REVIEW: The Sleeping Beauty by the Kings Langley Players ****

11:56am Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Festive spirit was in plentiful supply as the Kings Langley Players sung and danced their way into the New Year with this entertaining retelling of The Sleeping Beauty.

‘It’s the Dames’ King Lear’

Times Series: Mother Goose is on at the Watford Palace Theatre

10:02am Thursday 20th December 2012

Watford Palace panto dame Terence Frisch, from Harrow, tells George Nott why he loves playing Mother Goose

Aladdin at the Alban Arena

Times Series: Aladdin at the Alban Arena

10:30am Thursday 20th December 2012

WITH its fast-moving, well choreographed and brilliantly staged pantomime production of Aladdin, this year’s Christmas production at the Alban Arena should be set to break box office records. Quite simply, it’s brilliant  and keeps both adults and children engaged throughout two-and-a half-hours with plenty of booing, singing, laughing and even screaming. Husband and wife team Paul Hendy and Emily Wood, who head Evolution Productions, have certainly hit on a winning formula, staging pantomimes in many of the country’s best theatres since 2005. This is the third time Shaun Williamson has played the evil Abanazer for Evolution, a part which he (Shaun) plays quite gleefully, manfully taking the merciless Barry jokes. Shaun’s former EastEnders’ character Barry Evans, will haunt him forever it seems. But it was obvious he was enjoying his work, which is very infectious. He can sing too, as we discover with his Elvis impersonation number. The script is witty and moves along at great speed. One of my favourite jokes came in describing the Milletts sale, ‘now is the winter of their discount tents’. Shakespeare is another recurring theme as Abanazer has an ambition to be an ACTOR, don’t you know. Aladdin, was played with charm by Phil Gallagher, CBeebies’ Mister Maker, obviously a familiar, figure to children in the theatre. They loved his 12 Days of Christmas obligatory slapstick scene with PC Pongo (Bob Golding) and Widow Twankey (Sam Rabone). Super funky Genie of the Lamp (Nathaniel Morrison) was a treat for the ladeez in his 70s-style gold-lame jumpsuit and platforms boots. Kelly Chinery as the Spirit of the Ring was engagingly Essex-like and she and Jemma Carlisle as Princess Jasmine impressed with their singing ability. The standard of Aladdin as a whole is very high. There’s even a flying carpet special effect! Widow Twankey’s exotic costumes were a triumph and the most imaginative I have ever seen, thanks to set and costume designer Helga Wood. Special mention should be made of  the comic PC, played by Bob Golding and Stuart Nurse, who gave the Emporer of China authority, as they both live in St Albans and are delighted to be appearing on their home town stage.

It's panto time... oh yes it is!

Times Series: Everyone's favourite monster, The Gruffalo, comes to artsdepot in North Finchley. (Photo credit Alastair Muir)

10:05am Thursday 29th November 2012

Traditional pantomimes and ones with a modern twist – Rosy Moorhead rounds up what's on this Christmas in Finchley, Potters Bar, Borehamwood and Barnet

A passion for pantomime

Times Series: Samantha Hughes has starred in such West End hits as Blood Brothers and Me and My Girl

9:23am Thursday 13th December 2012

West End star Samantha Hughes talks to Rosy Moorhead about her role as Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar

Why Adam Woodyatt loves playing baddies

Times Series: Adam Woodyatt stars as Captain Hook in Peter Ban at the Beck in Hayes

10:04am Thursday 13th December 2012

EastEnder Adam Woodyatt talks to Rosy Moorhead about playing Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the Beck Theatre in Hayes

There is nothing like a dame

10:09am Thursday 13th December 2012

Harrow man Peter Biggs brings a touch of the Caribbean to his dame in Dick Whittington at Harrow Arts Centre

Cinders with a twist

Times Series: The Compass' production of Cinderella features magical animated scenery

10:15am Thursday 13th December 2012

Cinderella gets animated at this year's panto at the Compass Theatre in Ickenham

‘I take pantomime very seriously’

Times Series: Peter Purves stars as Alderman Fitzwarren

11:29am Wednesday 12th December 2012

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves talks show tactics with Rosy Moorhead ahead of his role in the Harpenden Public Halls panto Dick Whittington

"It's the Dame's King Lear!" - Watford Palace panto dame Terence Frisch on Mother Goose

Times Series: Mother Goose is on at the Watford Palace Theatre

1:01pm Friday 7th December 2012

WHEN Terence Frisch steps out onto the Watford Palace stage tonight, he’ll be carrying the weight of more than a century of tradition on his shoulders – as well as a headpiece so wide he has to walk through doors sideways.

EastEnders is behind you

Times Series: Shaun Williamson stars as the evil Abanazar in Aladdin at The Alban Arena this Christmas

2:04pm Thursday 6th December 2012

Shaun Williamson talks about life after Albert Square as he prepares to star in Aladdin at The Alban Arena, by Melanie Dakin and Rosy Moorhead

It's panto time... oh yes it is!

Times Series: Adam Woodyatt stars as Captain Hook in Peter Ban at the Beck in Hayes

10:59am Thursday 29th November 2012

Traditional pantomimes and ones with a modern twist – Rosy Moorhead rounds up what's on this Christmas in and around Harrow

Cinderella is tradition at its best

Times Series: pantoCinderella (Sophie Dowling) and Prince Charming (Cat Bassett)

2:20pm Thursday 5th January 2012

Andrew Knight tells Melanie Dakin what the Kings Langley Players has cooked up in its Cinderella

Jonathan Ansell is happy to charm a panto crowd

Times Series: Jonathan Ansell stars at The Watersmeet as Prince Charming

5:11pm Thursday 15th December 2011

The pop-opera singer's solo career is soaring after leaving the singing group G4, says Melanie Dakin

From the West End to Wyllyotts

Times Series: Tony stars as Fleshcreep at The Wyllyotts

4:43pm Thursday 15th December 2011

Tony Timberlake has starred in Cats and Les Miserables in the West End. Now the Chipperfield actor is coming home to Herts for Christmas, writes Melanie Dakin

The not so scary Wicked Fairy

Times Series: Colleen Daly as the Wicked Fairy Carabosse

4:09pm Thursday 15th December 2011

Colleen Daley is careful not to be too frightening as her three-year-old daughter will be in the audience for The Radlett Centre's seasonal show, writes Rosy Moorhead

Swan song for pantomime favourite

Times Series: Mark Jones stars as Wishee Washee in Aladdin at The Beck Theatre

4:24pm Thursday 15th December 2011

Back Theatre stalwart Mark Jones is moving into production at the Wycombe Swan, so it may be goodbye from him for a while... Rosy Moorhead asks what lies ahead for the popular funnyman

The Beast finds his voice

Times Series: Haris Mos stars in Harrow Arts Centre's production of Beauty and the Beast

4:29pm Thursday 15th December 2011

Community panto at its best returns to Harrow this Christmas, with Beauty and the Beast playing at the Harrow Arts Centre this week.

“My baddie is so vile"

Times Series: Toyah Wilcox at The Alban Arena

10:44am Thursday 8th December 2011

Toyah Willcox talks to Melanie Dakin about playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White

Little Howard makes his panto debut

Times Series: Little Howard stars in the Harpenden panto

11:10am Thursday 8th December 2011

North Hertfordshire-based actor and comedian Howard Read is sharing a stage with a live cast and his boisterous six-year-old cartoon sidekick Little Howard. Is it a recipe for panto-mayhem? Melanie Dakin asks the question

Panto-round up 2011

Times Series: Toyah Wilcox at The Alban Arena

4:41pm Thursday 1st December 2011

Jack and the Beanstalk

Fairground fun at The Palace

Times Series: Watford Palace panto promises all the fun of the fair

2:31pm Friday 25th November 2011

Terence Frisch talks to Melanie Dakin about being a pantomime dame and his role in Jack and the Beanstalk

Chipperfield Theatre Group stages a knightly tale

5:03pm Thursday 13th January 2011

Chivalry is not dead; Chipperfield Theatre Group will soon be demonstrating its courtly manners in its next production, Knight Fever – an Arthurian panto.

A purrfect pantomime for the whole family

1:35pm Friday 7th January 2011

Your Christmas tree may be in the recycling bin and all traces of tinsel erased from your home, but the panto season soldiers on. Oh, yes it does.

A monster of a pantomime in Abbots Langley

1:41pm Friday 7th January 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theatre, yet another panto springs up, this time in Abbots Langley.

'Everyone has a dark side'

Times Series: 'Everyone has a dark side'

12:58pm Thursday 16th December 2010

Director Xavier Fontenille presents the perfect pirate caper in Robinson Crusoe And The Pirates, writes Melanie Dakin

Cinderella is a right Bobby Dazzler of a pantomime show

Times Series: Bobby Dazzler as Buttons

12:44pm Thursday 16th December 2010

Comedian Bobby Dazzler stars as Buttons in Cinderella, at Campus West this Christmas

‘I’m a bit of a bin fairy’

Times Series: Linda Robson stars at The Watersmeet

5:33pm Thursday 9th December 2010

Birds of a Feather actress, Linda Robson tells Melanie Dakin about her love for pantomime and obsession with green issues

Experience the real spirit of Christmas at St Albans' Abbey Theatre

Times Series: The Company of Ten’s festive production of A Christmas Carol

5:30pm Thursday 9th December 2010

Witness the supernatural visits to Ebenezer Scrooge, writes Rachel Wakefield

‘Magical and Christmassy’

Times Series: Catriona Mackenzie stars as Amy

9:52am Thursday 9th December 2010

Gomito Productions brings an original, festive tale to the artsdepot this Christmas

Dame for a laugh

Times Series: Gavin Ashbarry

9:30am Thursday 9th December 2010

Gavin Ashbarry returns to The Radlett Centre for the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

A genie-us performance

Times Series: Craig Fletcher steps straight from RADA onto the Watford Palace stage

2:20pm Monday 6th December 2010

Craig Fletcher is Aladdin in Watford Palace Theatre’s pantomime for this Christmas. Melanie Dakin talks to the star of the show

‘He’s the epitome of freedom’

Times Series: Katy Ashworth will cook up a storm with Peter Pan

2:08pm Monday 6th December 2010

TV star Katy Ashworth is relishing her role as Peter Pan, says Melanie Dakin

‘I make a handsome dame’

Times Series: Hackney funnyman Geoff Aymer plays Harrow's pantomime Dame

2:34pm Monday 6th December 2010

Geoff Aymer talks to Melanie Dakin about putting on the wig

Cast of more than 250 tread the boards at Harpenden Public Halls

Times Series: The Hurst Children's Theatre Group is one of the largest in the land

2:34pm Thursday 7th January 2010

The Hurst Children’s Theatre Group is staging Aladdin and every member has a part to play, writes Melanie Dakin

Keeping with tradition

Times Series: Michael and Julie take the lead

4:36pm Wednesday 23rd December 2009

Snow White, at The Radlett Centre

Can you feel the frost?

Times Series: Big Wooden Horse sparkles at artsdepot

4:33pm Wednesday 23rd December 2009

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, at artsdepot, Finchley

Luxuriate in Lanternfish's Aladdin at The Maltings Arts Theatre

Times Series: Luxuriate in Lanternfish's Aladdin at The Maltings Arts Theatre

10:00am Wednesday 16th December 2009

Three performers stride through the sands of time to present a gem of a show with lots of Eastern promise

Not a celebrity in sight

Times Series: Michael Anderson plays the Prince and Julie Matheson stars as Snow White with cast members

3:16pm Wednesday 16th December 2009

The Radlett Centre is putting on a good old-fashioned panto, says Nick Elvin

Sarah-Jane Honeywell gives a little twist to The Little Mermaid

Times Series: While The Alban Arena entertains The Little Mermaid

12:56pm Friday 11th December 2009

Sarah Jane Honeywell chats to Rachel Wakefield about what’s in store for the audience in The Little Mermaid pantomime

Yo ho ho and a feisty parrot at The Abbey Theatre

Times Series: Yo ho ho and a feisty parrot at The Abbey Theatre

12:37pm Friday 11th December 2009

The Abbey Theatre in St Albans is staging an exciting adaptation of Treasure Island. Melanie Dakin talks to director David Stone

Brass and beauty for the Queen's Theatre's panto

Times Series: Starring: Elliot Harper, Chris MacDonnell and Sarah Scowen

10:40am Thursday 10th December 2009

Trumpet playing actress Sarah Scowen takes the lead in Sleeping Beauty

Keeping it in the family at the Kenneth More Theatre

Times Series: Snow White is played by Ellie Robertson

10:32am Thursday 10th December 2009

Brothers unite to get the mix right for Snow White, says Kate Sole

Chickenshed perform Pinocchio

Times Series: Gavin as Pinocchio with Michael Bossisse as Cricket

10:04am Thursday 10th December 2009

Gavin May chats to Kate Sole about his starring role as Pinocchio at the inclusive theatre

The magic of the genie

Times Series: Nathaniel Morrison

9:46am Thursday 10th December 2009

Nathaniel Morrison is overjoyed about starring in his first pantomime. He chats to Nick Elvin

'Allo 'Allo star Kim Hartman just loves to be wicked at The Watersmeet

Times Series: Kim Hartman is the wicked queen

11:39am Friday 4th December 2009

‘Allo ‘Allo's Helga Geerhart aka Kim Hartman is reprising her role as the wicked queen in Snow White, writes Melanie Dakin

Here's our pick of the pantos in Hertfordshire

Times Series: Snow White is at The Radlett Centre

12:18pm Friday 4th December 2009

Pantomime shows really capture the spirit of Christmas and booking in advance takes the stress out of the festive season for families, giving them another date to look forward to in the run up to the big day. Here are our choices from the Watford and St Albans districts and surrounding areas.

The heavyweight champion of pantomime Dames

Times Series: Clive Rowe as Aladdin

11:56am Thursday 3rd December 2009

Hackney Empire's award-winning dame, Clive Rowe, certainly acts the part, as Kate Sole discovers

CADOS present their nearly panto

Times Series: CADOS players

11:52am Thursday 3rd December 2009

Director Paul Warawi tells Kate Sole about the Chingford drama group's next show, The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew

Winning the glass slipper

Times Series: Danielle Black won the role of Cinderella

11:44am Thursday 3rd December 2009

Danielle Black won the role of Cinderella in this year's Harlow Playhouse pantomime. She chats to Kate Sole



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