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
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.
Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor, Fri 23 Nov – Sun 6 Jan 2019
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!
Aladdin, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 29 Nov – Sat 4 Jan 2019
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aladdin, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Wed 12 Dec – Sun 5 Jan
Aladdin 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.
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.
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.
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
Dick Whittington and his Cat, Hackney Empire, Sat 23 Nov – Sun 5 Jan
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.