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The Ultimate Muddy Panto Guide 2018!

It's what you've all been waiting for. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Oh no.... OK, enough! Here are 39 festive shows to keep amused this Crimbo.

Get ready to shout, scream and be slightly jealous of the Dame’s make-up game, for panto season is upon us. Huzzah!

Whether you like your Christmas show as traditional as they come, or prefer something slightly more… eclectic, Muddy has rounded up the ultimate guide to panto in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and beyond.

TRAD PANTO

HAMPSHIRE

Beauty & The Beast, Theatre Royal Winchester, Sat 1 Dec 2018 – Sun 6 Jan 2019

Beauty and the Beast illustration Credit Mark BeechForget Mrs Potts and that grumpy old Cogsworth, Belle and the Beast’s magical helper in this panto classic is a Fairy called Fifi. For all those kids (and grown-ups) who love a tale of rough diamond monsters, then this is the production for you. theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

Cinderella, The Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth, Sat 1 Dec – Sun 6 Jan

We all know the tale about how Cinders gets a magical makeover and falls in love with the prince, but when viewed in the intimate and historic Groundlings in Portsea, it adds an additional bit of sparkle. The venue also hires out costumes so I definitely think it’s worth grabbing your very own Fairy Godmother outfit to wear while watching the show. groundlings.co.uk

Cinderella, The Concorde Club, Eastleigh, Sun 2 Dec

Cinderella in a spot of bother again, this time at the hands of her horrid step-mother and step-sisters, Fifi and Lala (step-sisters or Teletubbies?) Come and see this retelling of the classic tale in this converted schoolhouse. theconcordeclub.com

Cinderella, Ferneham Hall, Fareham, Tue 4 Dec 18 – Sun 6 Jan 19

To Fareham now and the stars of Hollyoaks and CBBC are out in force for Ferneham Halls’ retelling of Cinderella. With Andy Moss and Ed Petrie as Buttons, this is looking to be a mirth-filled retelling and I’m secretly hoping Ed’s mate, Hacker the Dog turns up too. fernehamhall.co.uk

Dick Whittington, Mayflower Southampton, Wed 5 Dec 18 – Sun 6 Jan 19

Mayflower Theatre Panto Dick WhittingtonDick’s headed to Southampton to see if their streets are paved with gold (errr, sorry to disappoint you Mr Whittington), but he shouldn’t despair because there’s plenty of comedy gold from the cast instead. I’m *really* excited about this one, as not only does it feature Joe McElderry (X Factor), Bobby Davro, Suzanne Shaw, but Steve McFadden is in it. Better known as Eastender’s Phil Mitchell and he’s wearing lots of eyeliner as the Rat King. That’s worth the ticket alone! mayflower.org.uk

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 (I’m a sucker for a good dame, me). princeshall.com

Cinderella, Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, Tue 11 Dec 18 – Sun 6 Jan 19

Cinderella 2018 Kings Theatre SouthseaThe King’s Theatre feels as if it was built specifically for pantomimes. It’s got that lovely Edwardian charm and the guarantee that Ben from Hollyoaks (Marcus Patric) will be there too (and that’s totally fine by me!) As well as the local lad, the cast features Jake Quickenden (The X Factor and I’m A Celeb…) and Tom Owen (Last of the Summer Wine), so you can hit your celeb quota for the season. kingsportsmouth.co.uk

Cinderella, The Harlington, Fleet, Wed 12 – Fri 28 Dec

Fleet’s panto offering this year is courtesy of The Harlington and their production of Cinderella. Promising to deliver a huge dose of song, dance and family fun, Ben Crocker’s retelling will also support local charity Starburst, with the ticket sales. theharlington.co.uk

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, The Anvil, Basingstoke, Thurs 13 Dec 18 – Sun 6 Jan 19

Dani Harmer Anvil Arts Snow White PantoDani Harmer (Tracy Beaker) is a bit far from the Dumping Ground but looks like she’s still picked up a few waifs and strays along the way, as she takes on the role of Snow White. This panto looks full of colour and fun, and even has Basil Brush’s mate, Mr Stephen (Chris Pizzey) in appearance. BOOM BOOM! anvilarts.org.uk

Peter Pan, The New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, Thurs 13 – Mon 31 Dec

 New Theatre Royal Portsmouth Tim Lucas Captain Hook Peter Pan 2018 Credit - Peter LangdownSprinkle some of that Tinkerbell fairy dust and head off to Neverland, as the eternal child Peter Pan, comes to wow the audience at Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal. No soap stars at this one, these actors have all trod the boards numerous times to put on a professionally dazzling show. newtheatreroyal.com

The Snow Queen, The Point, Eastleigh, Sat 15 – Sun 30 Dec

Snow Queen The PointIt’s Frozen! But errr, more traditional and *hopefully* doesn’t have THAT song in it. Check out The Point’s Christmas show for a villain that has a heart as cold as ice, but we secretly kind of admire. thepointeastleigh.co.uk

Hansel & Gretel, Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant, Sat 22 – Sun 30 Dec

The moral of this story is don’t try and eat people’s houses, even if they do look rather tasty. Take the kids to discover how Hansel & Gretel managed to survive hunger, getting lost in the woods and escape an evil witch (I’d like to see Bear Grylls try that), in Havant’s panto this year. thespring.co.uk

Puss In Boots, Plaza Theatre Romsey, Thurs 10 – Sat 26 Jan 19

So, if you’re away for the Christmas season and still want to “do” the whole pantomime thing at some point, then the answer is in Romsey. Not starting until after the festive season ends, Puss In Boots is playing at the Plaza Theatre in Romsey. Tickets

ISLE OF WIGHT

Jungle Book, Trinity Theatre, Cowes, Fri 30 Nov – Sun 9 Dec

Head to the deepest depths of the jungle with this festive retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. Although not the most traditional of Christmas shows, this version written by Cheryl Barrett should placate the Disney obsessive kids. caods.org.uk

Sleeping Beauty, Shanklin Theatre, Sat 22 Dec – Wed 2 Jan

Shanklin’s traditional offering this year is the classic tale of a beautiful princess who falls into an eternal slumber (I’d stretch for a lie-in at this point). www.shanklintheatre.com

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Shanklin Theatre, Sun 9 Dec

Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! It’s off to Shanklin we go! This retelling of Snow White is the perfect panto for all the family, but tickets are limited as its on for one night only. shanklintheatre.com

Jack and The Beanstalk, Medina Theatre, Newport, Sun 23 Dec 18 – Sat 5 Jan 19

The Island’s dose of celeb sparkle to this year’s panto proceedings is from ‘Allo ‘Allo’s Sue Hodge. Even if you have to explain to the kids who she is, this is set to be a magical performance and has a special guest appearance from Daisy the Cow, ooooh! medinatheatre.co.uk

CHRISTMAS FAMILY SHOWS

HAMPSHIRE

Christmas Carol, The Groundlings Theatre, Fri 16 – Sun 25 Nov

Even if it’s a *bit* early in the year, there could be no better place for a retelling of this Dicken’s classic than in the city of his birth. Come and see how Ebenezer Scrooge gets a good dose of reality courtesy of three ghosts. groundlings.co.uk

Billionaire Boy – The Musical, Nuffield Southampton Theatre  City, Tue 20 Nov – Sun 6 Jan

Billionaire Boy Southampton Christmas Show copyBased upon the bestselling book of David Waillams, the stage show of Billionaire Boy is getting its world premiere for the Christmas season in Southampton. Expect it to be packed with laughs and Waillam’s trademark humour. nstheatres.co.uk

The Nutcracker and Mouse King, The Point, Eastleigh, Thurs 6 – Sun 9 Dec

Discover the world of the Nutcracker Prince and his fearsome battle with the Mouse King in this production by The Point Youth Theatre. As well as the aforementioned conflict there’s an obscure clockwork castle and puzzles aplenty. A nice way to discover the tale if you’re not interested in the dance element of things. thepointeastleigh.co.uk

Humbug! The Hedgehog Who Couldn’t Sleep, Nuffield Southampton Theatre City: Studio, Thurs 13 – Mon 31 Dec

Humbug Hedgehog ChristmasIf you want to take the really little ones to see a show but are a bit anxious about it, then Nuffield has the perfect solution. This adorable little tale about an insomniac hedgehog is perfect for the tiny ones and a lovely dose of Christmas fun (without the worry of them screaming in the stalls). nstheatres.co.uk

Rumpelstiltskin, Forest Arts Centre, New Milton, Thurs 13 Dec

The guy with the funny name and even bigger ego, Rumpelstiltskin is the epitome of the phrase “Don’t you know who I am?” Come and see the show to see the Miller’s Daughter try and hoodwink the crafty creature. forest-arts.co.uk

The Snowman Tour, Winchester Cathedral, Sat 15 Dec

We’re walking in the airrrrrr. Can you imagine the acoustics of that song in the glorious Winchester Cathedral? Well, you don’t have to as this touring show will be hitting the exact spot and will get you all dewy-eyed over retro Christmas memories. winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Beauty & The Beast, The Lights Theatre, Andover, Sat 15 Dec

Slightly different tack with this one, a traditional panto story but through the medium of ballet – Beauty and the Beast, with added pirouettes! This is definitely the show for anybody with a budding prima ballerina, or parents trying to expand the kids’ horizons. thelights.org.uk

The Puppet Panto, The Berry Theatre, Sat 15 – Sun 31 Dec

Try as I might, I cannot get over how sweet these characters are. Attempting to put on the story of Snow White, this is sort of Sooty meets The Play That Goes Wrong in a cute-as-a-button format. theberrytheatre.co.uk

A Christmas Carol, The Lights Theatre, Andover, Mon 17 – Tue 18 Dec

Forget the dreary, grey Victorian-style of the Christmas Carol as The Pantaloons ramp up the hilarity and audience interaction for this performance. thelights.org.uk

The Night Before Christmas, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Tue 18 Dec

It wouldn’t be Christmas without this epic poem, and with visions of Sugar Plums dancing in our heads (or maybe a pair of Louboutins in my case), you can really get into the Christmas spirit with this expanded telling of the classic prose. This is also only an hour long, so ideal for the smaller members of your family. mayflower.org.uk

Last Night of the Christmas Proms, Portsmouth Guildhall, Thurs 20 Dec

Swap the Union Flags for tinsel and head to this absolute cracker, at Portsmouth Guildhall. I bet even the biggest Grinch will come out humming Deck The Halls, having heard it performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. portsmouthguildhall.org.uk

Three Billy Goats Gruff, Sun 23 Dec, Forest Arts Centre, New Milton

A throwback to when a troll was a creepy creature that lived under a bridge as Forest Art’s puts on their production of Three Billy Goats Gruff for Christmas. Trip trap trip trap, over the rickety rackety bridge we go. forest-arts.co.uk

Sleeping Beauty, Portsmouth Guildhall, Thurs 27 – Fri 28 Dec

Up the culture stakes this Christmas season by checking out this ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. As well as providing a perfect post-Christmas treat for the family, it’s a great way of remembering what day it is in that Christmas/New Year week limbo of cheese and hangovers. portsmouthguildhall.org.uk

ISLE OF WIGHT

A Christmas Carol, Shanklin Theatre, Thurs 22 – Sun 25 Nov

Get yourself ready for the ensuing Christmas season with a pre-December production of Dicken’s Christmas Carol in the Isle of Wight. Discover Scrooge’s misdeeds of the past and present and how they’ll lead to his undoing (don’t worry, I have a feeling it has a happy ending!) The show also comes complete with an orchestra and the Shanklin Theatre is utterly beautiful to visit as well. shanklintheatre.com

Russian State Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Shanklin Theatre, Mon 3 Dec

Performed by rather epic Russian State Ballet, a good slug of highbrow Christmas entertainment is delivered to the Island with The Nutcracker. Including the score by Tchaikovsky, performed by a 30-strong orchestra, you can truly get ready for the season with this classic story. shanklintheatre.com

CHRISTMAS ADULT SHOWS

Camp As Christmas, The Groundlings Theatre Portsmouth, Wed 19 Dec

With sequins and shimmer, plus all that fabulousness is there really any camper time than Christmas? All That Malarkey don’t think so, and they bring their wonderfully flamboyant mix of cabaret and carolling, to The Groundlings for the festive season. Expect jolly singalongs, marvellous mashups and a shedload of glitter to get you in the Christmas mood. groundlings.co.uk

Puss In Boots, Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre, Bordon, Fri 21 – Sat 22 Dec

On first glance, you may think that this is in the wrong section. But, dear reader, this is simply not the case. If you thought normal panto was filled with grown-up jokes and innuendo WELL… let’s just say you ain’t seen nothing yet! phoenixarts.co.uk

FURTHER AFIELD

Rumpelstiltskin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Thu 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. southbankcentre.co.uk

 

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. oldvictheatre.com

 

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. snowwhitepalladium.com

 

Aladdin, 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. hackneyempire.co.uk

 

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. tickets.london

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