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Pantomimes and Christmas shows - it's fun for all during the festive season in and around St Albans
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.
Bought 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-January 1 at various times. Details: 01727 844488, www.alban-arena.co.uk
Blue Peter veteran Peter Purves is coming to Harpenden this Christmas to star in Dick Whittington, alongside CBeebies’ Cerrie Burnell.
Featuring fantastic songs, a fabulous live band, sumptuous sets, sensational costumes, the corniest of jokes and bags of audience participation, Dick Whittington is the perfect way to kickstart your festive season!
- Harpenden Public Halls, Station Road, St Albans. December 15-22 at various times. Details: 01582 767 525, www.harpendenpublichalls.co.uk
The Snow Queen
Come with us on a journey to the Land of Winter... and back again.
Fresh from their successful festival run, Foot in the Door return to St Albans with a beautiful retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale The Snow Queen.
Kai has been stolen away by the wicked Snow Queen and the only one who can save him is Gerda, a little girl with a big heart. This fabulous spectacle serves up an exciting feast of dance, animation and traditional storytelling that will appeal to adults and children alike.
- Maltings Arts Theatre, Level 2, The Maltings, St Albans. January 3, 4 and 6 at 6pm and January 5 at 1pm and 5pm. Details: 0844 8700 887
This Christmas the award-winning Horse + Bamboo Theatre presents the classic tale of The Nightingale, based on the beautiful children’s book by Hans Christian Andersen.
Imagine you could have anything you wanted – and the best that money can buy. Unfortunately for the little king, he already has that and still feels that something is missing. That is until he is enchanted by the most beautiful sound in the world and finds friendship in the most unexpected place. This is a sweet and beautiful show for the whole family.
- Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans. December 21-23 at various times. Details: 01727 850950, www.trestle.org.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
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 taste of upcoming productions, mixed with some seasonal music and fun.
- The Pump House, Local Board Road, Watford. December 13-22. Factor X runs from December 7-8. Details: 01923 772320
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.
Tickets are selling fast – and look set to break new sales records – so book early to avoid disappointment.
- Watersmeet, High Street, Rickmansworth. December 7-31. 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, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett. December 8-31. Details: 01923 859291, www.radlettcentre.co.uk