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Christmas: Watch out for the jingle belles (and baddies!)




Ready yourself for the ear-splitting heckles of ‘he’s behind you’, the raucous laughter and the sheer magic of fairy Godmothers, fearsome pirates and talking cats. Panto season is here! Louise Cummings rounds up the festive favourites. . .

Dick Whittington at The Maltings, Ely

Dick Whittington at Ely Maltings (18958647)
Dick Whittington at Ely Maltings (18958647)

Join poor orphan Dick and his purr-fect side-kick Tommy as they set off for London, where the streets are paved with gold - or so they think - in this ultimate rags-to-riches tale. Brought spectacularly to life by KD Theatre Productions, returning to The Maltings for their seventh consecutive year, panto favourite Terry Gauci promises outrageous antics and festive frolics as Dame Sarah Sweet Tooth, whilst the wickedest villain of them all, evil Queen Rat, played by Gregory Hazel, will be frighteningly fearsome. With live music, high energy choreography, stunning sets, dazzling costumes and laughs-a-go-go, it’s jam-packed with festive cheer.

See Dick Whittington, December 13 – January 5, at The Maltings, Ely. Book tickets at kdtheatre.co.uk or call (01353) 725026.

Wind In The Willows at Cambridge Junction

Wind In The Willows at Cambridge Junction (18958051)
Wind In The Willows at Cambridge Junction (18958051)

Wind in the Willows at Cambridge Junction (18958156)
Wind in the Willows at Cambridge Junction (18958156)

If you’re feeling all Bah Humbug about the arrival of Christmas, this boisterously charismatic reimagining of Kenneth Graeme’s classic tale of friendship can’t fail to get you into the festive spirit! It takes us deep into the woods, revealing the hidden world of a cast of lovable creatures including sensitive Mole, world-weary Badger, gregarious Ratty, and ever excitable Toad. Given the unique Figs in Wigs treatment, expect their signature blend of comic timing, pop culture references, bad jokes, sensational singing and dancing. What an absolute Christmas cracker!

See Wind In The Willows, December 11 – January 5, at Cambridge Junction. Book tickets at junction.co.uk or call (01223) 511511

Peter Pan at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Peter Pan at Theatre Royal Bury(18959019)
Peter Pan at Theatre Royal Bury(18959019)

On a positively dreary day in the life of Wendy Darling, everything changes the minute a strange boy called Peter Pan flies into her bedroom. And so begins the most magical adventure as the pair journey to Neverland, an enchanting world, where children remain perpetually young. There, alongside feisty fairy Tinkerbell and outrageous sidekick Tiger Lily, they meet fiendish pirates, funky mermaids and a ravenous crocodile. But what will happen when they come face-to-face with Peter Pan’s nemesis Captain Hook?

With an awesome cast (Chris Clarkson returns for a third year to play flamboyant dame Tiger Lily, with Dreamboats and Petticoats star Lauren Chinery in the title role), it’s the perfect panto for children (and adults who don’t want to grow up!).

See Peter Pan, November 29 – January 19, at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. Book tickets at theatreroyal.org or call (01284) 769505

Cinderella at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Cinderella at Cambridge Arts Theatre(18958495)
Cinderella at Cambridge Arts Theatre(18958495)

Our all-time favourite fairytale (who doesn’t want to go to the ball in a magical pumpkin carriage, dance with a handsome prince and wear a glittering gown, teamed with shimmering glass slippers?) – Cinderella will be brought to life by a star-studded cast. Join poor Cinders, as she works her fingers to the bone, being bossed about by her two Ugly Sisters, then rejoice as, with the wave of her wand, the Fairy Godmother transports her to a glamorous world of ballgowns and princes.

One of Cambridge’s best-loved pantos – last year 34,000 adults and children packed in to watch Aladdin – the stellar line-up sees ballet icon Wayne Sleep return as an Ugly Sister, alongside panto favourite Matt Crosby and popular TV personalities Liza Goddard and Kevin Kennedy.

Get your vocal chords oiled to join in with the infectious singalong score, and laugh out loud at the topical gags, plus (fingers crossed) the infamous ‘slop’ scene, which usually descends into hilarious chaos!

See Cinderella, November 28 – January 11, at Cambridge Arts Theatre. Book tickets at cambridgeartstheatre.com or call (01223) 503333

Oliver at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

Be transported to the dank, dirty streets of London, as malnourished orphan Oliver escapes the workhouse, only to be ensnared by a group of petty thieves and pickpockets, led by the elderly Fagin.

Captured and accused of a theft he didn’t commit, Oliver is taken in by the benevolent victim, Mr Brownlow, but his happiness lies in jeopardy as Fagin’s sinister sidekick, Bill Sikes, sets out to kidnap him back.

A family favourite at Christmas, featuring well-known songs - Consider Yourself and Pick A Pocket or Two - Lionel Bart’s classical musical, based on Charles Dickens’ famous novel, will be brought to the Apex stage by the award-winning CTC.

See Oliver at The Apex, Bury, December 30 – January 4. Book tickets at theapex.co.uk or call (01284) 758000

Red Riding Hood at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge

Red Riding Hood at ADC Theatre(18959046)
Red Riding Hood at ADC Theatre(18959046)

Meet Red. Life isn’t so easy for her growing up on the edge of the woods, with only her mum to talk to. So she runs off into the forest to encounter a mind-blowing world. Taken in by the Big Bad Wolf and his crew, she is reunited with her estranged father, Robin, leader of the anti-Wolf revolutionaries. But he’s not quite what she envisaged. Will Red be able to find her way through the forest full of magic, mystery and Big Bad Angst, back to her beloved mum? Find out in this epic tale of self-discovery, packed full of comedic and musical talent, and brought to you by The CUADC/Footlights.

See Red Riding Hood, November 27 – December 7, at the ADC Theatre, Park Street, Cambridge. Book tickets at adctheatre.com or call (01223) 300085


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