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Traditional pantomimes and ones with a modern twist - George Nott rounds up the best Christmas shows in and around Watford
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, from December 7 to 29. Details: 01923 225671, www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk
Charged with bringing nautical naughtiness to this year’s family pantomime will be down to one of the nation’s favourite bad guys as he takes on the captaincy of Hook in the spectacular adventures of Peter Pan at Watersmeet this Christmas.
Chris Ellison is known to millions as Detective Chief Inspector Frank Burnside from the popular ITV series The Bill.
No stranger to playing villains, Chris’s career has seen him play hard men and corrupt cops from the early days of The Sweeney, The Professionals and Minder through to Judge John Deed and EastEnders.
- Watersmeet from December 7 to 31. Details: 01923 711 063, www.watersmeet.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 from December 8 to 31. Details: 01923 859291, www.radlettcentre.co.uk
Panto-Monium The A-Z of Pantomimes and Factor X
Blag Theatre Company present a roller coaster evening of sheer delight. Join Blag as they unearth (in alphabetic order) every trick of the trade, every trip of the Dame, every word of the songsheet in just two hours. Is it fun? Is it for the whole family? Is it the best entertainment to get you in the mood for Christmas? Oh yes it is!
In Factor X the Pump House Children’s Theatre brings you a night of improvisation games, festive sketches plus a taster of upcoming productions, mixed with some seasonal music and fun.
- Panto-Monium is on at The Pump House from December 13 to 22. Factor X runs from December 7 to 8. Details: 01923 772320
This Christmas, take a magical carpet ride to the Far East with Aladdin at the Alban Arena.
After his fantastic performance in Snow White last year, Phil Gallagher returns to the Arena as Mister Maker, and will be joined on stage by Shaun Williamson, best known as Barry in EastEnders, Jemma Carlisle, who delighted as Snow White last year, and the charming and witty Bob Golding.
Brought to you by regulars Evolution, there will be hilarity, singing, dancing, stunning sets, dazzling costumes and a top-quality West End cast.
- The Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans. December 9 - Jan 1 at various times. Details: 01727 844488, www.alban-arena.co.uk
A Christmas Carol
Critically acclaimed theatre company The Pantaloons is coming to Shenley Park Chapel with its hilarious, fast-paced adaptation of Dickens’s festive favourite A Christmas Carol.
With a cast of just four actors, this production is sure to put a smile on the glummest face (even Scrooge’s), using audience interaction, puppetry, slapstick, original music and traditional carols.
- Shenley Park Chapel, Shenley Park. Sunday, December 9 at 2pm and 6pm. Details: 01923 852 629,