Oct 10 2011 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle
ALADDIN (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, December 10-31)
PANTOMIME at Venue Cymru in Llandudno will enter another dimension this year as international television personality Jason Gardiner from Dancing On Ice makes his pantomime debut, as the evil Abanazar. Joining Jason on stage will be panto funny man John Evans as he heads back to Llandudno for his fifth year as the loveable Wishee Washee. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
ALADDIN (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, December 10-January 2)
FAMILIAR faces are all set to line up for the panto season in Wirral. Kelsey-Beth Crossley, who is best known as Scarlett Nicholls in ITV’s Emmerdale, plays the title role alongside Andrew Agnew from Balamory as Wishee Washee and Brookside veteran Dean Sullivan as Abanazar. The show will have lavish scenery, spectacular dance routines as well as laughs for all the family headed up by a cast that will appeal to every generation. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
ALEGRIA (MEN Arena, Manchester, April 4-7)
CIRQUE du Soleil brings its critically acclaimed production Alegría to UK arenas for the first time. Alegría is a Spanish word that means happiness, joy and jubilation and features an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries and showcases breathtaking acrobatics. Call 0844 847 8000 or visit men-arena.com.
ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 24-28)
DAVID Essex returns to his roots and takes the title of his big-selling debut album from the 70s as the inspiration for a musical set against the backdrop of a travelling funfair. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
ANNIE (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, November 8-12)
FROM its Broadway beginnings to the classic film musical, this heart-warming rags-to-riches story of Annie’s adventures, from the New York orphanage to the luxurious home of Oliver Warbucks. A great show for all the family. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
BEAUTIFUL THING (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, November 9-December 3)
STE needs a refuge from his own factured family, so Sandra next door encourages him to ‘top-and-tail' with her own son Jamie. Together they both find comedy, warmth and the music of Mama Cass. At turns tough and tender, the play combines fantasy and reality to truly capture what it is to be 16, in the first flush of love and full of optimism. This is a major revival of Jonathan Harvey's seminal play, directed by Sarah Frankcom. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
CALENDAR GIRLS (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, November 21-26)
AWARD-WINNING producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers have announced that 2011 will be the final tour of Tim Firth’s play before the amateur rights are released in 2012. The cast features Lynda Bellingham, Debbie Chazen, Camilla Dallerup, Jennifer Ellison, Jan Harvey, Rula Lenska, June Watson and Ruth Madoc with Bruno Langley as Lawrence the photographer and Joe McGann as John. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
CHICAGO (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, March 19-24)
BASED on real life events back in the roaring 1920s, nightclub singer Roxie Hart shoots her lover and along with Velma Kelly - they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer, Billy Flynn. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
CINDERELLA (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, December 3-31)
LOUIE Spence, star of Sky TV’s Pineapple Dance Studios and Louie Spence’s Showbusiness, will play the Prince’s aide-de-camp Dandini while singer and actress Suzanne Shaw will take the title role of Cinderella. The most magical fairy tale of them all provides everything audiences will expect from a traditional pantomime – stunning sets, lavish costumes, amazing song and dance numbers, romance, bags of audiences participation. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
CINDERELLA: MOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, December 3-January 21)
GET your spandex, glitter and party pants on – the Everyman and Playhouse in Liverpool has announced the legendary rock ’n’ roll panto will shake, rattle and roll at the Playhouse. The boys are back in town too as audience favourites Adam Keast and Francis Tucker pair up again to bring their unique double-act to thrill and soak the crowd in equal measure. call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
CINDERELLA (The Brindley, Runcorn, December 9-January 8)
BROOKSIDE stars Sarah White and Philip Oliver team up for The Brindley’s panto this season. Philip is Buttons and Sarah The Wicked Stepmother in this classic show full of the fun and games you would expect from panto. Call 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
THE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW (The Lowry, Salford Quays, February 23-March 10)
MINER Luther Gascoigne and socially ambitious Minnie are newly wed. Luther’s mother disapproves - in her view, Minnie’s pretensions make her an unsuitable match. A shocking revelation from Luther’s past provokes a rich drama of sexual tension and class conflict set during the bitter 1912 miners’ strike, written by DH Lawrence and presented by the Library Theatre Company. Visit www.librarytheatre.com or call 0843 208 6005.
DIRTY DANCING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, November 22-January 7)
AN UNPRECEDENTED live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensationally sexy dancing. Don’t miss your chance to see this truly spectacular musical theatre event based on the hit movie starring Patrick Swayze. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
GOOD MOURNING MRS BROWN (Empire Theatre in Lime Street, Liverpool, December 12-17)
FOLLOWING the success of TV comedy series Mrs Brown’s Boys on BBC One, Brendan O’Carroll returns to the Liverpool stage. This is the second of the Mrs Brown Trilogy of plays (although there’s actually five) and is written by and stars Brendan O’Carroll as Mrs Agnes Brown. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
HORRIBLE HISTORIES (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, November 1-5)
WE ALL want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! So it’s time to prepare yourselves for the return of Horrible Histories live on stage with two shows: The Ruthless Romans and The Awful Egyptians. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THE LADYKILLERS (Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool, November 3-19)
A TRULY all-star cast has been assembled for this stage version of the classic 1955 Ealing comedy. Peter Capaldi, James Fleet and Ben Miller lead the way in this story of the eccentric little old lady Mrs Wilberforce, who lives alone with her parrots in a strange lopsided house in Kings Cross. Her life is turned upside down by the arrival of Professor Marcus and his four friends, who between them make up the most unlikely group of criminals. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
LORD OF THE DANCE (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 2-8)
LORD Of The Dance has become the most talked about, most written about and most acclaimed show in musical history. It has gone on to receive unparalleled accolades and has broken theatrical records everywhere. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THE NUTCRACKER (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, November 22-26)
NORTHERN Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker, which brings to life everyone’s favourite Christmas story with their unique magic scattered throughout. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s enduring score. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
OLIVER! (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, January 25-March 10)
THE classic stage musical by Lionel Bart based on the Charles Dickens novel makes a welcome return with a fabulous cast headed by Neil Morrissey as Fagin. The score includes Food Glorious Food and many more memorable songs. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
PANTO’S ON STRIKE (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 11-14)
PADDY McGuinness and Jonathan Wilkes star in this original, side-splitting, rip-roaring comedy show that will have you rubbing your magic lamp. But be warned – the adult only humour will bring out the big kid in all of you. Over-18s only. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
PEDESTRIAN (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, November 24-26)
ONE man's epic journey from a never ending pedestrianized shopping precinct to the gates of heaven and back - pursued by a giant fish. Charting his painful encounters en route with street fundraisers, the office on their lunch break, Tesco Metro, a young Palestinian boy, Barack Obama, Jesus Christ and the woman of his dreams, Wainwright has created a perversely comic razor-sharp satire about attempting to suppress ‘The Fear’; about apathy; about wanting to change the world. And doing absolutely nothing. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
PEPPA PIG’S TREASURE HUNT (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, February 15-16)
PEPPA and George are up to fun and games on a day out on Grandad Dog's boat. Help them, with Pedro Pony, Polly Parrot and Zoe Zebra to follow the clues and find their treasure as they all enjoy a day of adventure. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
ROOTS (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 27-November 19)
ARNOLD Wesker’s groundbreaking trilogy (which also includes Chicken Soup With Barley and I’m Talking About Jerusalem) were written on the cusp of the 60s and introduced a new radical voice on to the British stage. Beatle Bryant is home from London for a holiday, bursting with ideas, full of love and admiration for her bright Jewish boyfriend Ronnie and frustrated by her stolid, bickering farming family. This new production, directed by Kate Wasserberg, has been relocated to the Welsh Valleys. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
SCROOGE (The Lowry, Salford Quays, December 12-January 7)
FAMILY favourite Tommy Steele will be taking up residence this Christmas in Bill Kenwright’s record-breaking production of the famous festive musical by Lionel Bart. No holiday season would be complete without Ebenezer, Bob Cratchit, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, and of course Tiny Tim. This heartwarming family story has stunning sets and costumes, specially created illusions by magician Paul Kieve and a fantastic musical score which features the Oscar nominated hit Thank You Very Much. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
SINDERFELLA (Dance House, Manchester, December 15-January 7)
A WICKED adult twist on the classic pantomime, Sinderfella mixes bawdy cross dressing and feel good party anthems to kick start Christmas with a bang. The actress scheduled to play Cinderella for the night hasn’t turned up so it’s left to Fairy Godmother Lillian (Shameless’s Alice Barry) to conjure up a plan. Call 0161 832 111 or visit www.thedancehouse.co.uk.
SISTER ACT (Empire Theatre in Lime Street, Liverpool, May 22–June 2 2012)
FROM producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment (Hairspray, High School Musical) the smash hit musical comedy based on the classic film comes to the Opera House direct from its record-breaking run at the London Palladium. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl, December 9-January 7)
FEW people in the world haven’t heard the tale of the charming young princess who is nearly killed by her evil stepmother – the Wicked Queen, but is helped by a group of seven lovable characters. This year’s pantomime stars Tupele Dorgu, best known for her role as Kelly Crabtree in Coronation Street , as the Wicked Queen, Channel 5’s Milkshake presenter Amy Thompson as Snow White and, back by popular demand, the hilarious Andy Jones star of our 2010 pantomime Peter Pan as Muddles. Call 01745 330000 or visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk.
SOUTH PACIFIC (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, October 25-November 5)
THIS breathtaking and lavish Lincoln Center Theater production reinvented the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein show, swept the 2008 Tony Awards, played to sold-out houses on Broadway and was televised across America. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
TURN OF THE SCREW (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Chester, November 12-19)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents this chilling ghost story from acclaimed writer Henry James. Miss Grey, a young governess, arrives at Bly to take charge of little Flora and her brother Miles, two orphaned children. Soon she begins to see strange figures - a man and a woman. They seem to be the former valet and governess but Miss Grey learns that both people are dead. Why have their spirits returned? Call 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.
WHISTLEBLOWER (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, October 21)
A BRITISH solider is back from a tour of duty in a foreign war with a terrible story to tell. A young military policewoman has been waiting for the opportunity to make a stand in favour of human rights. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
WHITE CHRISTMAS (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, December 22-January 7)
SPECTACULAR stage musical, featuring the music of Irving Berlin, based on the classic 1954 movie. Singer, actor, radio and TV presenter Aled Jones will return to the role of Bob Wallace, a character he first played to great acclaim at The Lowry. The international dance star of stage and screen Adam Cooper (Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Billy Elliott as well as On Your Toes and Guys and Dolls in London’s West End) joins Aled in returning to the role of Phil Davis, the other half of the song and dance duo. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, December 2-January 14)
THE tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad have been delighting readers and audiences for generations. Alan Bennett’s stage version of Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel - presented by the Library Theatre Company - is true to the original but written with his distinctive flair and humour, featuring clever songs and witty dialogue. Visit www.librarytheatre.com or call 0843 208 6005.
WONDERFUL TOWN (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, March 31-April 14, 2012)
FOR the first time The Royal Exchange Theatre, The Hallé Orchestra and The Lowry will combine their artistic forces and present this remarkable fully staged, brilliantly choreographed production of the legendary composer Leonard Bernstein’s musical comedy. Connie Fisher plays aspiring writer Ruth Sherwood who arrives in New York with her beautiful younger sister Eileen. The indomitable pair meet an array of colourful characters along the way, creating chaos at every turn in their search for romance, success and a free meal at Walgreens deli. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, December 7-January 14)
JOIN a joyful, mad and eccentric celebration of family this Christmas in our revival of the 1930s Broadway hit. The bohemian Vanderhofs firmly believe anything goes so long as it makes you happy, while the conventional Kirbys believe in the pursuit of money and the American Dream. But when granddaughter Alice falls in love with the Kirby's banker son, mayhem ensues as values and philosophy collide head-on. This is a new collaboration with the internationally acclaimed theatre company Told by an Idiot, whose uniquely inventive physical style will bring this great American comedy vividly to life. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.