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Theatres - November 18 onwards


ALICE IN WONDERLAND (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, November 19-January 21)

A MAGICAL new production of the classic Lewis Carroll story from the team that created Peter Pan last year. Join Alice as she journeys through a strange and enchanted world. Meet the White Rabbit, take tea with the Mad Hatter, search for the Cheshire Cat and hide from a very bad-tempered Queen. Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.

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 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 has 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.

ALADDIN (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, December 15- January 15)

TV STAR Joe Swash is the new leading man for the Regent’s panto this year. He shot to fame in 2003 playing the part of Mickey Miller in EastEnders and in 2008 he was crowned king of the jungle when he won ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!. Featuring the most recognisable characters in panto, including our hero Aladdin, the beautiful princess, the evil sorcerer and the ultimate dame – Widow Twankey. Ring 0844 871 7649 or visit www.ambassadortickets.com.

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 and 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.

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. Visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk or ring 0844 372 7272.

RED RIDING HOOD (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, December 14-31)

A GORGEOUSLY rendered retelling of the classic girl-and-the-wolf tale. The story that everyone knows… or do they? In an abridged version of the children’s classic, Horse+Bamboo presents an enchanting version of the timeless tale. Exquisite visuals blend with pantomime-style silliness and spooky moments to create an enchanting piece of theatre for all ages over four. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.

SCROOGE (The Lowry, Salford Quays, December 12-January 7)

FAMILY favourite Tommy Steele takes 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 heart-warming family story has stunning sets and costumes, specially created illusions by magician Paul Kieve and a musical score which features 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.

SLEEPING BEAUTY – THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 25-January 28)

THE talented team of director Peter Rowe and designer Judith Croft, who created hit pantomimes Aladdin and Robin Hood & The Babes in the Wood, are back with the perfect festive show. The classic fairy tale is sprinkled with the magic of memorable pop and soul hits, played live by a cast of actor/musicians, including everyone’s favourite dame, Phylip Harries. Visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or call 0845 330 3565.

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 as Muddles. Visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk or call 01745 330000.

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 returns to the role of Bob Wallace, a character he first played to great acclaim at The Lowry. 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. Call 0843 208 6005 or visit www.librarytheatre.com.

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.


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. Visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk or ring 0844 372 7272.

DAYS OF LIGHT (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 1-4)

HAWAII. Late light slanting through bamboo blinds. Rattan chairs creaking. Ceiling fans turning lazily. The sameness of the seasons; no autumn, no spring. Underneath the ocean the magma rages. Ageing ex-pat Miss Peoke awaits the return of her son, while Nathan anticipates the arrival of his new love. But what else is stirring in the crystal blue lagoon? Days of Light marks the welcome return to The Studio of Starving Artists, whose recent successes include Road Movie and Eat Me. Visit www.royalexchange.co.uk or ring 0161 833 9833.

THE GATEKEEPER (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 8-25)

THIS world premiere lifts the lid on a darkly comic family get-together. Mike and Julia made sure their children Rob and Stacey had the best of everything when they were growing up. Now they’re adults all they want is to be proud of them. But when they meet up in a Lake District holiday cottage to celebrate Stacey’s birthday it seems nobody has been honest with each other. With a brilliant ear for dialogue, playwright Chloe Moss wickedly captures the infuriating family habits and conversations that can drive you mad. The bid to keep up appearances in front of an unexpected guest soon falls by the wayside as secrets are revealed and the ‘get-together’ falls apart, in this painfully funny play. Visit www.royalexchange.co.uk or ring 0161 833 9833.

THE KING AND I (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, January 10-14)

RODGERS and Hammerstein’s classic show is one of the best-loved musicals of all time. Seen by millions across the world since it was first performed in 1951, it remains a firm favourite today. It tells the heart-warming story of the British governess brought to the court of Siam to tutor the king’s many children and features such songs as Getting To Know You, Shall We Dance and Hello Young Lovers. This new production stars Ramon Tikaram as the King and Josefina Gabrielle as Anna. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.

THE LION IN WINTER (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Chester, January 14-21)

CHESTER Theatre Club presents John Goldman’s classic historical drama. Set in Chinon Castle at Christmas 1183, we meet the Plantagenets, one of the most influential and warring families of the time. Henry II is aware of his mortality and wants to ensure the legacy of the ‘empire’ he has built lives on. He has three living sons and one of them is his favourite. But his wife, Eleanor of Aquitane, favours another son and this gives rise to disagreements. Call 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.

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.

MATTHEW BOURNE’S NUTCRACKER! (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, January 24-28)

ONE of the most popular dance productions ever staged in the UK, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! returns to celebrate its 20th anniversary. This delicious theatrical feast has family-sized helpings of Matthew Bourne’s trademark wit, pathos and magical fantasy. Nutcracker! follows Clara’s bittersweet journey from a hilariously bleak Christmas Eve at Dr Dross’s Orphanage, through a shimmering, ice-skating winter wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland. Tchaikovsky’s glorious score and Anthony Ward’s unforgettable sets and costumes combine with sizzling choreography to create a delicious theatrical feast. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.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.

PANTO’S ON STRIKE (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, January 17-21)

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. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.

SPAMALOT (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, January 16-21)

AUDIENCES across the world have been roaring with laughter since Monty Python’s Spamalot, by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005. It tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The show features the hilarious songs He Is Not Dead Yet, Knights Of The Round Table, Find Your Grail and, of course, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. Marcus Brigstocke triumphantly returns as Arthur, King of the Britons; Jodie Prenger reprises her role as the Lady of The Lake; and Todd Carty is back as Patsy. Visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk or call 0844 847 2525.

TWO (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, January 18-February 25)

IN a northern pub a landlord and landlady welcome you to join the colourful collection of people who make it their local. In this public place you’ll glimpse some private moments as we overhear snippets from the bittersweet lives and relationships of the regulars. Share an evening with two incredible actors as they conjure up every one of Cartwright’s distinctive and original tales, exploring the highs, lows, triumphs and disasters that are part and parcel of being one half of ‘two’. Following the hugely successful Zack, comedian and actor Justin Moorhouse reunites with director Greg Hersov to play the landlord in this acclaimed Jim Cartwright play. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.