We’re not quite there yet, but in December the theatre scene in London takes on a slightly less serious tone when venues large and small put on their pantomimes. Pantos are a great way to introduce younger members of the family to the theatre with their outrageous characters and laugh-a-minute scripts.
Here’s the lowdown on five of the best pantomimes doing the rounds in London this year – several of the theatres listed here have been putting on annual runs for decades but there’s a complete newcomer at the end…
Dick Whittington & His Cat – Hackney Empire From 1 December – 6 January 2013
This grand old venue on Mare St in Hackney has a reputation for putting on the most lavish pantomime to be found anywhere in the capital. This tale about the rags-to-riches story about the man who would go on to become Lord Mayor of London follows convention with lots of girls playing boys and boys playing girls (always a recipe for hilarity). A strong cast features Joanna Riding as Dick, Steve Elias as Sarah the Cook, a magical Fairy Bowbells played by Rina Fatania and a whole host of other weird and wonderful characters.
Jack & The Beanstalk – Theatre Royal Stratford East From 1 December – 19 January 2013
In their own words, the theatre says that “the annual Stratford East panto doesn’t get quite the attention of its East End rival the Hackney Empire, but it’s usually a teensy bit better!”. Returning to the theatre for it’s first run since 2002, this sorry tale of cows and beans will feature the Stratford regulars in a colourful stage setting. If previous years are anything to go by there are likely to be two dames – one man playing a big-bottomed Jamaican mother and another playing an evil and vicious haridan. Previous years have had our sides aching from laughter by the interval – we can’t wait!
Beauty & The Beast – Shaw Theatre From December 6 – 29
Better known for its serious output, the Shaw tackles the fairytale of the little girl who cohabits with an ugly beast in order to save her family. Alison Hammond from ITV’s ‘This Morning’, Rusty Goffe from the Harry Potter series and Corrie’s GP Oliver Mellor star in the production.
Aladdin: A Wish Come True – O2 From December 7 – January 5 2013
With affordable accommodation such as Travelodge providing some excellent deals, your trip to London for a theatre visit with the family doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Booking a room in advance can offer some even better early bird savings to ensure you have as much spare cash as possible to enjoy the capital.
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