The busiest panto season in years kicks off tonight (Thursday) as the Key Theatre stages the first of 60 performances of Sleeping Beauty.
Simon Egerton, a familiar figure at the Key at this time of year, is back as the director, writer, composer and lyricist.
Rob Hazle also returns as the musical director and plays the part of Potty the Chamberlain, following his role as Uncle Billy in Dick Whittington last year.
The main lady in this year’s pantomime, Aurora, is being played by Rebecca Levy who has previously been on stage in Legally Blonde, Kiss me Kate and First Lady Suite.
Carabosse, Aurora’s worst nightmare and the evil witch that cursed her is being played by Lauren Storer, fresh from appearing in the national tour of Footloose .
Lizzie Franks and Katie Pritchard also return. Lizzie played Fairy Liquid in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2015 while Katie was on stage at the Key Theatre in 2013 as the pocket-sized Dandini in Cinderella.
Pantomime isn’t a pantomime without a dame and this year it is played by the man of countless faces – Fred Broom. He will be donning the many frocks of Aurora’s mother, Queen Iona Trumpet.
Show details at www.vivacity-peterborough.com.
The Cresset opens its season two days later, December 9, with a three-week run of Snow White.
Former soap star Kevin Kennedy , best known as Curly Watts in Coronation Street for 20 years, stars as Muddles.
“Resident” dame Zach Vanderfelt – returns as Betty Bonbon, while Victoria Jane – who impressed as Wendy in last year’s panto Peter Pan- plays Snow White.
Show details at www.cresset.co.uk
And adding to the mix this year, The Broadway has Aladdin from December 14 to 31.
KD Theatre Productions will be taking audiences on a magical carpet ride all the way to Old Peking.
Starring as the title character is Andrew Cannon, who comes to the production from a run in “Imagine This” at the Union Theatre, London. Mark Hyde, a seasoned panto maestro is Widow Twankey.
Ben Cupit is Wishee Washee, and Oliver Broad is the villainous Abanazar.
The show promises spectacular sets, lavish costumes, a live band, and an amazing flying carpet. Youngsters from Tu Danse Studios in Peterborough will be joining the professional cast as the junior chorus.
Show details at www.the broadway.today
Polka Dot Pantomimes present a magical children’s classic Aladdin at the South Holland Centre in Spalding from Saturday until December 31. It is full of high energy dance routines, glittering costumes, spectacular scenery, and a great big dollop of audience participation.
Stamford Corn Exchange welcomes the Stamford Pantomime Players with Beauty and the Beast from December 27-January 1. Before then, on Sunday, there is Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps.
The Stahl Theatre’s festive offering in Oundle is A Very Christmassy Christmas Concert at Christmas performed by Telling Tales Theatre Company on December 22 and 23 at 3.30pm and 6.30pm. It is a fantastic variety show that’s sure to get everyone in the family ready for the holidays. Join Simon Aylin and a host of West End performers for a concert packed with cracking songs and plenty of laughter.
To book tickets, please visit: www.tellingtalestheatre.com