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25 of the best pantomimes and Christmas shows in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 12:41 25 November 2019

Cast of Mother Goose, Milfield Theatre

Cast of Mother Goose, Milfield Theatre

Graham Bennett

Part of the magic of the season, a Christmas show is a special occasion no matter how old you are. Here are 25 of the best in Herts and surrounds this year

PANTO

- Sleeping Beauty

Watford, November 29-December 31

This take on a classic fairytale features a princess who dreams of travelling, a king from Watford and a guitar playing prince. Join Good Fairy Fender and Dame Nanny Fanny as they spread family magic and laughter in this time-travelling adventure at Watford Palace Theatre.

- Beauty & the Beast

Stevenage, November 29-January 26

This beastly panto has it all -baddies to boo, corny gags and a heroine in hot water, but of course there's a prince to save the day. Gordon Craig Theatre panto favourites Paul Laidlaw (Dame Derriere) and Aiden O'Neill (Potty Pierre) return to cause chaos. This production team won best panto under 750 seats at the Great British Panto Awards 2018.

- Sleeping Beauty

St Albans, December 6-January 5

Lots of audience participation is promised for this fun-packed family pantomime at Alban Arena. The cast includes a wonderfully wicked Rita Simons (EastEnders), Andy Day (CBeebies) and local legend Bob Golding. Watch out for the fire breathing dragon.

- Beauty & the Beast

Harpenden, December 7-30

This heart-warming love story of Belle, the headstrong village girl who enters a magic castle enchants people of all ages. The Harpenden Public Halls production promises spectacular scenery and special effects. The cast includes TOWIE's Ricky Rayment plus appearances by 'panto pooches'.

- Cinderella

Radlett, December 7-January 3

Follow Cinders on her rags to riches story. Yes, we know she will go to the ball but her journey at Radlett Centre will be filled with show stopping songs, dancing and hilarity. Marc Kelly returns as an ugly sister. Lots of audience participation at this one.

- Sleeping Beauty

Bishop's Stortford, December 7-January 5

This Rhodes Arts Complex panto puts a modern twist on the classic fairy tale. Packed with local talent, gags, live music, great choreography and a feisty heroine, it's staged by Ian McFarlane who has directed some of the UK's biggest pantos.

- Snow White

Welwyn, December 12-31

This Hawthorne Theatre show is full of festive silliness. Throw in the fairest of them all, a jealous stepmother (cue the boos), a handsome prince (cue the cheers) and seven lovable dwarfs and you have a panto that's fast, furious and fun.

- Peter Pan

Rickmansworth, December 12-January 5

Set sail for Neverland with this swashbuckling panto at Watersmeet Theatre with live music, fabulous costumes and plenty of laughs. EastEnders favourite Todd Carty is the villainous Captain Hook.

- Aladdin

Hoddesdon, December 13-31

Take a magical carpet ride with The Spotlight theatre's 'starriest panto yet.' Sam Callahan (X Factor) is Aladdin, Robert White (Britain's Got Talent) is Wishee Washee and Ian Parkin (4 Poofs and a Piano) plays Widow Twankey, plus there's the booming voice of Brian Blessed as the genie.

- Sleeping Beauty

Potters Bar, December 14-January 5

Wyllyotts Theatre promises amazing special effects, music and laughs as Chester the Jester searches for someone to laugh at his jokes and Dame Nellie Night Nurse tries to find a man in the front two rows. Luckily Prince Valiant is on hand to pay some attention to Sleeping Beauty.

- Peter Pan

Pendley, December 27-January 5

Take a trip to Neverland with great local talent rather than celebs at The Court Theatre. Boo and hiss at Captain Hook and his dastardly band of pirates and cheer on Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys as they dodge the baddies. Be prepared for fairy magic.

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CHRISTMAS SHOWS

- The Nutcracker

St Albans, November 23

It's really not Christmas without a trip to see The Nutcracker. Back by popular demand at Alban Arena, the Vienna Festival Ballet will dance to Tchaikovsky's unforgettable score. Follow Clara as her doll takes her on a magical adventure to the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets. A treat for all the family.

- The Snow Dragon

Hemel Hempstead, November 23

This Old Town Hall show is by Tall Stories, the company that brought The Gruffalo to the stage. Billy, a young goat, has everything he has ever wished for but he still eagerly awaits the snow dragon's visit on New Year's Eve, bringing even more goodies. But has he been naughty or nice? Songs, dances and laughs for little ones upwards.

- The Snow Queen

Hertford, November 30-January 1

Inspired by the hit movie Frozen, this new family Christmas show promises heart-lifting songs, foot stomping dances and a sledge load of fun at Hertford Theatre. Join Gerda on her icy adventures in search of her missing friend Kai.

- Santa Claus & The Night Before Christmas

Watford, December 3-24

It's Christmas Eve and children are busy putting out their stockings for Father Christmas. But some haven't - they don't believe. Help the cheeky elves Charlie and Kara as they help Santa prove he's real, with songs, nursery rhymes and magical stories. Including bubbles and a snowfall over the audience. Children receive presents as an added treat at this Watford Colosseum show.

- Star in a Jar

Hemel Hempstead, December 7

Based on the picture book by Sam Hay, this imaginative adaption uses rhymes, music and songs to bring the story to the The Old Town Hall stage. Follow a boy who finds a star and, you guessed it, puts it in a jar. When star misses home, he searches for a way to send it safely back. A magical tale celebrating kindness.

- Wind in the Willows

Letchworth, December 10-15

Take a trip to the riverbank at Broadway Theatre with this energetic adaption of a family classic. There's plenty of high jinks and songs as Mole, Ratty and Badger attempt to keep Toad out of trouble.

- The Railway Children

Welwyn GC, December 13-21

This story of three children taken from a prosperous Edwardian life to a humble one in northern England is still a delight a century after it was written. Follow Bobby, Phyllis and Peter at the Barn Theatre as they find fascination in the nearby railway, learn the value of community and help save lives along the way. But just who is the stranger on the 9.15 train?

- The Santa Show

Hertford, December 14-15, 17-19 & 21-24

Follow Santa and Jingleberry the Elf as they prepare the presents for Christmas in this colourful interactive show for two-six year olds at Hertford Theatre. Sing-a-long with Rudolph the rapping reindeer and Frosty the Singing Snowman. There's also the chance to meet the man in red after the show.

- George's Marvellous Medicine

St Albans, December 14-29

For an alternative Christmas show Company of Ten brings Roald Dahl's explosive tale to Abbey Theatre. George's appalling grandma (and lots of animals) start to feel funny after he concocts a brew like no other...

- Reindeer on the Roof

St Albans, December 21

It's Christmas morning and Darcey wakes to a stocking full of presents and a reindeer on the roof. Without Santa how will it ever get home? Join an epic adventure to Lapland at The Sandpit Theatre.

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BEST OVER BORDER

- Mother Goose

Enfield, November 28-January 4

Take a trip to Puddle Upon the Marsh and meet the Goose family as they embark on an adventure at Millfield Theatre. Along the way there's true love, an evil baddie and of course fairy magic.

- Aladdin

Milton Keynes, December 7-January 12

Jump aboard the magic carpet for a panto packed with fun at Milton Keynes Theatre. With West End star Lee Mead as Aladdin and comic Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee, it's got pedigree.

- Aladdin

Barnet, December 14-30

All the ingredients for a magical panto from a homegrown professional cast at The Bull Theatre. There's a villain, an exotic setting, a hero and of course an hilarious dame.

- Snow White

Cockfosters, December 27-January 11

This new version of the fairytale is set in the 1960s. A diverse cast of all ages, an original score and an inspiring message make this Chickenshed theatre panto like few others.

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