Guide to the best 2017 pantomimes in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 14:27 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:31 10 December 2017
The pantomime season is upon us once again - oh yes it is. We dons our best dame outfit to cast an eye over this year's best family festive pantos taking place in Norfolk.
Little Red Riding Hood
The Garage, Chapel Field North, Norwich, until December 29, various dates/times, £11, £7 children, under-1s free, 01603 598646, thegarage.org.uk
The fairy tale about a young girl and a big bad wolf gets the My First Panto treatment in All-In Productions and The Garage’s Christmas production. Red is off to take cakes and sweets to her ill Granny who lives far, far away in the enchanted woods. On the way she meets a stranger who is very interested in Granny and all may not be quite as it seems... Grandma has big eyes and teeth and she’s hairy. Perfect first panto experience for little ones, babies can be fed and children play along with the action.
Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until January 14, various times and prices, 01284 769505, theatreroyal.org
Dick Whittington seems to be this year’s most popular pantomime. This production at Bury Theatre Royal is a traditional blend of magic, music, fun and laughter, with Jessica Spalis as Dick, Chris Clarkson as dame Winona Whittington, and Tom Roberts as the villainous Sir Reginald Ratfiend. One of the best loved stories of all time, young Dick sets off from his home in sleepy Suffolk, to make his fame and fortune in rat infested London Town and on to Paradise Island on the good ship Leaking Lizzie.
Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, until December 30, various dates/times, £12.50 (£10 cons), £9 children, £40 family, 01493 662832, gorlestonpavilion.co.uk
Take one pumpkin, a handful of mice to pull it, plus a wave of the Fairy Godmother’s wand and Cinderella shall go to the Ball. For the past 11 years Ohyesitiz Productions have staged the pantomime at the Edwardian theatre. Once again the script and direction are the work of seasoned actor Desmond Barrit who also plays one of the Ugly Sisters, with Downton Abbey footman actor Thomas Howes as the other. “Tom is 30, I’m 72,” says Des. “What a remarkable mother we must have had!” Cinderella is 21-year-old Norwich City College drama graduate Laura Roome.
Jack and the Beanstalk
King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, December 8-31, various times, £21.50-£15, 01553 764864, kingslynncornexchange.co.uk
Fe Fi Fo Fun – a giant panto sprouts at King’s Lynn this year. Intrepid Jack heads off on the adventure of a lifetime as he scampers boldly up the beanstalk to do battle with Giant Blunderbore. Does Dame Trott finally get her man? Can Simple Simon work out which end of the cow needs milking? Ian Reddington, best known for his roles as Tricky Dicky in EastEnders and Vernon in Coronation Street, leads the cast as Flesh Creep. Back for his eighth year, playing Dame Trott, is audience favourite (and show director) Ian Marr, teaming up with Scott Cripps as Simple Simon. Rebecca Lisewski is Jack.
The Wizard of Oz
Sheringham Little Theatre, December 9-January 1, £18, £13 under-16s, £60 family, 01263 822347, sheringhamlittletheatre.com
Last year’s journey to Neverland with Peter Pan was a big hit for the Little Theatre, and the same creative team this Christmas down the Yellow Brick Road with a pantomime version of the classic story The Wizard of Oz. Hana Stewart plays Dorothy who with her cheeky dog Toto gets carried away by a tornado to the magical land of Oz. They travel to the Emerald City along the way meeting the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Will the wonderful Wizard of Oz be able to help them all? Packed full of modern songs, dances, hilarious characters, special effects and magic.
Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, until January 1, various times, £16 (313 cons), £13 children, £52-£40 family, 01485 532252, princesshunstanton.co.uk
Cinders must go to the ball in Hunstanton’s panto. With the help from her Fairy Godmother, can Cinderella get the chance to pursue her dreams and live happily ever after with her Prince Charming? Will the Ugly Sisters stand in her way? This traditional panto promises a high energy mix of singing, dancing and comedy, coupled with spectacular scenery and costumes, not to mention a real magical carriage. Helen Farrell is Cinderella, Simon Hollsoi is Prince Charming, Andy Eastwood plays Buttons and Hannah Bird is the Fairy Godmother.
Beauty & the Beast
Angles Theatre, Wisbech, December 9-31, £13-£10, £10 children, £10 each family, 01945 474447, anglestheatre.co.uk
The Angles Theatre’s award-winning Ratz theatre company follow up last year’s successful Aladdin with the equally magical, but slightly less traditional story of Beauty & the Beast (not the Disney version) throughout the festive period. Belle is our heroine and above all else she loves roses. One day she journeys through the woods and ends up near the Beast’s castle. She is captured and imprisoned and the rest of the story carries on. They did all live happily ever after. A cast of 40 including local youngsters.
Norwich Theatre Royal, December 13-January 14, various dates/times, £24.50-£7, under-3s free, 01603 630000, theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
The Norwich family panto, as ever written and directed by Richard Gauntlett, is this year the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty, a princess cursed by a very bad-tempered guest - the evil wicked witch. One day the Princess pricks her finger and falls asleep for a hundred years. But will a handsome young prince be able to save the princess? Elizabeth Carter is the beautiful Patience Midges, EastEnders actress Gillian Wright is the evil Aunt Vipera, with Richard Gauntlett and Ben Langley and Derek Griffiths as the upstanding Chortwood the Butler. See pages 10-11 for our chat with Derek Griffiths.
Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, December 13-January 1, various dates/times, £19.50-£7, 01502 533200, marinatheatre.co.uk
Hop on the magic carpet for festive adventure! A magical carpet ride to Old Peking where soap-sud silliness has got Widow Twankey and her sons Aladdin and Wishee-Washee in a lather! Can the Slave of the Ring and the Genie of the Lamp help our hero win the day? This year’s Lowestoft panto star former high-profile politician, turned celebrity Ann Widdecombe, A1 boy-band member Mark Read and resident funny man Terry Gleed. It’s one of the most traditional panto stories and the show will be packed full of laughter, surprises, songs and loads of audience participation.
St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, December 16-January 7, various dates/times, £12.50 (£11.50 cons), £9.50 children, 01493 331484, stgeorgestheatre.com
Following the success of 2013’s Jack and the Beanstalk, 2014’s Aladdin, 2016’s Cinderella and last year’s Robin Hood, Yarmouth’s St George’s Theatre again hosts another professional panto. This year the team are back with their unique take on Dick Whittington, a very traditional panto favourite that they give there own spin packed full of slapstick, song and laughter. The cast includes Will Norton as Dick and Georgina Norton as Alice Fitzwarren, with Dave Higgins as King Rat and Emma Holt as Fairy Cowbells. Family fun and mayhem guaranteed.
Diss Corn Hall, December 16-26, various times, £12 (£10 cons), 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk
Rubbing the magic lamp also conjures up Aladdin in Diss. Can the street urchin Aladdin win the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine who is carefully guarded by the befuddled Emperor? Can the chosen one learn the power of the lamp from the all powerful Genie? Aladdin’s washerwoman mother Widow Twankey is on hand to make sure that things stay on track in a show that promises a marvellous mix of magic, comedy, puppets, music and adventure from a professional cast.
Fisher Theatre, Bungay, December 20-January 2, various times, £12.50 (£10.50 cons), £7.50 under-18s, 01986 897130, fishertheatre.org
Having previously hosted The Wizard of Oz and Robin Hood, the Fisher Theatre this year has the classic Dick Whittington and His Cat in another brilliant script by Ben Crocker. The tale of a poor boy making good – thanks to his clever moggie. They promise another fast and furious romp through old London town to mysterious Morocco via exotic Kings Langley (and a shipwreck in shark infested waters) with the glamorous hero and heroine, saucy dame, singing mice, a mad Emperor and King Rat. Plus some cracking songs and lots of laughs.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Black Swan Loke, North Walsham, December 21-24, various times, all tickets £7, 01692 404533, new-stages.co.uk
Christmas panto returns to North Walsham with a fresh retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, written and directed by Joseph Ballard presented at North Walsham Pop Up People’s Theatre. It will be located down Black Swan Loke, transforming the function hall of the Black Swan into a theatre space. Joseph will be starring alongside James Turner as dame Cecilia Spriggins and Jack respectively. Other actors fill the cast, supported by members of North Norfolk Youth Theatre and local group Dance For Fun as the chorus. Joseph has been writing, directing and performing professionally for 17 years and Jack and the Beanstalk will mark his 15th pantomime.
Beccles Public Hall, December 23-January 1, various times, tickets from £9.50, 01502 770060, becclespublichall.org.uk
Beccles Public Hall following the success of last year’s pantomime Aladdin with a trip into Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood and his merry men. The swashbuckling hero is on a mission to outwit the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and win the heart of his fair maiden, Marian. Robin Hood is led by Rebecca Jillings in the title role, Thom Bailey will play Friar Tuck and Daniel Hanton, who has hosted Sunday Night Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, will take on the role of the pantomime dame Nurse Nellie. And not forgetting Christian Manderfield, who is expecting plenty of boos and hisses in his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Beauty & the Beast
Memorial Hall, Dereham, December 27-January 1, various times, £13, £11 under-18s, 01362 693821, derehammemorialhall.co.uk
Panto provides much needed box office revenues for amateur dramatic groups. In Dereham and Fakenham audiences never fail to show their support for the annual pantos put on by Dereham Theatre Company and Fakenham and District Light Operatic Society. This year it is Beauty & the Beast that is being performing for eight shows. The classic fairytale follows kind-hearted Belle as in order to save her father, she faces imprisonment in a magnificent castle by the hideous Beast. But is he more than he seems?
The Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe
Hunstanton Town Hall, December 27-30, 2pm/7pm, £9, £7 children, £28 family, 01485 532610, hunstantonpantomime.weebly.com
Hunstanton panto bigger and better than ever, this year with this lesser told tale, based around the popular nursery rhyme. Dame Dallymore’s orphanage is in peril. She has been unable to pay the rent for ten years, so the cruel Squire wants to make her - and all the orphans - homeless. Just when the situation seems dire, it gets worse, for a Giant smashes it to smithereens! Dame Kitty Litter, the stage name of award winning actor John Giller, again takes charge. He has been performing for over 20 years and is the writer, director and Hunstanton pantomime Dame.