Over the years I have seen over a hundred pantomimes - oh yes I have - and whether that is just total lunacy or not I couldn't say. One thing I can say though is that this evening's production of Aladdin by First Family Entertainment at Manchester's Opera House goes straight into my all-time top 10. It doesn't hit the jackpot sadly, but nevertheless is still one of the best and most traditional family pantos I have seen.

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s2smodern

Panto season is amongst us, and after having the pleasure of being a part of the packed out audience varying between the ages, there is no denying that this year’s Aladdin at Crewe Lyceum is one to beat.

 

With a star studded cast which featured one of Britain’s best loved and funniest dynamic comedy duo, Cannon and Ball, CBeebies star Sid Sloane as Wishee Washee, Malcolm Lord best known for Rainbow for Thames TV’s George the pink hippo and Bungle Bear who this time became Widow Twankey and last but certainly not least, the evil Abanazar played by Mark Turnbull who has many impressive credits in Theatre and Cabaret, such as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and solo Cabarets of Sondheim.

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s2smodern

If there’s one theatrical period the people of Stoke love its panto. Every theatre in the city is buzzing with the Christmas spirt and this magical tradition brings people of all ages to the theatre. The bright lights, the dazzling costumes and at the heart of this magic is the Regent Theatre who this year brought the heart-warming fairytale of Cinderella to life.

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s2smodern

'They don't make them like they used to do'.........oh yes they do! It's that time of the year when mature level headed adults take a visit to the theatre and join in the fun much to the amazement of their kids...... can that really be granny standing and booing at the stage characters? Mum shouting out 'it’s behind you?' Dad well, Dad dancing? Yes, kids this is the one time you don't have to sit still in your seats and keep quiet, get along to the wonderful Grand Theatre, Blackpool and make as much noise as you can, the louder the better!

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s2smodern

It’s December and Christmas is well and truly in full swing. There’s no better way to cement the most wonderful time of the year than watching a pantomime. The 2 tier, 700 hundred seated St. Helen’s Theatre Royal was filled to capacity with an audience ranging from couples and families to whole classes of children from local schools. The buzz in the audience before the show was infectious and exciting and I couldn’t wait to see what Aladdin had to offer.

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s2smodern

The festive period is never truly kicked off without, perhaps an advent calendar, decorations and the other tradition of attending a pantomime to indulge in shouting responses to actors’ jokes and ‘lead ons’ and admiring talented and attractive dancers and high-energy characters from a dream/fairytale land.

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s2smodern

This has got to be the BEST panto I have EVER seen.

 

From the moment I entered the theatre I knew I was in for a treat. The hospitality was wonderful, a lovely warm greeting as I collected my tickets and programme and being catered for during the interval made this evening that bit more special.

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s2smodern

Panto season is well and truly upon us and a trip to Theatre Royal Wakefield during this festive period will see you transported to Medieval times in this wonderful family favourite Sleeping Beauty. The classic story of love triumphing over evil follows the story of Princess Aurora (Alice Strachan) who is cursed as a baby by the wicked fairy Carabosse (Julie Stark) who seeks revenge on the King (Neil Smye) who stole her golden fairy wings. Carabosse’s evil threat is that by her 18th birthday Aurora will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die, so it is Dame Nanny Nurture (Chris Hannon) who is charged with protecting the princess from this terrible fate. Of course when the inevitable happens the good fairy Filament (Claire Sundin) is unable to reverse the magic of her evil sister so softens the curse by sending the whole kingdom to sleep for 100 years with the only thing able to wake Aurora being the kiss of a good man.

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s2smodern

The story of Cinderella is known far and wide and is currently on at the Bolton Octagon. However, this is not your usual standard production. The story is told from the point of view of the kitchen rats bringing a new life and wonderful twist to the classic tale.

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s2smodern

For me the countdown to Christmas officially starts when the Oldham Coliseum Pantomime opens, and tonight the festive season well and truly began with this years’ production of Sleeping Beauty, once again written by Fine Time Fontayne and Kevin Shaw. The Coliseum pantomime has become known as one of the best examples of this fine theatrical tradition in the country and this year once again it does not disappoint.

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s2smodern

The panto season has kicked off to a very early start this year with Hope Mill Theatre's own pantomime, directed and choreographed by the lovely owners of this wonderfully versatile theatre, Joseph Houston and William Whelton.

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s2smodern