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Traditional pantomimes and ones with a modern twist – Rosy Moorhead rounds up what's on this Christmas in and around Harrow
Step inside the magical world of pantomime brought to life by talented locals, with Dick Whittington at the Harrow Arts Centre.
A country boy walks to London with his cat to seek fame and fortune. Join the pair on their madcap adventures that will entertain children and parents alike.
To make the occasion even more special, why not try the Christmas Fayre Menu at Daisy’s in the Arts, located inside the centre, before or after the performance?
- Harrow Arts Centre, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End. December 19-23 at various times. Details: 020 8416 8989, www.harrowarts.com
Adam Woodyatt flies into the Beck Theatre in Hayes this Christmas to star in the swashbuckling Peter Pan!
Playing the part of Captain Hook, Ian helps bring this spectacular adventure to life with the help of magnificent scenery, dazzling comedy, a bellyful of comedy and stunning flying sequences.
- The Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes. December 16 to January 6 at various times. Details: 020 8561 8371, www.becktheatre.org.uk
This year the magical tale of Cinderella comes to the Compass Theatre in Ickenham, with all the fabulous dancing, singing, comedy and romance you would expect – plus an extra special treat this year in the form of animated scenery, created especially by London Film School graduate Alasdair Beckett-King.
- Compass Theatre, Glebe Avenue, Ickenham. December 12-29 at various times. Details: 01895 673200, www.compasstheatre.co.uk
At the end of a ‘Great British’ year, the Palace Theatre, originally built as a Music Hall in 1908, will celebrate one of the nation’s favourite entertainment traditions - with its new pantomime production of Mother Goose.
Set in the fairytale town of Watfordia, Mother Goose features a cast of talented theatre actors, a live onstage band, and a ballet-dancing Goose, bringing this classic pantomime to life in Vaudeville style with a contemporary twist.
Mother Goose and Priscilla the Goose are inseparable - but will Mother Goose ever learn the timely lesson that there’s more to happiness than riches, celebrity and beauty, and more to her friend Priscilla than her ability to lay golden eggs?
Local star Terence Frisch takes on the title role and panto favourites Donovan Blackwood and Sheena Patel make a return to the Palace stage.
- Watford palace Theatre, Clarendon Road, Watford. December 7-29. Details: 01923 225671, www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk
Beauty and the Beast
This heart-warming show has something for everyone, combining a popular classic fairytale with all the cherished traditions of pantomime.
With fantastic music, brilliant costumes and dazzling scenery, this production of Beauty and the Beast promises fun and laughter, colourful pantomime characters, a beautiful heroine, a Beast who is not as he seems and loads of audience participation.
- The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett. December 8-31. Details: 01923 859291, www.radlettcentre.co.uk
Other Christmas shows
On midwinter eve, when an icy wind blew, the moon weaved its magic and wishes came true.
A long time ago and very far away, Miki, Polar Bear and Penguin live in a place where nothing ever grows. One midwinter eve they make a wish and Miki embarks on a magical adventure – in search of a star.
Featuring amazing underwater creatures, songs to sing along to and extraordinary puppetry, Miki is an inspiring story about friendship, courage and adventure, based on the much-loved book by Stephen Mackey.
Ideal for those aged three to six and those too young for a full-length panto, but fun for the whole family.
- The Ark Theatre, Hertswood Upper Site, Thrift Farm Lane, Borehamwood. December 5-8 at various times. Details: 020 8238 7288, www.thearktheatre.co.uk
The area’s amateur dramatics groups are getting in the festive spirit too, with a number of pantomimes taking place across the season.
The Hill Players present Sleeping Beauty at the Ryan Theatre, Harrow on the Hill, on December 14 and 15 (www.hillplayers.co.uk), The Chameleons are putting on Aladdin at Claremont High School in Kenton on January 17-20 (www.thechameleons.co.uk), The Argosy Players stage Beauty and the Beast at the Winston Churchill Hall in Ruislip on January 17-27 (www.argosyplayers.org.uk), and the Arrow Players present Aladdin at St Edmund’s Hall in Northwood Hills on January 12-19 (www.arrowplayers.org.uk).