Theatrical Treats this Christmas are there if you can find them:
Normally by this point in the year we at Scotsgay arts would have published our festive preview of the best on offer from across Scotland and the UK this festive season. We would also be gearing up for ever growing Panto tour of the country trying to cover the moments that sparkle on our stages.
However, 2020 has been no normal year, with our theatres in Scotland remaining shuttered and the ghost lights continuing to burn bright. There has been a plethora of digital offerings from all of Scotland’s biggest producing houses combined with community engagements from venues the length and breath of the country.
Those digital offerings will continue over Christmas and we have a few of the best in this preview. Wales and Northern Ireland are facing the same issues and problems and as yet there is no theatrical offerings, although Wales is at the point test projects.
England have been more successful with socially distant performances taking place in venues across England and with the Partnership between the National Lottery and QDOS, ten venues will receive pantomimes this festive season. It’s important to note 9 out of these 10 will be hybrids, one act 75-minute affairs all staged socially distant.
So, lets go round up those and all the latest show news for the upcoming festive season.
Halo Arts are an innovative arts and events production company with a remit of delivering a range of high quality and inclusive projects with young people aged 6-18 and those with additional needs across Glasgow. Halo Arts have a commitment to working with young people, the disadvantaged and those with additional needs. The company will produce, A Lad in Govan- Glasgow’s first ever digitally streamed community panto running from 17th to the 27th December.
Join Aladdin, Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee in their home town of Govan where they are soon to swap the streets of South Glasgow for the Pyramids of Egypt on an unexpected and exciting adventure… Widow Twankey’s launderette isn’t doing too well, Wishee Washee is up to mischief and to top it all off Aladdin has gone and fallen in love with a Princess! Will he be able to make his wishes come true and defeat the wicked Abanazar?
The show will be performed live and streamed from the Pearce Institute in Glasgow and will star Cameron Fulton of BBC River City and is sure to be a festive treat for all the family.
For tickets go to:
Oh Yes We Are! A Quest for Long Lost Light and Laughter: Perth,
Written and directed by Barrie Hunter
Design by Becky Minto
Experience the joy of panto with Perth Theatre’s unique LIVE interactive online broadcast via video platform Zoom. You can still be a part of the action, you can boo the baddie, cheer the hero, banter with the dame and have the same singalong, laugh along panto fun you love with your families, but from the comfort of your sofa! Why not get a group together in your different households or with family across the world and all attend at the same time?
This digital extravaganza will run from December 11th through December 24th and will feature Christina Gordon, Ava Hickey, Barrie Hunter, Helen Logan and Ewan Somers.
For tickets and full information go to:
Rapunzel The Pantomime: The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
A family film screened at The Brunton
The Brunton panto regulars are getting in the mood for Christmas and The theatre elves are planning some festive treats for everyone. Join us in our sparkling Christmas grotto (otherwise known as Venue 1), for a big screen family film – Rapunzel The Pantomime. Why not dress up as your favourite pantomime or Christmas character? Or wear a Santa hat and sparkles.
The story of Rapunzel who was locked in a tower before being rescued by her pal Jammy, is told in fun panto style. Full of songs and slapstick, local references and colourful characters – a unique family pantomime film for all ages.
Rapunzel The Pantomime – a film for all the family is produced by The Brunton, written and directed by John Binnie, designed by Robin Mitchell with Musical Direction by Tommy Travers and filmed by D Fie Foe. The cast includes many of the Brunton Panto regulars.
The film will run from the 19th to the 30th December, for more information and tickets go to:
Dick Whittington at The National:
Join Dick Whittington and friends on an adventure to save the true spirit of London as pantomime comes to the National Theatre for one year only. In a newly transformed Olivier theatre, Ned Bennett directs this wild new version of the classic tale which has been freshly updated for 2020 by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd.
This hilarious and heartfelt panto is packed with the cheekiest of jokes, the chattiest of animals, the awesomest of songs and the messiest of silliness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September.
In a season when many UK theatres have been forced to postpone their pantomimes, help us to celebrate its place at the heart of British theatre.
For more information and tickets go to:
Pantoland at The Palladium:
As covered in articles elsewhere on Scotsgay arts The London Palladium, the home of pantomime, will welcome back panto favourites Elaine Paige, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, as well as past stars Ashley Banjo & Diversity and Charlie Stemp. Making their debut will be West End sensations Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow.
Returning for a fifth consecutive year, The London Palladium pantomime has become an essential part of Christmas in the West End, with record-breaking box office success year-after-year. Pantoland at The Palladium, devised by Michael Harrison, will be a treasure-trove of The London Palladium panto past and exciting new surprises written especially for the show, guaranteeing an unmissable treat for panto and musical theatre fans alike.
Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially-distanced audience. The show will feature the work of Olivier Award-Winning Team director Michael Harrison, choreographer Karen Bruce, set designer Ian Westbrook, costume designer Hugh Durrant, lighting designer Ben Cracknell, sound designer Gareth Owen and composer and orchestrator Gary Hind.
This will be the only full scale two act pantomime from QDOS this year so will indeed be the jewel in the crown. For more information and to book go to:
Robin Hood and His Merry Men:
The Bristol Hippodrome then Transferring to The Birmingham Alexandra Theatre.
Starring the Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s funniest matriarch Doreen Tipton. The socially distanced, one-act production will begin its run at the Historic Bristol Hippodrome in December before moving to Birmingham and then temporarily change venues due to Birmingham Hippodrome’s hosting of the critically acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience.
Doreen Tipton will only appear in the Birmingham dates.
For tickets go to:
Sleep Beauty, The Manchester Opera House.
Starring Salford-born funny man Jason Manford as Muddles, with comic legend Billy Pearce as King Billy, musical theatre leading lady Jodie Prenger as The Enchantress and Eric Potts as The Queen, Sleeping Beauty will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run. This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Manchester Opera House audiences have come to expect from their annual festive pantomime. The previously advertised production of Aladdin will be staged in 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.
For full details and tickets go to:
Sleeping Beauty, The Milton Keynes Theatre
Best-known for winning the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead won the title role in the West End revival of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to rave reviews. Since then Lee has had lead roles in Wicked and Legally Blonde in the West End, releasedseveral solo albums and toured extensively. No stranger to pantomime, Lee has starred in seven Qdos Entertainment pantomimes, including his star turn as Prince Charming in their critically acclaimed production of Cinderella at the London Palladium and last year’s Milton Keynes Theatre pantomime, Starring alongside Lee as the evil Carabosse will be star of screen and stage, Claire Sweeney. In the role of The Enchantress will be pop and television star Suzanne Shaw, who rose to fame via the popular ITV talent search Popstars and the music group Hearsay.
Starring as Princess Beauty’s hilarious best friend Muddles is comedian and magician Pete Firman. Widely recognised having starred in BBC1’s prime-time Saturday night programme The Magicians, he has made special guest appearances on ITV1’s The Next Great Magician and Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief.
This year’s cast will also feature two legends of comedy, Allan Stewart and Andy Gray, who will be swapping their usual pantomime home at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh, where they have delighted almost two million festive theatregoers for the last twenty years, for Milton Keynes Theatre. The much-loved pairing of Scottish comedy royalty will provide all the laughter and quick wit the duo are best-known and loved for in their native home, with Allan playing The Queen and Andy as The King.
For Full details and to book tickets go to:
Robin Hood, The Newcastle Theatre Royal.
Starring masters of mayhem Danny Adams and Clive Webb, alongside the Grande Dame of Grey Street Chris Hayward, they will be joined by X Factor and local lad Joe McElderry, illusionist Phil Hitchcock, hilarious gymnasts The Acromaniacs, Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett and Mick Potts. Robin Hood will play from Saturday 19 December, 2020 for a strictly limited 3 week run.
They headliners will be joined by renowned illusionist Phil Hitchcock, who starred in last year’s London Palladium pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Completing the line-up will be comedy gymnast troupe The Acromaniacs, musical theatre leading lady and Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett, who is renowned for her incredible vocal talent and leading roles in The Bodyguard and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with Danny & Mick star, the side-splittingly silent funny man, Mick Potts. Robin Hood will also feature Theatre Royal panto regulars Steve Arnott, Wayne Smith and Laura Evans making up an on stage company of 18 performers and musicians
This year’s production, created especially for Newcastle Theatre Royal in this unprecedented year, will be a riotously funny, one-act celebration of pantomime, packed full of comedy and laughter and allow audience members the opportunity to come safely together and enjoy the magic of the much-loved and unique art form this festive season.
For full details on tickets go to:
Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal Nottingham.
An all-new production of Sleeping Beauty comes to Nottingham, thanks to support from The National Lottery. Starring legendary funny-men Paul Chuckle and Ben Nickless, with street dance stars Flawless, the show will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run.
The top of the bills will be joined by hilarious pantomime dame David Robbins as The Queen, back again after starring as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 2012 and west end musical stars Kimberly Blake, fresh from her west end role in Pretty Woman as The Enchantress, and Hannah Grace Lawson as Princess Beauty. Completing the line-up is Jack McNeill as the Prince, marking his third consecutive Theatre Royal pantomime having starred in the title role of Peter Pan, and Dandini in last year’s production of Cinderella. This year’s pantomime will be directed by Guy Unsworth, who also directed last year.
For full details and tickets go to:
Robinson Crusoe, The Theatre Royal Plymouth
An all-star cast including pantomime legends Les Dennis and Andy Ford are headed for Plymouth for a swashbuckling adventure. This Socially distant one act spectacular looks set to a magical affair.
For information and tickets go to:
Sleeping Beauty, The Mayflower, Southampton
Joe Pasquale and Lesley Joseph will lead the company on the south coast in the pantomime of your dreams, joined by a stellar cast, you would be in a muddle to miss it.
For information go to:
Robinson Crusoe, The Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent.
With The much-loved Stoke regulars Jonathan Wilkes and Christian Patterson at its helm, this specially-created show will bring pantomime back to the Potteries and will play from Saturday 19 December.
For information go to:
So there we have it, its literally the smallest offering of Christmas shows in living memory but the magic is alive and lets hope a full season returns for Christmas 2021. For now however enjoy the offerings its vital these socially distant productions are supported as for all those involved there a life line. The fact does remain that for the fast majority of the arts industry tough times will continue into 2021.
We hope to bring at least a couple of reviews over the festive period! until then enjoy some fabulous festive treats.