David Upton looks at our area’s best pantos and Christmas shows across the festive season.
Jack and the Beanstalk. Charter Theatre, Preston, to December 31
As traditional, cheeky – and Lancashire – as you would expect!
Writer, director and lead player Ted Robbins – as Dame Trott – teamed up with Guild Hall manager Chris Haylett four years ago to devise a panto template that allowed the venue to dispense with pre-packaged productions.
Leah Bracknell makes great comedy out of Fairy Peapod, Warren Donnelly laps up the boos as baddie Fleshcreep, and Jodie Hamblet and Tom Milner are a well-matched Jack and Jill.
The comedy DNA of their dad Bobby Ball shines out of the Harper Brothers and, along with Lucy Faint, they bring slapstick fun. Box office: 0844 844 7710 or www.prestonguildhall.com.
Treasure Island. Lancaster Dukes, to January 5
This theatre often offers something different and this year adapts the pirate yarn to a local setting, without losing its sense of adventure.
There is comedy for all ages and, for the first time, the Christmas show is staged in the round with Nisa Cole, as ‘Jem Lass’ rather than ‘Jim Lad’ in the central role while the rest of a tiny cast double up as a host of other characters. Box office: 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org
Mother Goose, King George’s Hall, Blackburn, to December 31
Comedian Phil Walker – son of Roy – marks his 10th year here this time playing Billy Goose, cheeky son of circus owner Mother Goose.
Blackpool-based Stageworks injects the fun, drama and traditions of the Big Top into their panto, with a cast that includes Madame Galina, the diva Ballerina, Taylor Murphy as the villain, Nicola Bradley as Jill, circus star Mr Slava, and, from Russia, world champion aerialist Alexey Kofanov. Box office: 0844 847 1664 or www.kinggeorgeshall.com
Cinderella, Blackpool Grand, to January 6
Another from the traditional school of pantomime starring TV and radio favourites and Grand favourite Steve Royle, returning for his 10th year.
There’s also Emmerdale’s Danny Miller, Milkshake’s Amy Thompson, and Radio Wave’s Hayley Kay. Box Office: 01253 290190 or www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Jack and the Beanstalk, Platform, Morecambe, December 26 to 30
A second helping of the fairytale classic this time from the resort’s Robinson Read Dance School with plenty of booing and hissing.
Box office: 01524 582803 or www.lancaster.gov.uk
Santa The Panto, Chorley Little Theatre, from tomorrow till December 22
Specially written for the Dole Lane theatre, this Christmas show has Santa coming to town – along with his wife!
Tickets are almost sold out for the entire run but a few remain at Malcolm’s Musicland on 01257 264362.