The Muddy Panto Guide
It's what you've all been waiting for. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Here are 22 of the perkiest pantos to book now in Herts, Beds and beyond.
Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no avoiding pantos over the festive season. So dig out your stripy tights, winkle pickers, false eyelashes and corsetry, and book in for one of our festive Panto/Xmas production picks in Herts, Beds and beyond.
Sleeping Beauty, Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishop’s Stortford, 7 Dec – 5 Jan
This contemporary re-telling of the classic tale features feisty heroine, Princess Bea up against the Wicked Fairy Midnight in pursuit of true love’s kiss. It’s got a superstar panto director, West End choreographer and producer whose credits include Olivier Award winning shows, so it’s gonna be a good’un.
Sleeping Beauty, Wyllyotts Theatre, Borehamwood, 14 Dec – 5 Jan
Another vote for Beauty from the Wyllyotts Theatre. It promises sensational costumes, slick choreography and a spectacular score.
Sleeping Beauty, Watford Palace Theatre, 29 Nov – 31 Dec
There’s been a panto at Watford Palace Theatre since 1908 so I’m sure they must be getting pretty good at it now! This year they’re doing Sleeping Beauty (which seems to be a popular choice on the panto circuit for 2019), but this one’s got a time-travelling twist and a guitar-playing prince.
Sleeping Beauty, Harpenden Public Halls, 23 – 26 Jan
For the New Year, The Hurst Children’s Theatre Group will present their version of Sleeping Beauty, featuring beautiful princess Megan who is destined to marry Prince Harry of Windsor. But after Maleficent casts an evil spell upon Megan she runs away to the land of Pantoloonia where she meets Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Peter Pan and is looked after by a Nurse (Dame Judi Stench) and three Fairies called Milly, Molly and Mandy. Sounds bonkers but super cute.
Sleeping Beauty, Alban Arena, St Albans, 6 Dec – 5 Jan
You’ll spot a few familiar faces here including Eastenders’ Rita Simons (yep, Roxy Mitchell) and CBeebies’ Andy Day taking to the stage. We’ve been reliably informed that there’ll be some corking special effects – fire breathing dragon anyone?
Cinders and her fairy godmother strike again but will it be pumkins at midnight? There’ll be whip-cracking comedy, fabulous costumes and of course a glass slipper in search of its rightful owner… if the shoe fits!
Peter Pan, Watersmeet, Rickmansworth, 12 Dec – 5 Jan
Journey to Never Never Land with Peter, Wendy and Tinkerbell for a swashbuckling adventure in this production, starring Eastenders’ Todd Carty as Captain Hook.
Puss in Boots, Spotlight Theatre, Hoddesdon, 8-12 Jan
The Broxbourne Theatre Company are letting the cat out of the bag as they announce their panto starring everyone’s favourite well-shod feline (thanks, Shrek) along with a dame, an ogre, a princess, a fairy and a large chorus!
Snow White, Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, 11 – 31 Dec
The Snow Queen – A Frozen Fairytale, Hertford Theatre, 30 Nov – 1 Jan
OK, so it’s not strictly panto but this all-singing, all-dancing 10th anniversary Christmas production of the story which inspired Frozen is gonna be a surefire hit with the kids. Meet Gerda, Jack Frost and some other fairytale favourites in this chilly adventure as they try and rescue their friends from the icy clutches of the Snow Queen.
Smilin’ Sam’s Holiday Hoedown, The Auditorium Theatre, St Christopher School, Letchworth Garden City, 14 Dec
Not your trad panto fodder – all productions by Letchworth-based Imajica Theatre Company have a moral or environmental message. This one’s designed especially for younger children (no loud flashes, bangs or baddies), and 50% of tickets are given away to families with children who have special needs.
Hansel and Gretel, The Quarry Theatre, Bedford, 14–22 Dec
Another twist on a dark fairytale, (I mean, it features a 7-foot yeti!), this sugar-filled pantomime version of Hansel and Gretel is a Grimm (see what we did there?) reminder not to take sweets from strangers!
Cinderella, The Place, Bedford, 17 – 28 Dec
You shall go to the ball… but err, there’s been a typo, so instead of being held at The Palace it’s going ahead at The Place – not quite as glam but you are invited to dress to impress (no rags or Buttons allowed!). The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company are bringing their wit and wonder to this family favourite.
Dick Whittington, Wycombe Swan, 13 Dec – 5 Jan
Heart-throb 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 be breaking hearts all across High Wycombe? We’ll have to wait and see. wycombeswan.co.uk
Beauty and the Beast, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, 6 Dec – 5 Jan
Who’s the biggest pull – Eastenders’ regular Danny Walters who stars as the Prince or Britain’s Got Talent’s drag act La Voix and local celeb Andy Collins who have made your correspondent snort with laughter for the last few years? It’s too tough to call – maybe we’ll have to ask the talking furniture to decide. atgtickets.com
Aladdin, Milton Keynes Theatre, 7 Dec – 12 Jan
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.
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 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. hackneyempire.co.uk
Pinocchio on Ice, Alexandra Palace, Fri 13 – Mon 16 Dec
A panto but with a few triple salchows thrown in for good measure. This show features pro skaters, a mix of modern and traditional music, a performance from a West End star and lashings of festive spirit all performed on Ally Pally’s ice rink. alexandrapalace.com