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London Panto

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
If, when you attend the theatre, you have to keep your hand over your mouth to stop yourself from shouting out warnings or advice to the actors on stage, then you need not stifle yourself much longer: Panto-time is afoot. When the princes are inevitably charming, the dames would have their gender tested by the International Athletics Association and it's open season on any villain trying to creep up behind anyone else on stage.

If Pantomime, in its modern form, complete with dames played by men, counter balanced with romantic male leads played by girls, mild innuendo and audience participation in all its glory, has a birthplace it's most certainly London's West End. But that doesn't mean that that's the only place to see a panto this Christmas season. There are so many around that if you're a singer or a dancer and you're not in work over Christmas then you really can't be a very good singer or dancer.

There are two ways to pick a panto or two for 2010: By story, come on, everyone has their favourite from childhood; or for the calibre of the celebrity cast members.

Top Picks for Classic Storylines:

Cinderella at the Greenwich Theatre
Poor old Cinders is desperate to go to the ball and meet the Prince of her dreams, but those mean, old, Ugly sisters are having none of it. Loving and loveable Buttons does his best to cheer her up but its not enough. Little did she know she has a Fairy Godmother, who might be able to put a different spin on Cinder's quest for dancing, big dresses and maybe more.
25 November 2010 to 9 January 2011

Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Lyric Hammersmith
The streets of London, more specifically Hammersmith, are paved with gold to Dick and his puss, who come to London to make their fortunes and run into the King Rat, and more importantly Alderman Fitzwarren's beautiful daughter Alice. There couldn't be a more traditional London tale than this there really was a Richard Whittington, move over Boris, he was the mayor of London, and he really did marry Alice Fitzwarren. The cat appears to be poetic license, or an error in the history books.
27 November 2010 to 8 January 2011

Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire
The harp sings, the hen is gold and, in this case, Buttercup the cow break dances. Jack is a panto classic providing the opportunity for two men to don a cow suit, another to don a dress, and the creation of some suitably dinky giant special effects.
From 27th November 2010 - 9th January 2011

Peter Pan at the New Wimbledon Theatre
In Peter Pan it's the lady's turn to drag up then pretty Pete's ready to take Wendy, John and Michael on a swashbuckling adventure which allows you to shout "He's behind you" to your hearts content, as Pete fights Hook and Hook grapples with the croc.
Runs from 10th December 2010 - 16th January 2011.

Best For Celebrity Cast:
[Remember the dodgier the better so if you don't know who it is then don't worry, it doesn't mean you've been living under a rock.]

Louie Spence will be a pirate in the New Wimbledon's Peter Pan, the Shaw Theatre's Snow White features Madeline Duggan 'Lauren Branning from EastEnders' as Snow White, someone from Gladiators as the Wicked Queen's Henchman, Danny Rhodes 'Grease is the Word Semi-Finalist' as the Prince and Nicole Faraday from Casualty as the Wicked Queen. But this year the winner has to be a panto production of Aladdin in Liverpool which has attracted Pamela Anderson to play the genie, Les Dennis AND The Fonze.
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Why? Good, old fashioned, slightly naughty fun.
Cost: From 10
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