Pick your perfect panto
PUBLISHED: 12:44 20 December 2013 | UPDATED: 12:47 20 December 2013
With a wave of her magic wand, Sandra Smith climbed into a pumpkin carriage and toured our counties to reveal all you need to book a local pantomime outing
Cinderella, Wycombe Swan, 7 December – 5 January
TV soap legend, Shane Richie, is returning to the Wycombe Swan this Christmas as Buttons in the timeless classic, Cinderella. “We have the Ugliest of Sisters,” declares Shane, “and the most pretty Cinders. As ever, I am the guy who doesn’t get the girl - hankies out ladies! However, I get in trouble and scrapes with lots of fun and laughter in this most brilliant production. Don’t miss it!” Appearing with Shane is legendary Ugly Sister, Martin Ramsdin: “Of course as the ugly sisters David Robbins and I provide the glamour and beauty with our famous lavish costumes, all designed and made by David and myself. But just remember… I’m the pretty one!” There will be comedy in abundance – of course – and the family friendly pantomime also promises 3D sequences and special effects designed to ensure audiences enjoy an unforgettable experience.
www.wycombeswan.co.uk; 01494 552885
Aladdin, Town Hall, 11-15 December
Every year Maidenhead Drama Guild excel with their panto in the Desborough Suite of the Town Hall, and this year’s show is set to be another winner, following on from 2012’s well received Robin Hood.
There will be plenty of chances to boo and cheer in Bob Heather’s production which follows the story of how wicked wizard Abanazar needs washerwoman’s son Aladdin to take a magic lamp from a secret cave in the mountains of China. Aladdin, meanwhile, would like to spend his days dreaming of the beautiful Princess, So-Shy.
www.maidenhead-drama.co.uk; 07900 863699
Jam Theatre, Marlow, Santa’s Secret Escape!, 2 shows daily between 19 and 24 December
What a start to Christmas! Santa has been arrested in a case of mistaken identity and if he doesn’t get out of jail soon, there’ll be an awful lot of undelivered presents. Thank goodness Hattie and Max, the Police Chief’s children, know he is the real Santa and create an escape plan with the help of the kids in the audience. So, children, be prepared to do your bit in this pre Christmas show by Marlow’s independent theatre which includes professional actors as well as students from their training company. The intimate studio is in the heart of the town and full of Christmas spirit.
www.jamtheatre.co.uk; 01628 483808
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Milton Keynes Theatre, 6 December – 12 January
With Star Wars, Harry Potter and Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short to his credit, Warwick Davis is bringing his larger than life personality to Snow White, a theatrical extravaganza which he is also directing. Meanwhile Kev Orkian’s appearance is guaranteed to tickle everyone’s funny bones in this hilarious and frivolous production. “This year is going to be an exciting pantomime with such a vast array of talent,” explains Kev. “To work with Warwick Davis is fabulous; he’s a versatile actor and performer. Milton Keynes is in for a special treat this Christmas.” Also joining the cast in the role of Prince Charming is West End star Shaun Dalton, a regular in Les Miserables yet no stranger to the yuletide genre. TV actress, Jennifer Ellison completes the line up.
www.atgtickets.com; 0844 871 7652
Jack and the Beanstalk, The Corn Exchange, 29 November – 5 January
Jack Trott arrives in Newbury Bottom for the adventure of a lifetime in this family show which includes magical beans and scary ghosts, and even finds room for some enormous beans on toast. This production by the expert Hiss & Boo Theatre company is written and directed by Phil Willmott, with choreography by Holly Hughes. The cast includes local youngsters and Joe Wicks, Matthew Grace, Natalie Harman, Anthony Topham and Charlotte Whitaker.
For the first time the panto run will have a ‘relaxed performance’ on January 4. All are welcome and the show will be slightly amended to more suit those with ASD, learning disabilities or photosensitivity.
www.cornexchangenew.com; 0845 5218 218
The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, 21 November to 5 January
The tale of the naughty runaway puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy is brought to life in this enchanting production by Robin Belfield (director) and Simon Slater (original music), based on Carlo Collodi’s traditional story. It’s one of the most heart-warming pantos, but with plenty of laughs along the way as Pinocchio tries to get back to Geppetto, the old wood carver. Suitable for age four upwards.
www.watermill.org.uk; 01635 46044
Alice in Wonderland, Stables, 18 December – 4 January
Proteus is an award winning company known for its fusion of styles and media. And this brand new production of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale is no exception. Families, including children over the age of five, are in for a magical treat which includes story telling, puppetry by Nick Ash of Scratchbuilt Productions, and circus in the purpose built auditorium at The Stables, the original of which was created by Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Lane. This two hour mad-as-a-hatter production will go down the rabbit hole for tea and adventure, finishing with cast and characters available to meet theatre goers at the front of the stage.
www.stables.org; 01908 280800
Aladdin, Theatre Royal, 4 December – 5 January
This theatre is a superb venue for pantomime and they have a real knack of getting the audience involved. As a result the 2013 panto has attracted a furry super star, none other than (Boom! Boom!) Basil Brush, ready to entertain with his cheeky jokes.
The fabulous fox will be joining a cast including hilarious Kevin Cruise from Britain’s Got Talent, who excelled last year as Simple Simon in Jack and the Beanstalk. Also back is panto maestro Steven Blakeley, who wrote and directed last year’s show. This means we can once again enjoy the sight of him in some incredible wigs and frocks as he appears as Widow Twankey.
Get your tickets as soon as possible, they tend to go quickly at Windsor.
www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk; 01753 853888