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.
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.
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.
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.
The Wizard of Oz at the St Helens Theatre Royal is visually one of the most stunning pantos - or even shows - that I have ever seen. The cloth at the beginning showing the name of the show was a piece of art in itself, and all throughout the performance the scenery, costumes and effects stole the show! It’s not often that I feel the need to gush about the scene changes, but they were smooth, and seamless, despite the sets being so elaborate. The dancers were amazing, with strong choreography from Sarah Walker.
Celebrities, media moguls and movers and shakers in the city were taken on a whistle-stop magic carpet adventure through LHK Productions’ latest pantomime as they attended the press launch of Aladdin!
Producer Lee Kelly waved his magic wand and revealed his all-star cast who will perform in Aladdin this Christmas before treating them to a sneak preview of his spellbinding panto.
Visiting the theatre at the end of Blackpool's North Pier for the first time, firstly I was surprised at the vast size of it, secondly how wonderful it is that several hundred people have taken the decision to brace the howling winds and rain, to trundle down the long pier, with the waves crashing all around below, to watch the pantomime 'The Wizard of Oz.’ Yes, this is summer! Is it all going to be worthwhile?
The show starts off in a Kansas farmyard with Dorothy, her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and farmhands discussing the impending cyclone but portrayed in true panto style with great song and dance routines. The scenery is good and special effects with pyrotechnics and smoke enhance the show.
It's April, the sun is shining and I'm by the sea. I never thought I'd say this, but it seems it's panto season!
This is the new craze in recent years of the Easter pantomime, and this would be my first 'Easter' panto. I'm a big fan of panto at Christmas, I think it's fun and a great introduction to the theatre for kids and usually go to around 2 or 3 different pantomimes at Christmas to really get in that Christmas spirit, but an Easter pantomime is a totally different thing all together.
A pantomime at Easter I hear you cry.... oh no, there isn't - Oh yes there is! Anton Benson productions are back, and this time with a bigger and better product.
Written by Anton Benson himself, this is actually an extremely well-written show and tells the story simply and effectively with moments of madness and moments of sadness. Traditions are kept - such as audience responses, character types, routines etc, and it is most definitely age appropriate with a couple of things thrown in for the adults too, but nothing too saucy or offensive. The songs were all appropriate too and except for the Christmas ones, well chosen; and thankfully, the laborious routines which can often go on for ever were kept to a reasonable length here!
Oh No it isn’t….Oh Yes it is…Oh No it isn’t ……. But in this case it IS, it IS, it IS!!! Yes… it IS simply one of the best Pantos I have ever seen for its vibrant beautiful costumes, fabulous scenery with amazing stage and lighting effects, choreography and of course not forgetting the stars of the show, the entire cast. A larger production could not have put on a better show.
Presented by Regal Entertainments by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd, this version of Peter Pan was written by Liam Mellor who also performs as Mr Smee, the dimwit husband of Panto dame, Mrs Smee (Simon Foster) The antics of this couple bring everything you would hope to see with ‘cracking’ interaction with the audience and oodles of comedic moments whether intentional or not, and for the adults, the expected innuendo associated with Pantomime.
Partly developed from 16th century entertainment, the old yet timeless tradition of pantomime continues to bring a smile to the faces of many across the UK and Western world, in almost every theatre around, with the inclusion of modern and classic songs, slapstick comedy, gender-crossing actors, dancing and topical humour combined with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale. As many other theatres have taken the same decision, Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre plays host this year to an Easter offering of variety in the form of a pantomime, with LHK Productions’ Snow White, before the traditional festive one at the end of the year.
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