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Panto and festive plays

Enter the festive spirit with Muddy’s definitive guide to the best family shows in Surrey and beyond. A mixture of classic pantos with all the trimmings and some festive alternatives for those who are a bit ‘bah humbug’ about all that ‘he’s behind you’ malarkey.


Sleeping Beauty
■ Camberley Theatre ■ Mon 10 – Mon 31 Dec

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? Camberley Theatre doesn’t bother with the soap star brigade for its hugely successful in-house panto – and this year is no different. Expect singalong songs, high energy choreography, beautiful scenery and a host of side-splitting jokes!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
■ The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill ■ Fri 7 – Mon 31 Dec

If you loved Dame Ann Widdecombe when she played the jokester on Strictly a few years back, you’re in for a treat as she steps into the role of the Wicked Queen in Redhill this year. She’ll be joined by returning Redhill favourites Neil Wheatley, Simon Bashford and Abi Welford, as well as Britain’s Got Talent star Jai McDowell playing Snow White’s handsome prince.

■ The Leatherhead Theatre ■ Thurs 20 – Sun 30 Dece

A great local venue for Aladdin, promising a ‘traditional family pantomime’ by family show specialists LP Creatives. Expect plenty of sparkle – and a truly amazing set with plenty of jaw dropping illusions – plus amix of magic, comedy, puppets, music and adventure.

■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Fri 7 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

EastEnder and R&B artist Michelle Gayle comes to Guildford this Christmas as the fairy godmother in this popular panto. She’ll be joined by Yvonne Arnaud panto regulars, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Gordon and Jamie Brook, plus Georgie Leatherland, Cameron Burt and Nick Barclay.

■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Fri 7 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

Will Cinders make it to the ball in time. Not if the wicked stepmother can help it. And with the ultimate panto dame, Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, cha-cha-cha-ing his way across the stage as the stepmother anything could happen. Paul Chuckle and Phil Butler joins the cast. It’s a 10 from us for comedy casting, dahling!

Peter Pan
■ Richmond Theatre ■ Sat 8 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

Pulling out all the stops, Richmond Theatre brings in Bafta, Tony Award and two-time Olivier Award-winner Robert Lindsay as Captain Hook, in his first pantomime debut. He’s joined by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jon Clegg, West End star Rachel Stanley and Harry Francis. Expect evil pirates, a very hungry crocodile and a super mean Captain Hook.

Beauty and the Beast
■ Dorking Halls ■ Sat 15 – Sat 29 Dec

The classic French fairy tale comes to Dorking Halls, promising impressive music, energetic dance routines as well as plenty of jokes, slapstick and heaps of audience participation!

Jack and the Beanstalk
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Fri 14 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, we smell lots of panto fun! Expect adventure, mayhem and a terrifying giant.

Sleeping Beauty
■ Cranleigh Arts Centre ■ Sat 8 & Sun 9 Dec

Packed with songs, slapstick, silliness, audience participation and all the fairytale magic of traditional pantomime – Sleeping Beauty comes to Cranleigh for two nights. Be quick to get your tickets.

■ The Hawth, Crawley ■ Fri 7 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

This year’s cast is led by Dancing on Ice’s Mr Nasty, Jason Gardiner as Abanazar, Shaheen Jafargholi (EastEnders, Casualty) as Aladdin, impressionist Jess Robinson and Nathaniel Morrison as the Genie of the Lamp. The line- up is completed with the welcome return of two Crawley favourites; Michael J Batchelor is Widow Twankey and Richard Franks is PC Pongo.

Beauty & The Beast
■ Princes Hall, Aldershot ■ Fri 7 – Mon 31 Dec

Head to Aldershot for your panto fix if you fancy a classic retelling of Beauty & the Beast. This one is deemed the best value in the county and is a great alternative if you don’t want the hassle of getting to a big and busy city theatre. The Dame looks particularly fabulous as well.

Dick Whittington
■ Theatre Royal Windsor ■ Fri 23 Nov – Sun 6 Jan 2019

The fur’s gonna a fly with a cat and a fox in the house. Basil Brush returns to star in the Windsor panto alongside Anne Hegerty – The Governess on The Chase (rumoured to also be going into the I’m A Celebrity jungle) and 80s Radio 1 DJ Mike Read.

■ New Wimbledon Theatre ■ Sat 8 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

He may have seen an untimely demise from Strictly this season, but former Blue boybander Lee Ryan is back on stage rubbing his lamp as Aladdin. He’s joined by Paul Merton as Widow Twankey and Pete Firman as the evil Abanazar.


Peter Pan and the Loose Boys 
■ The Back Room of The Star Inn, Guildford ■ Thurs 29 Nov – Sat 5 Jan

Who says panto is for the kids? This panto is full of rudeness and staged in a pub, so best leave the kids at home. Expect a load of naughtiness and innuendo, crude comedy and plenty of laughs. Not for prudish types.


Hansel and Gretel
■ The Rose Theatre, Kingston ■ Thurs 6 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

A festive version of the Brothers Grimm’s much-loved fairy tale comes to the Rose Theatre this Christmas. Battling magical beasts, enlisting a crew of fairy tale bandits and learning the secrets of their past, Hansel and Gretel must race to save their town from the Witch’s Curse. And all in time for Christmas!

Santa Claus and the Night Before Christmas
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Wed 12 – Mon 24 Dec

Following on from last year’s hit production, the next story in the tale of Santa Claus comes to G Live’s Bellerby Studio. With magic tricks, songs and stories, this promises to be an unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show.

A Christmas Carol
■ Theatre Royal, Windsor ■ Mon 12 – Sun 17 Dec

Love a good sing along but hate the panto? Theatre Royal Windsor has the answer to your prayers in the form of A Christmas Carol The Musical. The show has been adapted by big Broadway names Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical) so no doubt you’ll be swaying your lighters in the air in no time.


The Snowman
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Fri 21 Dec

Brought to life on screen, experience the magic of The Snowman film with live orchestra accompaniment.  The BAFTA-winning classic, featuring the song Walking in the Air, will be performed by Orpheus Sinfonia.


■ Queen Elizabeth Hall ■  Thurs 13 Dec – Sun 6 Jan 

All the way from Australia for it’s UK premier, this performance of Rumplestiltskin is promising something different from your traditional stage show. On offer are funky costumes, super modern staging and a contemporary twist to the old fairy tale. Aussie cabaret king Paul Capsis is playing the big R.

A Christmas Carol
■ The Old Vic ■  Sat 24 Nov – Sat 19 Jan 

This production of festive classic A Christmas Carol staged by The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus had such great reviews last year that it’s returning for round two. Adapted by Jack Thorne, co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 8+ it stars Stephen Tomkinson.

Snow White
■ London Palladium ■ Sat 8 Dec – Sun 13 Jan 

Punchy and very funny cast, with Dawn French taking the starring role, accompanied with a fleckle heel by Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia, Broadway’s Charles Stemp and Over The Rainbow’s Danielle Hope. A dead cert.


■ Hackney Empire ■  Sat 24 Nov – Sun 6 Jan 

The unashamed home of panto, Hackney Empire’s in-house team celebrates its 20th birthday. Olivier Award-winner and panto dame extraordinaire Clive Rowe returns to Hackney Empire’s stage after a three year hiatus, alongside West End star Tameka Empson.

Horrible Christmas
■ Alexandra Palace ■  Thurs 13 – Sun 30 Dec 

A jolly man in red tries to ruin Christmas. Not Mr Muddy as it happens (though he does his best every year), expect typical Horrible Histories style with terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians giving a history of Crimbo.



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