As always, this Christmas has plenty of wacky pantomimes to choose from, with the usual celebrity cameos.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS: MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE
From Friday, December 5 to Sunday, January 4, the Manchester Opera House hosts a star-studded production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Priscilla Presley, Hollywood royalty, TV icon and the wife of the King of Rock N Roll, Elvis Presley, makes her Manchester stage debut in the role of the Wicked Queen, following a smash hit run at the New Wimbledon Theatre two years ago.
Priscilla, who is best known for co-starring with Leslie Nielsen in the Naked Gun film series and for her role as Jenna Wade in Dallas, said: “I was introduced to the world of pantomime two years ago when I played the Wicked Queen at Wimbledon. I can honestly say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
“My grandchildren absolutely loved seeing me on stage and I can’t wait to get that costume back on again and start terrorising the people of Manchester! “It’s such a wonderful honour to be spending Christmas here and being part of this British festive family tradition.” Further casting has also been announced.
Warwick Davies features in the production as Prof, widely known for his roles in Willow, the Harry Potter films and Star Wars and on the TV in Life’s Too Short and Weekend Escapes. Comedian, actor and singer, Tam Ryan, known for his roles as Mr Duggan in Emmerdale and Jury Foreman in the P.D. James TV adaption of Death Comes To Pemberley – a highlight of last Christmas’ TV schedule – takes the role of Muddles.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a dazzling fairytale of a pantomime guaranteed to melt everyone’s hearts. Watch as the beautiful Snow White and the dwarfs attempt to defeat the Wicked Queen. Will she meet her handsome Prince and save the day? Snow White will feature all the traditional pantomime ingredients, plus the magnificent sets and costumes the Opera House panto is famous for. For group bookings, call 0844 871 3038.
MOTHER GOOSE: HACKNEY EMPIRE
Hackney Empire presents Mother Goose as its pantomime this Christmas, playing from November 22 to January 4. Audiences follow the enchanting story of the good Mother Goose and her magical, larger-than-life companion Princess Pricilla – a goose who lays golden eggs. Lured towards material pleasures by Vanity, Mother Goose’s soul is in jeopardy. But can Charity pull her back from the brink before it’s too late? Mother Goose is a unique seasonal show suitable for audiences of all ages. Directed by Hackney Empire’s Creative Director, Susie McKenna, in her 16th pantomime for the venue, the family-friendly production will feature dazzling dance routines, colourful costumes and show-stopping songs, performed alongside a live band. In true Hackney panto style, Mother Goose promises to be fun and current, with clever references to contemporary events in London and the UK. Groups young and old (and in particular, those young at heart) will delight in this colourful and festive entertainment. Groups of 10 or more get a 20% discount on admission, with the group organiser going free. An outing to this pantomime is also a visit to one of London’s most iconic Edwardian buildings. Hackney Empire, a Frank Matcham theatre built in 1901, combines historic extravagance with comfort and accessibility for all audience members.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK: PLYMOUTH ROYAL THEATRE
Plymouth Royal Theatre hosts Jack and the Beanstalk this year, which the venue is calling the South West’s biggest pantomime. The production runs from December 19 to January 17. Pantomime star Bobby Davro returns along with John Challis, Chico and Jeffrey Holland to complete the cast. Peak performances range from £13.20 – £33.20, with non-peak performances at £13.20 – £30.70. However, a number of group discounts are available. Groups of 10+ get £2 off each ticket, a discount which increases to £3 off each ticket for 20 or more and £5 off for 40 or more. Particularly large groups of 200+ have access to £16 tickets. School groups of10or more are offered £9 tickets for performances from January 6-9 and January 13-16.
CINDERELLA: SOUTHAMPTON MAYFLOWER
At the Southampton Mayflower this Christmas is a production of Cinderella, running from Saturday, December 13 to Sunday, January 4. Comedian, television presenter and musical theatre star Brian Conley returns to the Mayflower stage as Buttons, joined by fashion expert, television presenter, author and all-round national treasure Gok Wan as The Fairy Gokmother. Brian Conley’s return to the Mayflower stage follows the huge success of Robinson Crusoe and The Caribbean Pirates last year, which saw Conley flying over the heads of audiences in a magical car. Gok Wan will play The Fairy Gokmother, offering helpful style tips to The Ugly Sisters and creating the most magical ball gown in panto-land. Gok’s performance in the Mayflower Theatre’s pantomime will be his second pantomime for producer Qdos Entertainment, his debut last year being the subject of the Channel 4 documentary Gok Does Panto. School and young people’s groups of 10 of more can see the performance at £9.00 each for off peak shows only. A ratio of one supervisor to eight pupils is allowed. General groups of 10 or more can enjoy £8.00 off each ticket. One free ticket is included with every 20 purchased. The group bookings number is 02380 711812. All special offers and discounts are strictly subject to availability and quotas and may be withdrawn at any time, so be sure to book early.
ALADDIN: CHATHAM CENTRAL THEATRE
The Central Theatre in Chatham, Kent, has announced its Aladdin pantomime for this Christmas, running from December 12 to January 4. Starring Todd Carty (Grange Hill, Eastenders, Gabriel Kent in The Bill, and most recently seen on ITV’s Dancing on Ice) as the Evil Abanazaar, Javine Hylton as Genie of the Ring, West End performer Mark Siney as Widow Twankey and Britain’s Got Talent 2010 runners-up Twist and Pulse as PCs Hip and Hop. The show is packed with all the essential ingredients for a good pantomime: live music, a fabulous cast, dazzling sets and a magic carpet ride, not to mention booing and hissing aplenty. A number of group rates are available, though they are not applicable to peak evening performances from December 20-24, or any of the performances from December 26-30. Tickets per head for groups of 10 or more are priced at £15.50 per head, or £13.50 per head for groups of 50 or more. Youth groups can obtain tickets for £12.50 per head, with one free ticket for every 10 youngsters. School rates are available at 1230hrs on December 12, 1030hrs on December 16 and 1030hrs on December 17. The cost here is £9.50 per child, with one free teacher for every 10 children.
DICK WITTINGTON: BRISTOL HIPPODROME
Join Britain’s Got Talent 2012 winner Ashleigh & Pudsey, Ben Faulks – AKA Mr Bloom – and Bristol pantomime legend Andy Ford for the family pantomime of Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome this year. The pantomime tells the rags to riches tale of a young man and his cat on an exciting quest for fame and fortune. Will the evil King Rat thwart his plans or will Fairy Bowbells save the day? Dick Wittington features all the traditional pantomime ingredients; sensational songs, a live band, dance routines, slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation. Groups benefits though ATG Tickets include no booking fees on selected shows, savings on the majority of shows, easily amendable reservations, no deposits required and pre-booked hospitality packages. Email bristolgroups@theambassadors. com or call 0844 871 3032 for more information.