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The Muddy panto and Christmas show guide

Love 'em or hate 'em, pantos are back this year. Oh yes they are! So hone your heckling skills and book one of these productions in Herts, Beds, and beyond.

Dick Whittington and his Cat, Watford Palace Theatre, 2 Dec – 2 Jan

Credit: The Other Richard

If you’re after a right rollicking adventure – this one from award-winning writer, Andrew Pollard, looks like the one for you. An explosion of colourful sets, flamboyant costumes and exuberant performance, Dick and his Cat are joined on their travels by Dame Sherrie Trifle (Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe actor Terence Frisch) and friends. Plus you can take your pick from socially distanced, relaxed, captioned and audiodescribed performances.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Radlett Centre, 4-31 Dec

If it’s traditional panto that floats your boat, this is a pretty good bet – great costumes, live music, choreographed routines and a cheeky dame. Follow Snow White into the woods where she meets seven special friends who rescue her from the wicked queen and help her find her true love. Aww… don’t ya love a happy ending.

Rapunzel, South Mill Arts, Bishop’s Stortford, 4 Dec – 2 Jan

Love a good fairytale at Christmas? Get the family over to South Mill Arts for this lively re-telling (not strictly billed as a panto!), with a feisty heroine, talking horse and a wicked witch, plus plenty of adventure, dance and original (and well-known) songs to get those toes tapping. Wanna know more? Read our Muddy review right here…

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Alban Arena, 10 Dec – 3 Jan

You might recognise some of the faces in this one… Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City, Strictly, EastEnders) stars as the Wicked Queen, while stand-up and actor, Jonny Weldon, plays Muddles and Jimmy Vee, who played R2D2 in the Star Wars films is one of the dwarfs. It’s likely to be a sell-out going by the venue’s past smash hits, so book your tickets now!

Aladdin, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, 10 Dec – 3 Jan

All aboard the flying carpet for this Arabian adventure, starring Richard David-Caine of CBBC’s Horrible Histories. Grove is known for it’s annual panto, so having skipped a year, this one promises to be bigger and better than evet.

Under the Frozen Moon, Southern Maltings, Ware, with Hertford Theatre, 14 Dec – 3 Jan

If you’re not into panto, try this gorgeously gentle production by Half a String Theatre with Hertford Theatre. It tells the heartwarming story of little girl Amka and her family, who live in an icy wonderland where a dragon has stolen all the fire and light. Told with beautiful puppets and original music it sounds like it will mesmerise both young and old audiences alike. Read our interview with the Artistic Director, Peter Morton to find out more about the inspiration behind it.

Beauty and the Beast, Broadway Letchworth, 17-19 Dec

Catch this if you can as it’s only a short run. Expect a good serving of triumph over evil, a healthy dollop of slapstick and a generous sprinkling of glitter for this spellbinding show which takes audiences on a magical adventure through the enchanted forest.

Robin Hood, Trestle Arts Base, St Albans, 18-19 Dec

Credit: Thomas Byron Photography

Lamphouse Theatre take on the merry tale of the lovable outlaw in what’s being called a ‘silly, funny, family show’. In this musical alternative to traditional panto, there’s a modern, feminist, twist – Marion leads the Sherwood Forest gang to take on the Sheriff of Nottingham. We’re promised original music, fabulous dancing, sword fights and erm…. lots of hats! Guess you’ve got to watch it!

The Wizard of Oz, Saffron Hall, 23-29 Dec

Follow Dorothy and her friends over the rainbow as they search for The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz to help them find a heart, a brain, some courage and a way back home. It promises to be a colourful, Christmassy spectacular with dazzling costumes, sensational dance and music from a live band. Click those heels and repeat after me… ‘there’s no place like home’!

Cinderella, Court Theatre, Tring, 28 Dec – 3 Jan

Tring’s local theatre has its own panto team who are all raring to go this year with their production of Cinderella, featuring Buttons, the wicked stepsisters and a dashing prince – the perfect panto formula. You shall go to the ball! Oh yes you shall…

FURTHER AFIELD

Pantoland, London Palladium, 4 Dec – 9 Jan

A mash up of all of panto’s best bits, starring American musician Donny Osmond and panto legend Julian Clary. Expect show-stopper songs, coarse comedy, and — well, all the things you’d expect from a great panto, really.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Milton Keynes Theatre, 11 Dec – 8 Jan

Jack and the Beanstalk panto with Diversity

Britain’s Got Talent‘s favourite dance group Diversity will be doing backflips and climbing beanstalks in this Milton Keynes panto. Can Jack rescue the beautiful Princess? Will we be amazed by gravity-defying street dance? Almost certainly!

Cinderella, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, 3 Dec – 2 Jan

Cinderella panto

You might not go to the ball, but you’ll certainly have a ball at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s production of Cinderella, featuring panto veteran BBC Three Counties Breakfast presenter Andy Collins, CBBC’s Mark Rhodes and Britain’s Got Talent‘s divalicious La Voix.

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