Your pick of the pantomimes in Berkshire
December 02, 2009
It’s that time of year again ... as The Hexagon prepares to go to the ball, other local theatres are putting on their shows. Here we preview their festive treats. Oh yes we do
Cinderella, the Ambassadors, Woking
The production of Cinderella at Woking promises a magical snowfall every evening.
Starring Joanna Page of Gavin and Stacey (pictured above) as Cinderella and Michael Aspel (This Is Your Life, Crackerjack) as Baron Hardup, it promises to be a star-studded and magical show.
There’s also a guest performance from the delightful dancing mouse, Angelina Ballerina, performing in her first panto.
The show begins on Friday and runs until January 10. Tickets are available from the Box Office on
0844 871 7645 or from the theatre’s website www.ambassadortickets.com/woking.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Haymarket, Basingstoke
CS Lewis’s classic tale of the land where it’s always winter but never Christmas comes to the stage in a unique new production from Anvil Arts.
Featuring a cast that includes Lower Earley actor Anne-Marie Piazza (see our interview on page 10), the show follows four children find their way through a wardrobe to a magical land, ruled over by the White Witch.
Together with animal friends they meet in the forest, the children go in search of Aslan to defeat the Witch and restore Christmas to Narnia.
The show starts on Friday and runs until Saturday, December 2. For tickets, call 01256 844244 or log on to www.anvilarts.org.uk.
Aladdin, Wycombe Swan
You might think that Shane Richie is the star of the show in the Wycombe Swan’s production of Aladdin, but you’d be wrong: that accolade goes to the 3D genie whose genius will amaze and delight audiences this Christmas.
And not only does Shane star in the show, but he’s roped in his sons to help: Shane Jnr (who will celebrate his 21st birthday during the show) teams up with Jake to play Wishee Washee in the spectacular tale of magic lamps and 40 thieves.
The fun starts on Saturday, December 12 and runs until Sunday, January 10. You can book tickets by calling 01494 512000 or book online at www.wycombeswan.co.uk.
Cinderella, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Former Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones proves that he’s a charmer when he takes on the role of Prince Charming in the version of Cinderella performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.
The star, who wowed audiences when he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, joins Hilary O’Neil, Royce Mills, Gay Soper and Rebecca Brewer.
The show starts on Friday and is sponsored by our sister paper the Surrey Advertiser. Running until Sunday, January 10, you can book tickets by calling 01483 440000 or logging on to www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk.
Peter Pan, South Hill Park
Already being performed is the South Hill Park Christmas play, Peter Pan. Promising to be an exciting, dynamic and truly imaginative telling of this classic children’s tale, it runs until Sunday, January 3.
Sticking to J M Barrie’s original text, you can join Peter, Wendy, Michael and John on their quest to thwart the dastardly Captain Hook and his pathetic pirates.
For details, call the box office on (01344) 484123 or log on to www.southhillpark.org.uk.
Puss In Boots, Corn Exchange, Newbury
Amid the music and madness of a traditional pantomime meet the poor miller, the beautiful prince and princess, battle the evil ogre and hear the tale of the dashing and ingenious cat that makes his master’s fortune.
The show runs from Friday until Sunday, January 3. For more details, log on to www.cornexchangenew.com or call 01635 522733.
Cinderella, Anvil, Basingstoke
Anna Williamson and Jamie Rickers from CITV’s Toonattik take the starring roles in the Anvil’s version of Cinderella, proving that it’s one of the most popular pantomimes going.
Promising a traditional panto with singing, dancing, fun and laughter for everyone, plus two delightful Shetland ponies, the show has something for everyone.
It starts on Thursday, December 10 and runs until January 3. For details, call 01256 844244 or log on to www.anvilarts.org.uk.
Peter Pan, Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot and Kenton Theatre, Henley
The Blackeyed Theatre company brings its version of one of the most magical and enchanting children’s tales ever told in its rollicking Christmas show suitable for the whole family.
Featuring original live music, audience participation and a script based on J M Barrie’s timeless characters, you can enjoy this trip to Neverland.
It’s performed at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot from Thursday, December 17 to Sunday, December 20, then transfers to the Kenton Theatre in Henley-on-Thames from Tuesday, December 22 to Saturday, December 26 (excluding Christmas Day).
Aladdin, The Kenton Theatre, Henley
The production of Peter Pan is followed immediately by a special production of Aladdin at the Kenton. Produced by the Henley Children’s Theatre Group, it runs from Tuesday, December 29 to Saturday, January 2.
For more details, call the Kenton on 01491 575698 or log on to www.kentontheatre.co.uk.
Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor
Another production of Aladdin takes place at the Theatre Royal in Windsor, with an all-star cast that includes Tony Blackburn, Wendy Craig, Jess Conrad and Emu.
Whether the naughty bird will recreate that famous moment from Parkinson remains to be seen.
Curtain-up takes place on Wednesday, December 9, and the show runs until Sunday, January 10.
For details, call 01753 853888 or log on to www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse
Another former Blue Peter presenter is busy with panto this season. Peter Duncan, also a former Chief Scout, is prepared for anything with his latest production, Jack and the Beanstalk, which will be performed at the Oxford Playhouse.
The show, which he wrote, sees Jack plant his magic beanstalk and then try to get the better of giant Blunderbore in the family-friendly show.
It starts on Friday and runs until Sunday, January 17. For tickets, which start at £11, call 01865 305305 or visit www.oxfordplayhouse.com.
James and the Giant Peach, The Watermill, Newbury
Rather than a panto, the Watermill is staging a family-friendly production of the Roald Dahl classic James and the Giant Peach.
Based around the tale of a boy who grows a peach to the size of a house, this show promises a magical, musical adventure across the Atlantic with James and an oversized grasshopper, ladybug, centipede, glow-worm, spider and earthworm for company.
The festive run has already started and continues until Sunday, January 3. For more information or tickets, call the theatre on 01635 46044 or log on to www.watermill.org.uk.
Shane Richie and his sons Shane Jnr (left) and Jake (right) star in the Wycombe Swan’s panto Aladdin