It’s December, which means it’s Panto season again! And who can resist the chance for kids to see classic fairy tales acted out on stage and for grown-ups to see well-known celebrities (and, let’s face it, many less well-known ones too) embarrassing themselves in drag? Pantomimes might offer the opportunity for smaller towns to attract some of the big names in entertainment, but for the biggest stars you really need to head out on a theatre break in London.
Kids of all ages are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing which pantomime to attend in London, and they can even choose which venue they like best for some of the classics. Checking out the handy bigpantoguide.co.uk, I counted at least three performances of Aladdin! If you’d like to see a funky version of that swashbuckling adventure, you should be sure to check out the Rock ‘n’ Roll Aladdin being staged at the Shaw Theatre on Euston Road.
Written by the creators of the hit pre-school TV series The Tweenies, this musical panto looks guaranteed to be a hit with kids, especially if they’re fans of a certain High School Musical series. The panto stars familiar TV faces Billy Geraghty and Jess Robinson in the lead roles.
Another recommended festive treat is the acclaimed stage version of Raymond Briggs’ classic The Snowman, which returns to the Peacock Theatre near Covent Garden for another hit run this winter. This performance really brings the Christmas staple to life, and you can’t fail to be moved as the live orchestra performs Howard Blake’s famous signature tune, Walking in the Air. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!
I may have saved the best for last however, as if you’re looking for a truly spectacular high budget pantomime this Christmas, you should get the whole family down to the O2 Arena in Docklands, where a new performance of Peter Pan is being staged in the venue’s 360 Theatre. Yes, that’s 360 as in ‘degrees,’ as the custom-made theatre tent features unique projected scene designs that help bring J.M. Barrie’s classic story to life. Peter Pan will run at the O2 until January 10, but don’t leave it too late to book your tickets, as the dazzling performance is sure to be a festive hit.