It’s about this time of year when children start shouting “He’s behind you!” and “Oh yes he is!” It can only mean one thing – pantomime season is upon us. With B list stars finally getting the lead roles they’ve dreamed of, whether it be Widow Twankey or an ugly sister, at least they are working darling! Pantomimes are predominately a British tradition, in fact, in the United Kingdom, the word “Pantomime” means a form of entertainment, generally performed during the Christmas season. The first pantomime was performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre in 1714, and was called ‘Harlequin Sorcerer’. It was John Rich, an actor-manager, who gave pantomime its name. Nowadays pantomimes are popular all over the world with a production of Humpty Dumpty running for an amazing 120 performances in New York! Here are some other popular pantomimes in the London area.
Cinderella at the Hackney Empire: Tickets £9.50 – £24.50
When Cinderella’s cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother. Join Cinderella, her two ugly sisters, one seriously mean stepmother, one huge pumpkin, a glitzy palace ball and lots of cute mice in this production of Cinderella. This pantomime version presents a knockabout comedy with show-stopping musical numbers and the most glittering glass slipper imaginable. Expect plenty of audience participation as Cinderella overcomes the “baddies” (boo!), and wins her Prince (he’s behind you!) in an enchanting musical adventure. (Oh yes it is!) With wonderful singing and dancing, colourful costumes and a spectacular set, it’s the perfect way to entertain the whole family this Christmas. Visit www.hackneyempire.co.uk for more information.
Potted Panto at the Vaudeville Theatre: Tickets £15 – £60
The follow-up to the hit show Potted Potter, Potted Panto is the ultimate Christmas show with eight classic pantomimes for the price of one – and that’s one more panto than the show had last year! The delightfully silly show stars CBBC presenters Dan and Jeff taking on the roles of favourite pantomime characters from: Aladdin, Snow White, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, A Christmas Carol and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Join the dippy duo as they rub Aladdin’s magic lamp, wander the gold-paved streets of Dick Whittington’s London, hunt for Cinderella’s lost slipper and try to wake Sleeping Beauty before the giant climbs down Jack’s beanstalk to squash Snow White’s seven dwarves. Visit www.pottedpanto.co.uk for more information.
Aladdin at the Greenwich Theatre: Tickets £16 – £25
Things are not going well for Aladdin. His mum’s laundry barely earns them enough to live on, let alone feed his pet panda, and to make matters worse he’s just caught a forbidden glimpse of Princess So-Shy and is surely in trouble with the Emperor. His one glimmer of hope arrives in the form of a slightly strange long-lost uncle who offers him a job and the promise of untold riches. Could this be the answer to all his problems? Join us for a magical, musical pantomime for all the family, written by and starring Andrew Pollard. Complete with a genie, a villain, a magic lamp and plenty of comedy and romance, this is sure to be the high-flying highlight of the festive season. Visit http://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/ for more information.
A Magical Night at the Linbury Studio Theatre: Tickets £10.50 – £23.50
This exciting new production for all the family in the Linbury Studio Theatre at Christmas is a fantasy sparked by magic and filled with colour. As two children fall asleep one night, a fairy appears to cast a magic spell that brings a host of toys to life for a night of fantastic adventures with the boy and girl. The charming tale is choreographed by ROH2 Associate Aletta Collins whose version of The Red Balloon was a great success here. Kurt Weill’s score was his first substantial work for the stage, and successfully premiered in Germany and the US during the 1920’s. Much of the musical and scenic material was presumed lost during the war, but the discovery of an original set of parts in a Yale University vault in 2005 has led to the creation of a new edition of the piece which will receive its first British performances at the Linbury. With the very welcome return of Aletta Collins, this is brand new family entertainment of very special seasonal charm. Visit www.roh.org.uk for more information.
Jack & The Beanstalk at the Broadway Theatre: Tickets £10
A pantomime kingdom full of magic and adventure awaits audiences this year at The Broadway Theatre, Catford, when Jack and the Beanstalk will be raising the roof from Sat 10th December to Mon 2nd January 2012. This year’s pantomime has all the ingredients of a mouth watering feast of fun, frivolity and festive cheer! Our traditional pantomime tale with be served up with spectacular scenery, colourful costumes, creative choreography accompanied by live music and a huge side dish of slapstick delivered by a very talented cast who promise plenty of magic in the giant kingdom of Sunnyvale! Visit http://broadwaytheatre.ticketsolve.com for more information.