Dec 29 2010 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle
ALADDIN – THE WOK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, until January 29)
IT’S party time in old Shanghai and the Emperor is laying on a big banquet to announce the engagement of Princess So-Shi to her rich suitor, the mysterious Abanazer. But when Aladdin and the Princess meet on the street, sparks really start to fly. Featuring more than 20 classic rock and soul songs performed by the multi-talented cast which includes Phylip Harries returning to play Widow Twankey. Visit the website:www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or ring 0845 330 3565.
ALADDIN (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, until January 9)
TRADITIONAL family panto starring Coronation Street and Hairspray star Michael Starke, Brookside’s Suzanne Collins, David Heath of Eton Road and X Factor plus local favourite Charlotte McKelvie, winner of Halton’s Got Talent. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
ALADDIN (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, until January 2)
BAYWATCH icon Pamela Anderson will play the Genie of the Lamp in this year’s Christmas production. The show will also star Liverpool favourite Les Dennis as Wishee Washee. Aladdin will be doing all he can to win the heart of the beautiful Princess, but the evil Abanazar will be trying to thwart his plans. With all your favourite characters including Wishee Washee, the Emperor, Chinese Policeman, and of course, the ultimate pantomime dame – Widow Twankey! Visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk or ring 0844 847 2525.
ALADDIN (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, until January 2)
IMAGINE Theatre present this year’s traditional family panto at the Lyceum with an all-star cast that includes Tachia Newall from Waterloo Road as the Genie of the Lamp, Ayesha Gwiltt, also from Waterloo Road, as the Spirit of the Ring and Katie Sheridan of Genie in the House fame as Princess Baldroubador. The production also features Leon Craig as Widow Twankey. Ring 01270 537333 or visit www.lyceumtheatre.net.
ALADDIN (William Aston Hall, Glyndwr University, Wrexham, until January 2)
FORMER Blue Peter presenter Tim Vincent tops the bill of Wrexham’s traditional family panto which also stars Hayley Clarke, a finalist from ITV’s Grease is the Word. The story follows the fortunes of Aladdin, a poor boy who battles the wicked Abanazar to thwart his plot to rule the world. Visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk/events or ring 01978 293293.
A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 8)
CLASSIC Christmas story from Dylan Thomas which has become a favourite festive tradition. Outside, in the snow, there are adventures with friends – Jim, Dan and Jack, postmen with presents, a fire at Mrs Prothero’s and all the seasonal rituals of the town. Dylan Thomas’ poignant evocation of distant Christmases in the seaside town of his youth captures the essence of enchantment of the most magical time of the year. Visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or ring 0845 330 3565.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Library Theatre at The Lowry, Salford Quays, until January 8)
THE Library Theatre’s Christmas presentation at The Lowry during its temporary stay at the Salford Quays venue while a new home is built for the company in Manchester is David Holman’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. The timeless story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is directed by Rachel O’Riordan who directed Grimm Tales at The Library last Christmas. Visit the website: www.librarytheatre.com or ring 0843 208 6010.
CINDERELLA (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, until January 2)
MARTIN Dodd’s UK Productions present a star cast headed by Jean Fergusson, Jamie Rickers and Jenny Jones. Jean is to appear in Coronation Street and is best known as the bike riding man-hunting Marina in Last of the Summer Wine. Jamie Rickers is the TV presenter of Nickelodeon’s number one weekend show Jamie & Anna’s Big Weekend. Ring 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
CINDERELLA (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, until January 2)
HUSBAND and wife team Sam Kane and Linda Lusardi – joined by daughter Lucy and son Jack – top the bill in this glorious family panto which also stars Llandudno favourite John Evans as Buttons. Ring 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
DICK WHITTINGTON (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, until December 30)
THE annual Tip Top pantomime is back with another host of goodies in traditional style. Following the story of Dick Whittington as he tries to make his fortune, come and join Chester’s all singing all dancing panto team as they bring you lashings of fun, slapstick, song and corny jokes. Ring 01244 341296 or visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk.
DICK WHITTINGTON (The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich, until January 3)
X-FACTOR star Rowetta and Andy Scott-Lee are joined by Ellesmere Port actor John Garfield Roberts for this classic family panto as well as Mia Jay Clarkson and Naomi Cooper-Davis. Ring 0844 815 7121 or visit www.quaytickets.com.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, until January 3)
WHO is Santa Claus? Where did he come from? And why on earth does he climb down the chimney? Follow the early life of Santa Claus, from his being abandoned in the forest and adopted by the wood-nymphs, making the very first toys to his final quest for immortality. Find out why we hang stockings, why he climbs down the chimney and meet the original reindeer Glossie and Flossie as well as the chilly rogue Jack Frost. With original music and lots of audience participation this is a wonderful seasonal show from Artsdepot and Big Wooden Horse, creators of venue favourites The Night Before Christmas and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Visit www.thelowry.com or ring 0843 208 6000.
NO WISE MEN (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, until January 15)
WHAT would you do for the perfect Christmas? Reality and the ridiculous collide in an enchanting festive adventure whisking you between Marrakech and Liverpool, Victorian England and the present day, as presented by Peepolykus. This is the extraordinary tale of a reckless man who risks everything one Christmas Eve after accepting an irresistible offer from a sparkly eyed stranger. Suitable for ages 8+. Visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or ring 0151 709 4776.
PETER PAN (The Lowry, Salford Quays, until January 1)
LET your dreams take flight with a thrilling musical journey to Neverland as JM Barrie’s classic tale is magically brought to life in this spectacular re-staging of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical. The all-star cast will have audiences hooked this Christmas as Thomas Law (EastEnders) makes his stage début as Peter Pan; Brian Capron (Coronation Street) stars as Captain Hook and Manchester-born TV favourite John Henshaw plays Smee. Stunning scenery, show stopping performances, swashbuckling sword fights and breathtaking flying, all accompanied by soaring music played by a 13-piece live band, make this the North West’s must-see seasonal family treat. Visit www.thelowry.com or ring 0843 208 6000.
PETER PAN (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, until January 22)
CELEBRATING the 150th anniversary of JM Barrie’s birth, the New Vic sprinkles some fairy dust over this great classic of children’s literature. Meet the boy who would not grow up, a real fairy, mermaids, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys and take a trip to the magical Never Never Land. Visit the website: www.newvictheatre.org.uk or ring 01782 717962.
PETER PAN (Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl, until January 8)
THE ultimate adventure for every child who never wants to grow up and every grown up who wishes they never had. This year’s pantomime features Steffan Rhodri, as Captain Hook, well known for his role as Dave Coaches in the hit series Gavin and Stacey. He is joined by Tara Bethan (Peter Pan) who is such a well-known face in Wales and also was seen as a finalist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for Nancy in Oliver! on BBC1. Ring 01745 330000 or visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk.
THE RED SHOES (unitytheatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, January 22)
A NEW adaptation of the famous fairy store by Hans Christian Andersen. the show promises to be a musical treat with a total of 12 original songs weaved together in one score magical. One snowy day Grace finds herself in front of a shop she has never seen before. In the window is a pair of magical red shoes that sparkle like rubies. They can give her everything she has ever wanted, but there is a price, they can never come off. Ring 0844 873 2888 or visit the website www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
ROBINSON CRUSOE & THE CARIBBEAN PIRATES (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, until January 9)
JONATHAN Wilkes and Jennifer Ellison star in this spectacular swashbuckling pantomime adventure. Robinson Crusoe finds himself marooned on a paradise island. Will the evil Captain Cutlass and his gang of pirates beat him to the treasure? Will Dame Dolly Dumpling and her beautiful daughter Polly survive the storm that shipwrecks them? Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
SLEEPING BEAUTY (Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool, until January 22)
THE traditional annual Everyman rock ‘n’ roll panto this year takes on the famous tale of the beautiful princess who is cursed at birth by an evil witch and can only be saved by a brave handsome prince. Sarah Nixon teams up with director Mark Chatterton to combine classic songs with the timeless tale. Visit the website: www.everymanplayhouse.com or ring 0151 709 4776.
SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, until January 2)
STARRING Coronation Street’s Tina O’Brien and Emmerdale’s Andy Devine. Mirror, mirror on the wall – which is the most spectacular panto of them all? Brought to you by the same producers as the smash-hit Aladdin, Snow White will feature a fantastic cast, an hilarious script, sparkling sets, lavish costumes, romance, comedy and bags of audience participation. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
SNOW WHITE (The Stiwt, Rhos, Wrexham, January 2)
FORMER chart-topping singing star Sonia heads the cast as Queen Edwina in this traditional family panto from LKH Productions. She will be joined by Big Brother 9 hunk Dale Howard as the Prince while Snow White herself is played by by Grease is the Word finalist Alison Crawford. Visit the wesbite: www.stiwt.co.uk or ring 01978 841300.
THE TIN SOLDIER (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, until January 1)
JOIN the Steadfast Tin Soldier and his friends on an amazing magical, musical, mysterious journey. Chased by an evil goblin, threatened by a monstrous rat, swallowed by an enormous fish – he travels helter skelter towards his appointment with destiny – through thick and thin and even thicker – until he reaches his final destination. From the award-winning team that produced Hood in the Wood and A Tasty Tale. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
WE WILL ROCK YOU (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, until January 15)
THE smash hit Queen and Ben Elton musical is heading back to Manchester with a cast featuring Noel Sullivan, Ian Reddington and Leon Lopez. Writer Ben Elton has fashioned a hilarious futurist comedy around more than 24 of Queen’s biggest hit songs delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked Queen’s live performances. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit the website: www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
WINNIE THE WITCH (Dancehouse Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, until January 8)
WINNIE and her cat Wilbur live delightfully disorganised lives in their magically messy mansion. But Winnie’s spells keep going wrong and when she turns Wilbur every colour of the rainbow, boy, does he sulk! Watershed Productions present a magical play with music and sing-along songs, performed by five actor-musicians and some eccentric puppets. Ring 0843 208 0500 or visit www.quaytickets.com.
ZACK (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, January 22)
MANCHESTER comedian Justin Moorhouse stars in the title role of heart-warming Harold Brighouse comedy. A warm and witty tale set in the 1920s, Zack is the unconventional, underachieving youngest member of the Munnings family.This charmingly funny story sees him eventually win self-respect – and a bride. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
BRASSED OFF (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, February 7-12)
CENTENARY Theatre Company present this stage play based on the hit film which follows the struggles of the members of the Colliery Brass Band portraying the difficulties of both musical and personal survival. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
THE CHALK GARDEN (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, January 17-22)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents Enid Bagnold’s whimsical comedy with elements of mystery. In a Sussex mansion, the elderly, eccentric Mrs St Maugham struggles with the chalky soil of her garden and the waywardness of her fire-raising granddaughter Laurel. Can the new governess – the enigmatic Miss Madrigal – bring a bloom to both the garden and the granddaughter? Ring 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.
A DOLL’S HOUSE (Library Theatre at The Lowry, Salford Quays, February 24-March 12)
THE Library Theatre continues its temporary stay at the Salford Quays venue while a new home is built for the company in Manchester with Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1879 play. Nora loves her husband above everything. But when she risks her reputation in order to save him, the consequences force her to examine her devotion and she finds herself struggling for her own life. Visit the website:www.librarytheatre.com or ring 0843 208 6010.
EVITA (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, May 23-28)
TIM Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s extraordinary musical features some of the biggest hit songs ever written, including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, Another Suitcase In Another Hall, Oh What A Circus, You Must Love Me and many more. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
GHOST (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, March 28-May 14)
GHOST is a timeless fantasy about the power of love and this new musical version is based on the classic 1990 Oscar-winning film which starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, July 4-9)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents Constance Cox’s play based on Oscar Wilde’s short story. Lord Arthur Savile is deliriously happy and on the verge of marrying the lovely Sybil when an encounter with a clairvoyant reveals Arthur will commit a murder. Ring 01244 322674 or visit the website: www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.
MAMMA MIA! (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, April 26-June 11)
THE hit stage musical inspired by the songs of Abba – which has already been turned into one of the most successful movies of recent years – returns to the North West stage. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 21 years ago.ŠRing 0844 372 7272 or visit the website: www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
MATTHEW BOURNE’S CINDERELLA (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, February 1-5)
SET in London during the Second World War, Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of Prokofiev’s haunting score has, at its heart, a true wartime romance. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz. First seen in the West End in 1997, but now completely revised in this new production created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the London Blitz. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, January 17-22)
JODIE Prenger and Todd Carty star in this touring production of the hysterically funny comedy based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail which tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and features a variety of songs including the classic Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. Ring 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
THE PRIVATE EAR & THE PUBLIC EYE (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, March 14-19)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents a double bill of Peter Shaffer’s 1960s classic comedies. In The Private Ear, Bob is a shy young man nervously awaiting the arrival of Doreen, his first dinner date. Can Ted, his chic and more experienced work mate, mushroom soup and Benjamin Britten do the trick. In The Public Eye, Julian Christoforou is an eccentric private detective hired by Charles, a stuffy old accountant, to spy on his young wife Belinda, who he believes is having an affair. Ring 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.