The Muddy 2017 Panto Guide
It's panto season. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Oh no.... OK, enough! Here's the best of the bunch – both traditional pantomimes and family Christmas shows
Get into the Christmas spirit with Muddy’s definitive guide to the best family shows in Somerset and beyond. A mixture of classic pantos (both nearby and further afield) with all the trimmings OR some seasonal alternatives for those who are a bit ‘bah humbug’ about all that ‘he’s behind you’ malarkey.
Cinderella, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil, Fri 8 Dec – Sun 7 Jan
There is nothing like a dame … except for another dame. Looking good ladies, looking good. The Octagon’s famed round these parts for its pantos and this year’s production of Cinderella promises to be the best yet. It’s the theatre’s fastest-ever selling panto, so I’d get in quick if I were you.
Aladdin, Bristol Hippodrome, Sat 9 Dec – Sun 7 Jan
Hop on board the flying carpet and watch a genie pop out of a lamp, etc. You’d think Marti Pellow might be Wishee Washee (Wet Wet Wet, geddit?) but he’s the baddie Abanazar and it’s Joe Pasquale who’s WW, with Del Dingle (oops, I mean Hayley Tamaddon) as Jasmine.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Theatre Royal, Bath, Thurs 7 Dec – Sun 7 Jan
Is this the fairest panto of them all? Can’t vouch for the dame played by Nick Wilton (Mr Lister, Eastenders) but Harriet Thorpe (Carole in The Brittas Empire and Fleur in AbFab) sure is a glam evil stepmother. Whatever you do, don’t take that apple…
Aladdin, The Playhouse, Weston-super-mare, Sat 9 – Sun 31 Dec
He don’t ‘arf get around that Aladdin. Here he is up at The Playhouse in Weston, this time with John Altman (Nasty Nick from Eastenders and, perhaps surprisingly, a past winner of the Rear of the Year award) as Nasty Abanazar. All together now: booooooooooo!
FAMILY CHRISTMAS SHOWS…
A Christmas Carol – The Musical, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sat 9 – Sat 30 Dec
Only a total scrooge wouldn’t warm to this one. Broadway musical meets Charles’ Dicken’s London in the classic tale. Curmudgeonly old geezer Ebenezer is faced with ghosts from past, present and future and * spoiler alert * realises the error of his ways. The Muddies loved last year’s Around the World in 80 Days, so we’re expecting great things from this show.
The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Stories, Bristol Old Vic, Thurs 30 Nov – Sun 14 Jan
After premiering up at Shakepeare’s Globe in London, the critically acclaimed production comes to Bristol. An impoverished girl strikes a series of matches to keep warm on the icy cold streets; each time she escapes into a different Hans Christian Andersen story. Expect cockles to be warmed.
Beauty and the Beast, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, Thur 30 Nov – Sun 14 Jan
As you can tell from the pic, not a another stage version of the Disney film. This is a quirky re-telling of the classic French fairy tale, reminding us that beauty (or beastliness) is only skin deep. Littlies can enjoy the story of family, feathers and fitting in, in The Ugly Duckling (Sun 10 Dec–Sun 14 Jan).
The Little Mermaid, the egg, Bath, Thurs 7 December – Sun 14 Jan
This is a Hans Christian Andersen and mythical Cornish Mermaid of Zennor mash up. Morgan lives at the bottom of the ocean in a shipwrecked 1950s cruise liner and surfaces in a ’80s yacht party on the English Riviera. A period drama-cum-rom com with a jig-along classic ’80s pop soundtrack.
Snow Globe, Colston Hall, Bristol, Fri 1 Dec – Sun 7 Jan
Kid Carpet (that’s him above) used found objects – Casio keyboards, cardboard, broken toys, sellotape – to make ‘kiddy disco punk’. Here he shakes a storyteller’s snow globe to create a musical mix up of tales, rhymes and stories for 3 to 7 year olds.
UP IN LONDON TOWN
Dick Whittington, London Palladium, Sun 10 Dec – Fri 12 Jan
Filed under ‘go big or go home’, we have London Palladium’s offering, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. Oh yeah! And you thought Su Pollard was camp. Fans of ’80s cheesiness will be thrilled to hear that Gary Wilmot co-stars alongside Nigel ‘The Charmer’ Havers.
Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, Sat 9 Dec – Sat 27 Jan
Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.
Cinderella on Ice, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, Fri 17 Nov – Mon 1 Jan
No rest for Cinders! Here she is again, this time donning ice-skates, as one of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’s new attractions. In this show, her slinky blade moves attract the amorous attentions of the Lord Mayor’s son, much to her step-sisters’ annoyance. There’s loads of whizzy lifts, jumps and throws, plus wowzers special effects.