The Celebrity One: Cinderella
This is the big one. Paul O’Grady plays the wicked stepmother and Julian Clary Dandini in this star-studded pantomime. Natasha J Barnes – last seen standing in for Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl – takes the lead, ably supported by Amanda Holden, Lee Mead (Prince Charming, of course), Nigel Havers and Count Arthur Strong.
London Palladium, 10 December to 15 January
The Trippy Update: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Anthony Neilson has created a trippy new version of the classic which plays out on a stunning Victorian playground set, complete with hot air balloons. Nick Powell composes the psychedelic songs and in a stroke of genius, Tam Dean Burn plays the Mad Hatter. Magic.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, to 31 December
The Musical: Strictly Ballroom
West Yorkshire Playhouse have scored quite the Christmas coup with this, the UK premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s film about a ballroom dancer who defies the odds. Terry Johnson adapts the script while Drew McOnie – who won an Olivier for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – directs and choreographs.
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, to 21 January
The Millennial Panto: Ricky Whittington
Almost certainly the only “panto for millennials” on offer, this show updates the old story to take in very modern metropolitan concerns such as political disillusionment, alienation, and economic instability. Written by stand-up Liam Williams and his fellow Sheeps sketch trouper Daran Johnson, it stars Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat’s Oregon) alongside a cast of young comedians, including Ellie White, David Elms and Rob Carter.
New Diorama Theatre, London NW1, 10 December to 7 January
The Immersive One: The Great Gatsby
The alternative panto of choice, Theatre Delicatessen’s immersive production takes place in and around a derelict Woolworths in Sheffield city centre. Audiences will be invited to drink cocktails, dance and infiltrate one of the greatest stories of the 20th century. 1920s dress positively encouraged.
17 The Moor, Sheffield, to 31 December
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.