Pantomime season is upon us……..Pause for obligatory “oh no it isn’t”……With so many different pantomimes playing in London, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, Mummy has done the research already and made a handy guide. So start here.
Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly
Fans of Cinderella are in luck this year, with plenty of productions to choose from. (In fact, Mummy updated this guide within half an hour of posting it when she discovered yet another production that she hadn’t previously included!)
For those in West London, New Wimbledon Theatre’s Cinderella boasts an all-star cast that includes Samantha Womack, Lesley Garrett, Pete Firman and Melody Thornton. Tickets range from £13 to £53. The show opens on 7 December 2019 and runs until 5 January 2020.
Ore Oduba, Tim Vine and CBeebies star Cat Sandion head another strong cast in Cinderella at Fairfield Halls, Croydon. It’s a whole family affair, which has the Fantastic for Families seal of approval. Tickets are priced between £15 and £48 (plus a transaction fee). Performances run from 10 December 2019 to 5 January 2020. There are relaxed, BSL and audio described performances available.
Meanwhile, the Lyric Hammersmith’s Cinderella promises to put a twist on the traditional tale. Musical theatre fans will find plenty of familiar faces in the cast, including Jodie Jacobs, Lauren Samuels and Shobna Gulati. Their production is suitable for ages 6+ and family tickets are available for £75. The Lyric is getting into the festive spirit early, with shows starting on 16 November 2019 and running until 5 January 2020. There are relaxed, BSL interpreted, audio described and open captioned performances available.
Up in North London, Arts Depot are putting on Cinderella-The Rockin’ Panto. As the title suggests, the emphasis here is on the music, with the promise of a “chart-topping panto packed with rock, pop and soul”. It’s suitable for ages 6+ with tickets ranging from £10 to £32. The show runs from 30 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. There are BSL interpreted and relaxed performances available too.
If you like your pantomimes with a healthy helping of adult humour, there’s a Cinderella or two for you in central London. Head to Waterloo between 22 November 2019 and 12 January 2020 for an immersive Cinderella at The Vaults. Set in a pub, you can buy drinks from the onstage bar and there’s even an optional post-show karaoke! This show is suitable for ages 12+ and tickets range from £20 (early bird) to £35.
Alternatively, drag yourself to Trafalgar Studios to see RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Star Baga Chipz and Britain’s Got Talent star Sheila Simmonds lead a cast of drag performers in another twist on the classic tale (for ages 14+ with a parental advisory warning!) The Trafalgar Studios Cinderella is only on for six performances across 15, 22 and 28 December 2019 with tickets ranging from £15 to £55. So sashay your way to the booking office without delay.
Goldilocks and the Seven Dwarves
If you’re sick of Cinderella, there are plenty of other classic stories to see on stage this winter. This year’s offering from the London Palladium is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Once again, this is a star-studded spectacular, with big names including Paul O-Grady, Julian Clary and Matt Baker heading a cast of international circus acts to bring you a far less sleepy Goldilocks than the traditional bedtime tale. It’s recommended for ‘general audiences’ (but doesn’t admit under 3 year olds) with a warning that there may be some innuendo and ‘adult intimidation’ that makes it unsuitable for some. Likely to be the biggest spectacle, this panto also comes with the biggest price tag (at least if you want decent seats). Tickets in the Grand Circle start at £22.50 and reach an eye-watering £175 for prime stalls seats. The show runs from 7 December 2019 to 12 January 2020. There is a sign language interpreted performance on 2 January and an audio described performance on 3 January.
Fans of Jo Brand should head to Richmond Theatre, where she is playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Tickets range from £12 to £52.50 (plus a £3.65 booking fee). Performances begin on 7 December 2019 and continue until Sunday 5 January 2020. There is a relaxed performance on 17 December 2019.
Sleeping Beauty and the Beast
There is plenty of choice for South-East Londoners this panto season. If Sleeping Beauty is your favourite fairytale, get yourself to Greenwich. Always a popular pantomime, this production celebrates 50 years since the re-opening of Greenwich Theatre. Adult tickets are £30, with concessions available for £20 and child tickets for £15.50 (all including a £1 booking fee). It runs from 22 November 2019 to 12 January 2020.
Beauty and the Beast is the pantomime of choice at the The Broadway Theatre, Catford this year. Starring soul singer Mica Paris and Britain’s Got Talent impressionist Andrew Fleming, this pantomime runs from 20 December 2019 to 29 December 2019. Tickets start at £19 (or £17.50 for concessions) plus a £1.50 booking fee. Family tickets are available for £68 (plus £1.50 booking fee).
Magic Beans and Magic Carpets
If you’re pining for the marketplace of Agrabah since Aladdin closed in the West End this summer, you will be pleased to hear that everyone’s favourite street rat has set up shop in South East London. Hop on a magic carpet to Churchill Theatre, Bromley to catch panto stalwart Christopher Biggins as iconic Widow Twankey. Performances take place from 7 December 2019 to Sunday 5 January 2020. Prices range from £20 to £58 dining seats. There are captioned, signed, audio described and relaxed performances available.
Another traditional panto is given a modern makeover at Theatre Peckham. Written by Olivier nominated playwright, Paul Sirettt and directed by Suzann McLean, with compositions by Wayne Nunes and Perry Melius, Jack and the Beanstalk takes inspiration from the teen adventure movies of the electric 80s. The cast includes a mix of students from Theatre Peckham’s Academy as well as professional actors. Tickets are £15 for adults and £12 for children (reduced to £12 and £9 respectively for Southwark residents) or £40 for a family ticket. Performances begin on 4 December 2019 and continue until 22 December 2019.
We’ll be attending the press performance on 7 December so look out for our review.
Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, mysterious things are happening around Peckham. In the street where Jack lives there have been a series of break-ins. Even aspiring young detective Lucy is finding it hard to follow the clues. All is lost for Jack and his Mum until mystical rapper Shot the Poet sets the adventure in motion with a bag of magical beans…
Michael Bertenshaw as Mrs Trott
Yinka Williams as Mr Fleece/Mrs Porridge
Tamara McKoy-Patterson as Henrietta
Michael Gonsalves as Biz
Kitty Hollingsworth as Harpo
Luis Gustavo Silva Navarro s Dizzy
Dick spotted in Stratford and Hackney
Hit the road to East London if you fancy seeing Dick Whittington this Christmas. Head to the Hackney Empire for a Jamaican style re-imagining of Dick Whittington and His Cat that stars Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe as Sarah the Cook and Hamilton alumnus Tarinn Callender as Dick. Prices range from £10 to £42 (plus a booking fee that varies depending on booking method). Shows run from 23 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. There are relaxed, dementia-friendly and BSL-interpreted performances available.
You can also find Dick Whittington over in Theatre Royal Stratford East. This sounds like a more traditional panto, which sells itself on a mix of original songs, belly laughs and a suggestion that there may be some snow! Prices range from £10 to £44 (and increase with demand). Performances run between 23 November 2019 and 11 January 2020. There are relaxed, captioned, BSL-interpreted and audio-described performances available, as well as a touch tour.
Here at the Family Stage we are big fans of the PwC Panto, which is a charity production put on by professional services firm PwC. Many of the tickets are given away to disadvantaged children from inner-city schools and charities. We’ve been lucky enough to be recipients of this scheme, as members of brilliant charity New Family Social (which provides support to LGBT foster and adoptive families). Although this is technically an amateur production (put on by around 200 PwC staff and alumni in their spare time), it’s impressively professional. Check out our review of last year’s production of Sleeping Beauty. This year they’re doing Treasure Island. You can catch them at the Peacock Theatre on 23 to 25 January 2020, where tickets cost £22 (plus a £3 booking fee). The performance on 24 January is BSL interpreted. You can buy tickets here.
If you really can’t decide which panto to plump for, head to Southwark Playhouse, where you can see seven classic pantos in 80 minutes. Potted Panto is a whirlwind ride that includes quite a few of the classics playing elsewhere in London. The perfect panto for the undecided, or those who want to squeeze a seventh version of Cinderella into a busy festive season! Standard ticket prices are £20, with £20 concessions, with preview performances at £15. Family tickets are £80. (But if you see a lot at the Southwark Playhouse, we would recommend signing up for their brilliant Pay as You Go ticket scheme, which effectively reduces tickets to £12.) Shows run from 5 December 2019 to 11 January 2019.