Panto season is back – Oh yes it is! – Our guide to the best of the local festive shows

  Posted: 24.11.21 at 11:47 by Rory Poulter

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It’s panto season and the area’s theatres hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

Local theatres are banking on a successful panto run through the festive season to shore up their finances, which have been ravaged by lockdowns.

Many in the theatre see pantos as key to opening the curtain to a return to normality for buildings that play a crucial part in local cultural life.

The mix of song, dance, slapstick and awful jokes, lit up by famous faces from TV, is a uniquely British tradition.

And the early evidence of ticket sales – with many performance already a sell-out - suggest there is a real hunger for escapism.

Cinderella, Richmond Theatre

Strictly Come Dancing star, Anton Du Beke, is one of the most famous names from Saturday night TV and is expected to draw audiences from across London – and beyond.

Strictly Come Dancing star, Anton Du Beke, is one of the most famous names from Saturday night TV and is expected to draw audiences from across London – and beyond.

He has combined rehearsals for his role as Buttons with his duties on Strictly where fellow judge, Craig Revel Horwood, a panto veteran, has been giving him advice.

The father of two young children said: “The great thing about panto this year is that it is going to be the gateway to theatre. I think next year in the theatre is going to be really exciting.

“We are going to have families back - children, parents and granny and grandad are all going to go to the theatre. They are going to be full and everyone is going to have a great time.

He is joined by West End star Rosemary Ashe, who is no stranger to the spotlight having played Carlotta in the original cast of Phantom of the Opera and Felicia Gabriel in The Witches of Eastwick, which won her an Olivier Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

This is a re-telling of the classic tale, created by the theatre’s Community director, Liam Shea.

Cinderella will be played by Oonagh Cox, who has already appeared in Jonathan O’Boyle’s The Wedding Singer and Matilda the Musical.

The Ugly Sisters are played by David Dale and Bobby Delaney with Edward Chitticks as Prince Charming and Jonny Weston as Dandini.

Cinderella will offer all the ingredients of the traditional panto with laugh-out-loud comedy, spectacular dancing, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses.

The show runs from Friday, December 3, through until Sunday, January 2.

Tickets available here.

Climb aboard the magic carpet and be transported with this traditional family show to Old Peking.

Pinnochio, Orange Tree Theatre

This is a re-telling of the classic tale, created by the theatre’s Community director, Liam Shea.

It follows the story of Hugo, who is bored, lonely and needs a friend, with the result his mum tries to help by making him his very own Pinocchio puppet.

The two are then set on an adventure to the top of a snowy mountain, out to pleasure island and into the belly of a wiggly whale!

The fun and interactive show is designed for all ages and offers a mixture of puppetry and original music.

A thrilling journey packed with posh pirates, hairy fairies and sing-a-long tunes is promised alongside Peter Pan, Wendy and the other children.

The show runs from December 14-18, tickets available here.

Aladdin - The Exchange, Twickenham

Climb aboard the magic carpet and be transported with this traditional family show to Old Peking.

The professional cast from the world of stage and television promise to take audiences on a side splitting adventure involving, a boy, a magic lamp and a genie.

Just last weekend, the cast entertained the crowds at the switch-on of the Christmas lights in the centre of the town.

It is brought to the theatre by Starcatcher Productions, who were responsible for the enormously popular ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the 2019 pre-pandemic Christmas.

The show runs from Friday, December 17, to Wednesday, December 29.

Tickets available here.

Peter Pan - OSO, Barnes

A thrilling journey packed with posh pirates, hairy fairies and sing-a-long tunes is promised alongside Peter Pan, Wendy and the other children.

The production company, Barricade Arts, promises an absurd, hilarious and magical pantomime for all the family, which is written and directed by Jonny Danciger.

The same company was responsible for a previous successful Christmas show at the OSO, Rapunzel: The Original Isolation Story.

Tickets available here.

Wimbledon and Hammersmith

Panto legend Shane Ritchie stars as Dick Whittington as he seeks fame, fortune and happiness journeying to become the Lord Mayor of London. The show runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre from Saturday, December 4, until Sunday, January 2.

Aladdin is presented at The Lyric, Hammersmith. It stars Qasim Mahmood as the hero. The show runs from November 19, until January 2.


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