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The Muddy panto guide 2019

It's panto season. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Oh no.... OK, enough! Here's 18 of the best in Berkshire and beyond. Greasepaint at the ready!

Ready or not, here come the pantos! Dig out your stripy tights, winkle pickers, false eyelashes and wiggery, and book in for one of our 18 festive panto/Xmas production picks in Berkshire and beyond!

 

Cinderella, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 7 Dec – Sun 5 Jan 2019

cinderella The Hexagon Reading Justin Fletcher and Paul Morse panto 2019

He’s baaaaack! CBeebies megastar Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) is a Reading panto regular and he’ll be laying on the charm with a trowel as Cinderella’s perky Prince. Justin’s slapstick sidekick, Paul Morse, also returns as the dame, with a wardrobe that would make Karl Lagerfeld weep (literally). Reading’s mega panto is always a sell out, so wave your magic wand and book up pronto.

readingarts.com/hexagon

 

Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor, Fri 23 Nov – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Theatre Royal Windsor Panto 2019 starring panto dame Steven Blakeley and comedy sidekick Kevin Cruise

There’s a reason why families return to the Theatre Royal Windsor year after year. Filed under ‘classic cheesefest’, this year they’re putting on Aladdin. Windsor’s brilliant comedy duo, Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley are celebrating their 10th year in panto together at the Theatre Royal, so it’s guaranteed to be bigger and more bonkers than ever. Fans of ’80s nostalgia will be thrilled to hear that Paul Nicholas, Marti Webb and Basil Brush are joining the cast. Booooom booooooom!

theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

 

Aladdin, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 29 Nov – Sat 4 Jan 2019 

Aladdin at South Hill Park Bracknell panto cast shot

Aladdin will be rubbing his lamp this year in Bracknell and dame Brad Clapson is up to his neck in laundry (I hear you) as Widow Twankey. South Hill Park always put on a fun, their creative staging is award-winning. Jump on that magic carpet and book your tickets pronto.

southhillpark.org.uk

 

Sleeping Beauty, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 29 Nov – Sat 4 Jan

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! Step up Nanny and the dream team as they battle to save the day. Will they defeat the evil fairy? Will love conquer all? You know the drill.

CHRISTMAS SHOWS

The Prince & The Pauper, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, Thu 14 Nov – Sun 5 Jan 2019

Prince and the Pauper Watermioll Newbury illustration

The Watermill Theatre is renowned for its high quality bookish Christmas shows – and this year it’s The Prince & The Pauper. It’s a superb alternative if you’re not a fan of panto. So don’t expect a camp, thigh slapping prince. Funny, fearless and brilliant family entertainment, it’s always a treat at Chrimbo.

watermill.org.uk

 

The Bear, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Tue 26 Nov – Sun 29 Dec

THe Bear Norden Farm Puppet of a polar bear theatrical version of Raymond Briggs story

From the author who had us ‘Walking in the air…’ and Aled Jones reaching pre-teen musical highs, that only dogs could hear, But Raymond Briggs wasn’t a one-hit wonder, he wrote many children’s stories including The Bear – a story of a little girl who befriends a mischievous polar bear. It’s got all the warm and fuzzies to be a festive classic.

norden.farm

 

Singin In The Rain, Mill at Sonning, Sat 30 Nov – Sat 8 Feb

The Mill at Sonning is bringing Hollywood to Berks. Sadly not a George Clooney one man show, although I’d be front row, for sure, but Singing In The Rain, this year’s Christmas musical. All tickets before 23 Dec include a festive buffet and from Boxing Day onwards a delish two-course meal. First person to spy George and Amal wins Christmas at the Clooneys (joke, obvs). 

millatsonning.com

 

The Nutcracker, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 12 – Sat 16 Nov

A sea of tutus, twinkly lights, sugar plum fairies… it can only be the Nurcracker – a 18thcentury prequel to Toy Story. This classic ballet is a must in the run up to Christmas. No need to schlep into London and weep at the ticket price, the Vienna Festival Ballet will be pirouetting into Windsor.

theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

 

A Christmas Carol, Wokingham Theatre, 4 – 14 Dec

It’s Dickens but not as you know it. This is a fun, fresh and lively adaptation of the Christmas classic. A story of second chances – there’s always another day and  you can write a brand-new page tomorrow. All the festive feels and a healthy reminder not to be stingy with your gifts.

wokinghamtheatre.org.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD

A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic London, Sat 23 Nov – Sat 16 Jan

The_cast_of_A_Christmas_Carol_at_The_Old_Vic woman ringing bell wearing black overcoat and hat

This production of festive classic A Christmas Carol staged by The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus had such great reviews last year that it’s returning for round two. Adapted by Jack Thorne, co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 8+ it stars Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Babylon) as Ebenezer Scrooge.

oldvictheatre.com

 

Sleeping Beauty, Kenton Theatre Henley, Fri 13 – Sat 28 Dec

This year the Henley-based theatre will be pricking fingers and hacking through briars in Sleeping Beauty. Always a sell out and I love this local funky space, gratifyingly close to the river for a walk after the matinee.

kentontheatre.co.uk

 

Dick Whittington, Wycombe Swan, Fri 13 Dec – Sun 5 Jan

Scantily-clothed Love Island contestant (and younger brother of Strictly’s AJ Pritchard) Curtis Pritchard makes his panto debut in Wycombe Swan’s Dick Whittington. Will there be an influx of millennials at the panto this year? Will Curtis be able to fill Brendan Cole’s (tap) shoes after the New Zealander’s performance in Snow White last year? Will Curtis finally put some clothes on? We’ll have to wait and see.

wycombeswan.co.uk

 

Aladdin, Milton Keynes Theatre, Sat 7 Dec – Sun 12 Jan

Lee Mead! Did you hear me randy women of Berkshire, flipping LEE MEAD! And, er, squeaky comedian Joe Pasquale, but there, you can’t have it all. Want to see them messing about on a magic carpet? Your wish is my command! They’re both performing in MK Theatre’s Aladdin panto this year alongside a live orchestra.

atgtickets.com

Aladdin, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Wed 12 Dec – Sun 5 Jan

Anvil PantoAladdin and the gang have landed safely via a magic carpet ride. Be mesmerized this Christmas by creative scenery, gorgeous costumes and ‘a whole new world’ of panto. With CBBC’s Mark Rhodes and Chris Pizzey this is a fantastic production that the kids will adore. 

anvilarts.org.uk

Beauty and the Beast, Oxford Playhouse, Fri 29 Nov – Sun 12 Jan 

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? The Oxford Playhouse continues its policy of not bothering with the soap star brigade, with its in-house panto. If you enjoyed last year’s Dick Whittington and his Cat then it’s a dead cert as it’s the same team behind the production.

oxfordplayhouse.com

 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium, Sat 7 Dec – Sun 12 Jan

This is like fantasy panto casting. I mean, seriously, does it get better than this? Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and  – well who cares about the rest, I’m sold.

lwtheatres.co.uk

 

Dick Whittington, The Theatre Royal, Winchester, Sat 30 Nov – Sun 5 Jan

Join Dick and his cat on their wild adventure to the streets of Winchester. As Dick seeks to make his fame and fortune, he must overcome challenges and obstacles (such as the Winchester one way system) set by the sinister King Rat and his revolting rodents. Filled with plenty of audience participation, festive songs and ‘oh yes you did’ this is a great take on a classic pant

theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

Dick Whittington and his Cat, Hackney Empire, Sat 23 Nov – Sun 5 Jan 

Clive-RoweTarinn-Callender-and-Annette-McLaughlin-in-Hackney-Empires-Dick-Whittington-and-His-Cat

The unashamed home of Panto has chosen Dick Whittington and his Cat for this year’s festive offering. Olivier award-winner and panto dame extraordinaire Clive Rowe stars in his 13th panto for the theatre alongside Hamilton’s Tarinn Callender in the leading role.

hackneyempire.co.uk

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