouldn’t be classed as pantomimes, but are never the less aimed at the younger members of your family and guaranteed to give them a theatrical experience to enjoy and remember for a very long time. In supporting local theatre at panto time, you have also given your youngsters a treat that couldn’t be further from sitting in front of the television!

The 2015/16 Christmas Shows.

Act One Pantomimes have secured a great cast for this year’s Harpenden pantomime!

Aladdin Vinyl Banner

Headed by Peter Dean (Eastenders’ Pete Beale) as Abanazar and Rochelle Knowles Gadd (Grange Hill, Hollyoaks and Tracy Beaker) as Aladdin and Simon Nicholas as Widow Twankey this promises to be tyhe perfect show for the whole family! The show has been written & directed by Chris Law a real favourite with Harpenden audiences as chief laughter maker and general idiot! Chris will be playing Wishy Washy and adding to the general chaos is Ernie Almond as PC Pong. Princess Jasmine brings Sophie Massie back to the Harpenden stage to delight audiences with her sparkling singing.

The Harpenden pantomime has become an integral part of the town’s Christmas and as usual we are promised that it is packed with great songs, loads of comedy, bags of audience participation and fabulous scenery and costumes.

Aladdin is at The Harpenden Public Halls from 11th – 22nd December.

Box office: 01582 767 525 or online: www.harpendenpublichalls.co.uk

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Milton Keynes Theatre has once again pulled together a very strong cast of the most popular entertainers for this year’s production of Aladdin.

Aladdin Milton Keynes 2015

In downtown Old Peking, in the magical land of pantomime, it’s washing day and at Widow Twankey’s laundry they’re getting into a right old lather!

Aladdin features all the much-loved characters (and all the very best jokes) you ever could hope to meet (and hear) in a Christmas show. Just take Widow Twankey – please!

Gary Wilmot Gary Wilmot as Widow Twankey

Come and join MK Theatre’s star cast Priscilla Presley, Gary Wilmot, Ben Adams, Wayne Sleep and Kev Orkian for this family-friendly, fun-filled pantomime, Aladdin on a magic carpet ride for the brightest and best traditional entertainment for all the family this side of the Great Wall of China!

Aladdin is at the Milton Keynes Theatre from 4th December until 10th January 2016

Box Office:0844 871 7652  or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

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The Grove Theatre, Dunstable welcome back Leslie Grantham, this year playing a different kind of villain, one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella!

Cinderella Grove 2015

Blue’s Antony Costa will be taking a break from the band to star as Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Grove Theatre this festive season. As part of Blue, he has had number one singles and albums all over the world. Away from the band, Antony is a respected musical theatre performer.

EastEnders villains Leslie Grantham (Dirty Den) and Joshua Pascoe (Ben Mitchell) will be frocking up to play the Ugly Sisters! As Den Watts, Leslie Grantham was the most infamous soap villain in British television history; his record-breaking Christmas Day episode in 1986 was seen by over 30 million people.

Joshua Pascoe played Ben Mitchell in EastEnders; his two years on the soap were packed full of dramatic story-lines and culminated in his exit in 2012 when his character was imprisoned for the murder of Heather Trott!

Joining the all-star cast is Lucy Reed, Jasette Amos and CBBC’s  Mawaan Rizwan.

Cinderella is at The Grove Theatre, Dunstable from 11th December until 3rd January 2016

Box Office: 01582 602080 or online: www.grovetheatre.co.uk

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***The 2014 Christmas Shows***

Aladdin at the Gordon Craig Theatre from 28th Nov – 25th Jan 2015

Aladdin-754x300

The Gordon Craig Theatre are usually the first pantomime in the area to open, as was the case with Aladdin and they are all very excited to have this year’s star name Shaun Williamson (Barry Evans, Eastenders).

As well as being known for his dramatic and comedic performances on television, Shaun has proven himself time and time again as a talented singer and stage performer. His stage CV not only includes plenty of pantomimes and hugely successful adaptations of Porridge and The Ladykillers but also a host of musicals including Saturday Night Fever, Guys and Dolls and the Take That musical Never Forget!

Abanazaar, Aladdin, Stevenage

In Aladdin, Shaun will be showing us his evil side as Abanazaar – the man determined to spoil all the hero’s plans!

Regular audiences will also be pleased to learn that Dame, Paul Laidlaw returns once more as Widow Twankey. So with these two at the helm, Aladdin has more Eastern Promise than a box of Fry’s Turkish Delight!

 

Chris Law, actor and pantomime producer went along to see the show, he said, among other things that “this is one magic carpet ride of a show that never ceases to entertain.” If you’d like to read his full review, please click on Theatre Reviews at the top of this page.

Aladdin is at the Gordon Craig Theatre until 25th January

Box Office: 01438 363200 or online:  www.gordon-craig.co.uk

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Harpenden Halls 12th to 22nd  December 

Snow white Harpenden 2014

The best dwarves ever storm it in Harpenden as Horace the Henchman comes good, Snow White gets her Prince and the wicked Queen gets her come uppance!

 Snow White and Prince

Oh dear, spoiler alert! Well, how could anyone actually kill the beautiful Snow White as played – and sung – by Sophie Massie? Not gruff but essentially good henchman Horace as played with gusto by our very own Ernie Almond! … Jill Priest’s wicked queen may have gorgeous pins but how could anyone so nasty be the fairest in the land! No wonder she tries in vain to get her man – handsome hunk Steve Leeds! What the audience really loves about this panto is the way the stage is filled with delightful, talented lasses – a chorus of four (Ellie Clark, Abbey Maginnis, Melanie Parker and Anna Roseden), all lovely singers and dancers. And above all those eight little ones (there are two teams – not sure which one we saw!) – who all looked so pretty in their villager costumes and were clearly having a great time. And then seven of them reappeared as the dwarves with huge Disney-like heads, clever costumes and even cleverer voices (no idea how they did those dwarf voices!). The mirror was truly magical too – how on earth did the queen get trapped in it? So this was technically a really accomplished show. The audience really loved the fun and slapstick (oh yes they did do the wallpapering routine!) too, from Ernie and Tony Howes as Dotty the Cook and especially her son Muddles (Chris Law, who also wrote, produced and directed – how does he do it – a one-man dynamo I’m guessing!).  …And those walk down costumes – wow! Lovely music too from MD Steve Parker (keyboards) and his band, Ian Killoran (reeds), Gareth Covey-Crump (bass) and Les Arnold, drums. But again don’t take my word for it – listen to Sophie and Alex, two young local critics who definitely know best!

 

 Snow White. Cast with mirrorThe Wicked Queen gets her come uppance!

Snow White continues at Harpenden Public Halls to 22nd December

Box Office: 01582 767525 or online:

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Cinderella is the choice for this year at the Wycombe Swan, with Award-winning TV soap-star and comedian Shane Richie starring as Buttons, David Robbins & Martin Ramsdin as the Ugly Sisters, Carly Day and Sean Needham as Cinderella and the Prince
With spectacular special effects, comedy in abundance and lots of audience participation, this will be a family-friendly pantomime you won’t want to miss.

Cinderella at The Wycombe Swan from 7th December – 5th January

Box Office: 01494 512 000 or online: www.wycombeswan.co.uk

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Steve McFaddon

The Alban Arena are presenting Jack & The Beanstalk this Christmas. It runs at The Alban Arena, from Friday 5 December until Sunday 4 January 2015.

Starring everyone’s favourite TV baddie, Steve McFadden as the evil Fleshcreep, and Children’s TV star Rebecca Keatley (CBeebies’ Let’s Play). Joining them as Dame Trott, is St Albans’ favourite funny man, star of the Olivier award winning play ‘Morecambe’, Bob Golding

Featuring a supporting cast of top class performers, lavish sets and costumes and a break dancing pantomime cow, this really is a festive treat the whole family will enjoy.

Written and produced by Paul Hendy, you can expect hilarious comedy, madcap antics, and fantastic singing and dancing. This Pantomime really does have something in it for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest person in the audience!

J&B St Albans

Don’t miss out on the Fe-fi-fo-fun…Book today!

Jack & the Beanstalk at The Alban Arena, from Friday 5 December until Sunday 4 January 2015

Box Office: 01727 844488 or online: www.alban-arena.co.uk

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Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is this year’s choice for The Grove Theatre in Dunstable.

Robin Hood, Grove

The legendary Australian Soap actor Alan Fletcher, who plays Karl Kennedy in Neighbours, will headline as the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Grove Theatre, Dunstable this Christmas. This year, Alan will celebrate twenty years on the Australian soap, having joined the show in 1994. During that time he has also earned cult status across UK universities, where he regularly tours with his band Waiting Room. No stranger to pantomime, Alan has headlined in some of the biggest venues in the country, with roles including Hook in Peter Pan (Aberdeen), Abanazar in Aladdin (Malvern), Fleshcreep in Jack & The Beanstalk (St Albans) and most recently, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, at the Stag Theatre Sevenoaks for producers Magic Beans.

Steve Hewlett, The GroveJoining Alan as Silly Billy Scarlet will be Steve Hewlett, the ventriloquist who shot to fame on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent! Steve has performed in pantomime since the age of 22 and this year will be his ninth pantomime. Ventriloquists in pantomime are rare to see with only five appearing nationwide, but Steve says it is the love of the family atmosphere, both backstage and front of house, that keeps him coming back for more. ‘I have always had a passion for variety’ Steve says, ‘and love the fact that singers, comedians, actors, speciality acts and celebrities all get together to tell one story. It’s not Christmas unless your watching or performing in Pantomime.’

In previous years, along with his puppets, Steve has played a number of comic characters including The Chinese Policemen in Aladdin four times! As Silly Billy Scarlet, expect Steve to entertain you with his extra silly characters alongside him. Silly Billy may have Arthur Lager with him or little ChiiChii, Naughty Pongo the Skunk or one of my Celebrity Dummies, there are endless surprises,’ says Steve.

Andy Abraham will be playing Little John, Andy shot to fame when he came second in the X Factor in 2005. He quickly earned a repletion as an extraordinary vocalist, with his rendition of songs like Me And Mrs Jones proving he is a naturally powerful soul singer. Since the X Factor, Andy Abraham has become a platinum selling recording artist, and has toured the country in the West End Musical Boogie Nights, as well as his own concert tour The History Of the Big Band .

The Fairy of the Forest is to be played by Anna Kumble, as 90’s pop star Lolly, Anna  received a BRIT Award nomination, and had a number of hits including Hey Mickey and Viva La Radio. On television, Anna also enjoyed a long stint as a children’s television presenter for both CBBC and Nickelodeon.

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is at The Grove Theatre, Dunstable from 12th December – 4th January 2015

Box Office: 01582 602080 or online: www.grovetheatre.co.uk

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Peter Pan at the Royal & Derngate, 5th December to 4 January 2015.

Comedian, television presenter and all-round entertainer Joe Pasquale will lead the cast next Christmas in the Royal & Derngate’s  swashbuckling pantomime Peter Pan, in the role of Smee.

 

Joe Pasquale has established himself as one of the country’s best-loved personalities and top-selling live comedians in British comedy today. Joe has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years with his live stand-up tours and infectious sense of fun. Along the way he has voiced characters for Hollywood movies Garfield:  A Tale of Two Kitties and Horton Hears A Who!, toured in several major theatrical productions including Mel Brooks’ The Producers, been crowned King of the Jungle in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me out Of Here; appeared in five Royal Variety Performances and even learned to skate for ITV1’s Dancing On Ice – no mean feat!

Peter Pan will be at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton from Friday 5 December 2014 to Sunday 4 January 2015.

Box Office: 01604 624811 or online: www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

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Cinderella, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from 12th December to 4th January 2015
Cast to be announced

 

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 Cinderella at the Beck Theatre from 27th Nov. until 5th Jan.

Box Office: 020 8561 8371 or online: www.becktheatre.org.uk

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Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s story The Wind In The Willows is brought lovingly to life at Royal & Derngate this Christmas.  This charming tale of friendship and adventure for all the family takes to the Royal stage from Wednesday 27 November to Sunday 5 January.  .

 

In this well-loved story the peace of the countryside is shattered as Toad takes to the open road. When his new-found love of the motor-car leads him into endless trouble, shy Mole, faithful Ratty and sensible old Badger struggle to get their bombastic friend back onto the straight and narrow.

After the huge success of A Christmas Carol last year, director Gary Sefton  returns to bring his inventive and energetic story-telling style to this wonderfully funny and visual production, making it a real festive family treat! The show also sees the return of Sara Perks as designer.

Packed with music, action and fun – and a talented cast of professional actors who will be joined by three teams of local children, selected through open auditions to play street urchins and other younger characters.

The Wind In The Willows at Royal & Derngate from  27 November to 5 January.

Box Office: 01604 624811 or online: www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

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Grove Theatre, Dunstable image002

Two soap legends from opposite sides of the world will join the cast of a brand new production of Dick Whittington at the Grove Theatre, Dunstable, this Christmas.

‘Toadfish’ from Neighbours, played by Ryan Moloney who recently came third in Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother, will return to the UK from Australia in December, to star in the pantomime as the show’s comedy character, Idle Jack.

Second on the billing at the Grove, is possibly the most famous soap character of all time, Dirty Den, aka Leslie Grantham, from the nation’s most loved soap, Eastenders. Leslie is delighted to be joining the cast, playing the panto baddie, King Rat.

Box Office on 01582 60 20 80 (opt 7) or online: www.grovetheatre.co.uk

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Harpenden Public Halls, Jack & The Beanstalk 13- 22nd December

Harpenden Panto 2013

Names so far released for Harpenden’s pantomime cast are (apart from yours truly) broadcaster and Saturday morning TV legend, Tiswas’ Sally James, CBBC’s Newsround presenter Hayley Cutts, and returning this year as Dame Trott is Richard Aucott.

Dame Trott (Richard Aucott) & Good Fairy (Sally James)

Box Office 01582 767 525 or online www.harpendenpublichalls.co.uk

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Watford Palace Theatre, ROBIN HOOD 6th – 28th December 2013

Box Office: 01923 225671 or online: www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk

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The Radlett Centre Aladdin. 7th – 31st December 2013

BOX OFFICE 01923 859291 or online: www.radlettcentre.co.uk

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The Wycombe Swan Dick Whittington. 7th December 2013 – 5th January 2013

 

  Box Office: 01494 512 000 or online at: www.wycombeswan.co.uk

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Milton Keynes Theatre. SNOW WHITE & the SEVEN DWARFS  6th December – 5th January 2013

HOLLYWOOD STAR WARWICK DAVIS announced in SNOW WHITE at MILTON KEYNES THEATRE and the return of Kev Orkian

 MK Theatre today announces that it will star some very familiar faces. Known to millions, as one of the UK’s ‘biggest’ exports, Hollywood superstar Warwick Davis will lead the panto fun and frivolity from 06 Dec – 12 Jan.

Warwick’s acting career came about purely by chance when his Grandmother heard a radio announcement calling for ‘short people’ to appear in the new Star Wars film Return of the Jedi. He played the tiny Ewok, Wicket, who became one of the film’s lead creature characters. And the rest is history.

As well as the many roles on the big and small screens, Warwick has trodden the boards of theatres throughout the United Kingdom. As well as numerous productions of Snow White, he has also appeared in Peter Pan and Aladdin.

He says of directing and starring in Snow White at Milton Keynes Theatre ‘I am delighted to be returning to Milton Keynes Theatre for panto this year. I am looking forward to working with the amazing cast, crew and the theatre to bring you the best panto MK has ever seen. It’s a ‘tall order’ but, I’m determined it won’t fall ‘short ‘ of audience expectations! I’m looking forward to seeing you all there!’

Back by popular demand to join Warwick on stage as the hapless Muddles is star of last year’s Panto Kev Orkian, who returns to tickle the funny bones of MK following his rave reviews as Buttons in Cinderella, whilst star of Les Miserables in the West End, Shaun Dalton joins them as our dashing Prince Charming.  With more star casting still to be announced, this year’s spectacular pantomime is going to be our biggest ever!

Jennifer Ellison is announced to play the boo-able baddy, the Wicked Queen. Jennifer rose to prominence playing Emily Shadwick in the television soap opera Brookside, securing her place as a household name playing Meg Giry in her international film debut, the 2004 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. She has been a frequent guest on the ITV daytime show Loose Women. Her theatre credit’s include playing Roxie Hart in Chicago which she played in the West End and at leading venues throughout the country on a UK tour. As well as performances in Boeing Boeing, The War of the Worlds arena tour, Calendar Girls and as Cinderella at The Liverpool Empire. 2012 saw Jennifer wowing audiences and judges alike in the hit ITV primetime show Dancing on Ice where she reached the semi-finals.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has everything you would expect from a Milton Keynes Theatre pantomime; sumptuous sets, lavish costumes, a laugh-a-minute script, big song and dance numbers, audience participation and lots more! This really is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas with your whole family!

Box Office:0844 871 7652  or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

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Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury. SLEEPING BEAUTY 13th December – 5th January 2013

Box Office:0844 871 7607  or online: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (ticket prices frozen until 28th Feb!)

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The Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage.  CINDERELLA – 30th November – 26th January 2013

Hot News!

Just heard about the casting of Gillian Wright, currently in Eastenders as Jean Slater,

cinderella 1 one of Walford’s most put upon residents but in this pantomime she will be playing the fabulous Fairy Godmother – a complete departure from her television persona.

Box Office: 01438 363200 or online: www.gordon-craig.co.uk

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***The 2012 Christmas Shows***

The Wind in the Willows at The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City

Alan Bennett’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale. Directed by Keith Thompson

Toad finds himself in prison and manages to escape, but not before Toad Hall, his pride and joy, has been overrun by the wicked weasels. A real family favourite

The Wind in the Willows at The Barn Theatre, Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City runs until 31st December

Box Office:   01707 324300 or online: www.barntheatre.co.uk

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Cinderella – or is it Dandinerella? Milton Keynes Theatre

(photos by Barry Rivett)

The old saying “everyone’s a comic!” could well have been about this year’s pantomime Cinderella at the Milton Keynes Theatre.

From the moment Buttons (Kev Orkian) comes bounding on the stage you know you are in safe hands. Kev proves his worth of star billing time and time again – his working of the audience is like a nightly masterclass! Although I’m not usually keen on artists breaking out of character just to do their act, in Kev’s case his cabaret at the piano in the ballroom seemed to fit in – and of course was executed with the skill of the seasoned professional that he is. Then, once our chuckle muscles had got to the aching stage, on came the Ugly Sisters, Peaches (Paul Burnham) and Pixie (John Barr). Possibly the best (or ugliest?) uglies on the circuit. Peaches as posh as Pixie is common. They were the perfect foil for each other, and the children sitting around me absolutely hated them! Their scenes with Cinders were absolutely wicked – in the original sense of the word! Their costumes too were as hideous as their make up! Just perfect!

By the time the man who’d drawn in these huge crowds came on, we needed a miracle of a performance to make us laugh any more – and that’s exactly what Dandini (Louie Spence) gave us! Like Julian Clary on speed he whirled and twirled his way arround the stage – only pausing during one execution of the splits to inform us all that “I’m 43 you know!” One or two of his camp one-liners might have flown way over the children’s heads, but they hit the adults squarely between the eyes! You don’t go to see Louie Spence and not expect some great dancing and a wickedly camp sense of humour – and he certainly didn’t disappoint!

I was pleased to see for all the comedy, that the script took us through the classic story of Cinderella that we all love. With a handsome Prince (Andrew Derbyshire) – straight enough to be a good foil for Dandini, a delightful Cinders (Anna Williamson) and the first scat-singing Fairy Queen (Deniece Pearson) I’ve ever seen! The Baron was played in good old fashioned swashbuckling style by Tim Hudson.

As usual the production company, First Family are to be complimented on a great script by Eric Potts and their splendid sets and costumes! An evening of Glamour, Glitz, Sparkle and Theatrical Camp – Pantomime as it should be!

Cinderella, until 6th January at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Box Office 0844 871 7652 or online: www.atgtheatres.com

 

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The Railway Children from 19th – 22nd December at The Queen Mother Theatre

This video, made by the Bancroft Players tells you all you need to know!

The Railway Children from 19th – 22nd December at The Queen Mother Theatre

Box Office: 01462 455166 or online:  www.queenmothertheatre.org.uk

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Captain Hook steals the show!

Don’t get me wrong, the entire cast gave us an evening of fun and laughter, great music and some fine dancing, but the evening belonged to Mr Smee (Andy Collins) and Captain Hook (Steven Serlin) who made the show for me – and the young brother and sister sitting two seats from me! The double act of Smee and Hook also worked together perfectly, producing exactly the right reaction from the packed audience.

Guest star Russell Grant playing the most bejewelled and bling covered cabin boy I’ve ever seen was as popular as ever with some very good camp one-liners. Adam Pettigrew made a wonderful Peter Pan having mastered the art of flying (having tried it I can tell you that’s no mean feat!) he was the boy who sulks occasionally, but is always loveable and you could believe that he never would actually grow up!

Milton Keynes vocalist Holly Brewer was convincing as Wendy and sang very beautifully even though her main solo seemed to me to be a rather inappropriate adult love song from the oldest daughter in the Darling family to a boy who never grows up!

The Divas (Bobbie Gordon & Ngozi Ugoh) looking like two thirds of the Supremes were a real innovation acting as narrators with some very fine renditions of songs the mums and dads could sing along with.

The wonderful sing along routine devised around the 12 days of Christmas led by Andy Collins as Mr Smee was a real highlight for me, making such a refreshing change from the usual “Ghost – Its behind you” routine!

Steven Serlin (last year’s King rat) was the most perfect Captain Hook I’ve seen! He worked the audience – including the grown ups – so well in a laid back “I love you to hate me” fashion, that when his time came for the traditional Walkdown we really couldn’t decide whether to cheer or to boo, we settled on booing of course!

Special mention too must go to Terry Parsons for the absolutely first class costumes and the story-book sets and to local man Bob Bustance as lighting designer.

All in all an absolutely first class show that the Waterside Theatre can be very proud of. It’s an evening full of action that is not too long for its young audience to stay glued (or Hooked?) to the story line throughout. Don’t miss it – it runs until 30th December.

Peter Pan at The Waterside Aylesbury from 8th – 30th December.

Various performance times, please check at the box office or online:

Box Office:0844 871 7627  or online: www.atgtickets.com

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Take a magical carpet ride to the Far East…via The Alban Arena.

Aladdin running until 6th Jan 2013

After his fantastic performance in Snow White last year, Phil (Mister Maker) Gallagher returns to The Alban Arena’s stage to play Aladdin! Also joining him on stage will be Shaun Williamson (‘Barry’ in Eastenders) and Jemma Carlisle (Snow White last year) as Jasmine! Charming and witty Bob Golding will also be returning, promising the audience even more hilarity than last year!

Once again the show has been written by PAUL HENDY and promises to be St Albans’ BIGGEST, BEST and FUNNIEST PANTO EVER!

Aladdin at The Alban Arena until 6th January

Box Office: 01727 844488

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Dick Whittington, the Venue, Milton Keynes. 19th – 30th December

Logo for Dick Whittington Pantomime King Rat is threatening to take over London. Only the penniless, but brave, Dick Whittingtonand his trusty feline sidekick, Tiddles, can stop the rodent’s quest for domination!

Aided by the magic of a very cockney Spirit of London, the more down to earth and questionable ‘help’ of his mother, Dame Sarah, and his loyal but brainless pal, ‘Barrow Boy’ Billy, Dick’s adventure takes him from the East End of London to distant tropical shores before the final showdown with the villainous King Rat and his henchrats, Nip and Tuck!

Along the way he attempts to win the hand of the lovely Alice, daughter of the bumbling Alderman Fitzwarren and foil the plot of the mysterious, piratical Long John Tin Foil.

Will our hero triumph over these adversities, become Lord Mayor and live happily ever after?

A new version of the classic tale, brimming with comedy, slapstick and everything you would want and expect from a traditional family pantomime and of course plenty to keep the audience cheering and booing along!

Featuring music with a live band.

Dick Whittington at the Venue, Walton High, Milton Keynes.19th to 30th December

Box Office: 01234 241357 or online: http://www.thelittleboxoffice.co/mktoc

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Dick Whittington at Harpenden Public Hall  from 15th – 22nd December

 

Join our hero Dick as he sets out on a quest to find fame and fortune in this classic rages to riches tale. Starring Cerrie Burnell (CBeebies) as The Fairy of The Bells and Dr Who companion and Blue Peter legend Peter Purves as Alderman Fitzwarren, with hilarious panto dame Richard Aucott and full supporting cast. Will Dick find the streets paved with gold? Will he win the hand of the lovely Alice? Will he defeat the evil King Rat?  Featuring fantastic songs, a live band, sumptuous sets, sensational costumes and bags of audience participation.
Dick Whittington is the perfect way to kick start your festive season.
Please click here for the audio of my chat with Peter Purves:

Dick Whittington, Harpenden Public Hall – 15th – 22nd December
Box Office:  01582 767525 or online: www.harpendenpublichalls.co.uk

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BEAUTY & the BEAST at the Radlett Centre.

 

This year The Radlett Centre will be staging their exciting production of Beauty and the Beast

This dazzling show has something for everyone and children will love the tale of a beautiful heroine and a Beast who is not as he seems. With Dame Dotty, Lazy Louis and lots of other colourful friends along the way, this is the perfect family treat for the festive season and is ideal for everyone aged 3 years and older.

This year’s show promises to be as fun-filled as ever and will be packed with plenty of songs, comedy, fun and audience participation as well as wonderful scenery and colourful costumes.

BEAUTY & THE BEAST Opening on SATURDAY 8TH – MONDAY 31ST DECEMBER

TICKETS: £15 – £18

FAMILY TICKETS AND GROUP BOOKING DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE! BOX OFFICE: 01923 859291 or online at www.radlettcentre.co.uk

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WILD THINGS at The Place, Bedford 

Two professional companies (Dumstruck Productions & No Loss Productions) have joined together once again to bring you an adventure for the family, as young Max sets off from home and finds himself…….Where The Wild Things Are.

Music, Monsters, more than a touch of Magic and inspiration from the classic Maurice Sendak book add together to ensure a truly wild adventure.

This is a family show, suitable for all.

Please click here for audio chat with Director Cally Lawrence and a clip of the monsters and Max:

WILD THINGS at The Place, off Bradgate Road, Bedford.

Opening Wednesday 12th December – Monday 24th December Performance times: 10am,1pm & 6.30pm – please check performance times and buy tickets from www.theplacebedford.org.uk

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Aladdin at The Library Theatre, Luton. Opens 30th November.

click here for interview with director Debbie Cavanagh and a clip from the show:

I called into a rehearsal of the Griffin Players’ Christmas offering for this year – Aladdin which opens at the Library Theatre in St George’s Square in Luton. Griffin have provided a good quality traditional pantomime for the town for so many years, first in the Vauxhall Works canteen and for some years now in the Library theatre. So its good to think that they still use talent of all ages from around the town to entertain with a truly local show. It’s not fair to judge them on a rehearsal so let me just say that its looking as though there’ll be lots of fun and all the usual ingredients will be there, songs, participation, gags and slapstick!

Box Office: 07906 075455

….and I hear they are also gearing up for their annual adult panto – this year its called “Friends of Dorothy”

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The Owl and The Pussycat went to See….

Based on Edward Lear’s famous nonsense poem this story follows the adventures of Owl and Pussycat when they set sail to the land where the Bong Trees grow.

Ideal family show, but aimed fairly and squarely at the young ones. Westoning Players will be portraying characters like the Dong with the luminous nose, the Plum Pudding Flea and the Runcible Spoon at Westoning Village Hall from 29th November to the 2nd December (matinees on the Saturday and Sunday) Box Office: 01525 752858

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Louie Spence in CINDERELLA at Milton Keynes

This Christmas we’re going to have a ball as Cinderella comes alive on the Milton Keynes Theatre stage from FRIDAY 7th DECEMBER.
Everyone’s favourite TV personality Louie Spence (ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Sky TV’s Pineapple Dance Studios and Louie Spence’s Showbusiness) heads a sensational cast as the Prince’s loyal and slightly outrageous servant, Dandini.
‘His Dandini is a one-man chorus line, leaping, twirling, purring and pirouetting with exhausting enthusiasm’ Manchester Confidential
‘He steals practically every scene he is in and leaves you amazed at his energy and constant dance moves executed with an extreme excitability’ Manchester’s Finest
Cinderella also features a glittering combination of everything a traditional pantomime could wish for, a handsome Price, enchanting Fairy Godmother, the boo-able Ugly Sisters and we must not forget our unsung hero Buttons. With a sprinkling of magic from the Fairy Godmother.

Box Office: 0844 871 7627 or online at www.atgtickets.com

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Sue Holdnerness stars in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs at The Grove Theatre, Dunstable.

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to panto we go!

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

The most magical fairytale of them all comes to Dunstable from 14th DECEMBER! The beautiful Snow White, a Wicked Queen, a handsome Prince, a Good Fairy, an evil Henchman and of course the Magnificent Seven, combine to present this most magical pantomime. Sue Holdnerness, most famously known for playing the role of Marlene Boyce in Only Fools and Horses, joins the Grove as the Wicked Queen in this year’s pantomime. Complete with a full company of seven dwarfs, stunning scenery,magical special effects, a fabulous musical score and supporting cast of singers, dancers and babes, this is sure to be a Christmas that will be remembered by all the family.

Box Office: 01582 60 20 80 or online at www.grovetheatre.co.uk

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The Wycombe Swan 

Starring CRAIG REVEL HORWOOD as the Wicked Queen and ANN WIDDECOMBE as ‘Widdy in Waiting’

With his reputation for being direct with contestants as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, acid-tongued choreographer Craig is hitting the Wycombe stage as the ultimate pantomime baddie.

Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer and the team behind last year’s enchanting production of Cinderella are producing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, so you can be assured of stunning costumes, fabulous sets, great songs and an abundance of comedy – making Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs unmissable entertainment for all the family.

A ‘strictly’ wicked show!

Quick step over to Wycombe Swan and book your tickets today!

Box Office: 01494 512 000 or online at: www.wycombeswan.co.uk

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Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City.

Jack (Alex Sheldon of Grange Hill) and Princess Jill (Pheobe Thomas from Holby City)  might well live happily ever after, but first there’s the selling of the family cow for a bag of beans, the beanstalk to climb and the giant and his horrible henchman Fleshcreep (Michael Totton) to thwart!

Dame Trott (Keith Myers) might have her hands full keeping them all in order, but after a couple of hours of laughs, slapstick and music the young audiences will go home happy in the knowledge that good conquered evil once again!

Box Office: 01707 357117 or online: www.hawthornetheatre.co.uk

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 Peter Pan at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Take the second star to the right and straight on till morning with Peter Pan, starring everyone’s favourite Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant leading a world-class cast in this swashbuckling adventure.

Buckinghamshire singer, actress and MK’s Top Talent winner Holly Brewer returns to the Waterside stage after wowing audiences at Best of Bucks Talent Show. Local comedy hero Andy Collins joins the cast of this years pantomime, consummate baddy Steven Serlin and West End star Adam Pettigrew will also be joining this year’s all-star cast for a pantomime to remember!
Join Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys in their thrilling adventure to save Tinkerbell from the villainous Captain Hook and his crew of dastardly pirates.
With stunning special effects (including amazing flying!), sumptuous costumes, superb sets and a good helping of fairydust, Peter Pan is the perfect treat for the whole family and for those who never want to grow up!
Peter Pan at The Waterside Aylesbury from 8th – 30th December.

Various performance times, please check at the box office or online:

Box Office:0844 871 7627  or online: www.atgtickets.com

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 Rapunzel at The Luton Library Theatre

The hugely talented Full House Theatre Company are back at The Library Theatre for the second year runing, this time to present this epic and poetic twist on an old tale follows the high spirited Rapunzel on her turbulent journey as she turns her mother’s world upside down. Cursed by a sorceress and trapped in a tower Rapunzel has her own ideas about life which don’t quite fit the mould. Expect larger than life characters, West Country bouncing bunnies, funky toe tapping musical numbers and feel the magic of Christmas!

Rapunzel at the Luton Library Theatre 15th – 29th December 

Box Office: 01582 547474 or online: www.lutonlibrarytheatre.com

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The Railway Children at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin.

E Nesbit’s much-loved children’s story about Roberta, Phyllis and Peter whose life revolves around the country railway line that passes their door. When their father is imprisoned it takes the help of Perks, the station porter and the kindly old gentleman who takes the 9.15am train every day, to help them out…

Rosemary Bianchi directs this heart-warming and wonderful Christmas entertainment for the whole family.

“Mike Kenny’s script has captured Nesbit’s classic tale for a whole new generation” – Time Out

The Railway Children at the Queen Mother Theatre from 19th – 22nd December

Box Office: 01462 455166 or online : www.queenmothertheatre.org.uk

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