Shows and events
Matthew Pearson

London Pantomime Season 2019: A Guide

Our guide to London Pantomime Season 2019. Whether you're entertaining some under 5s, some over 65s or just little old you, you shouldn't look too far beyond pantomimes this wintertime. If you like slapstick, thigh slapping or (quite light) satire. If you're into big shows with pyrotechnics or little theatre runs with a community feel. Whether you need your stages filled with stars or your stories told by locals, your costumes big and gaudy, it's just big and gaudy, I'm afraid. But pretty much however you like your entertainment, there'll be something for you during London Pantomime Season 2019. So, here's our guide to what's what, where's where and who's who, including...

  • A big name cast at the Palladium
  • Two Dick Whittington’s looking for fame and fortune in the East End
  • Jo Brand playing a Wicked Queen
  • A big fairytale mashup at Battersea Arts Centre
  • And much, much more.

1. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium

If last year’s Snow White is anything to go by, the Palladium’s 2019 panto will be a visual feast, filled with spectacular stunts and impressive special effects. We already know they’ve got the big name cast, with Matt Baker (the nice guy off The One Show), Paul O’Grady (host of the Blind Date reboot and the Paul O’Grady Show) and Julian Clary (...Julian Clary) headlining. The plot sees Goldilocks as the daughter of a struggling circus owner as they battle to rescue their beloved show from ruin. Circus and pantomime are smashed together, with the perilousness of the former and the silliness of the latter making for an unforgettable spectacle.

Go if you like...

Big name stars, big money productions and big stunts under the big top. If you like big things, really, this should be your starting point this London pantomime season. Dates and tickets: 7 December - 12 January. Tickets start at £22.50. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5827" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

2. Elf: The Christmas Spectacular, SSE Arena Wembley

As you’ll hear again and again if you click on the video link’s the story of Buddy the Elf. Based on the hit Will Ferrel Movie, Elf isn’t strictly a pantomime. But if we’re going to start getting strict about what constitutes a pantomime during London pantomime season, then all hope is lost. It’s an all-singing, all-dancing, slapstick and heartwarming musical. This is a large scale production that’s hitting up a few locations across the UK, before settling at The SSE Arena, Wembley for five nights in the run up to the big day. The lead is played with Ferrel-like exuberance by comic actor Tam Ryan, supported by Shaun ‘Barry from Eastenders’ Williamson and Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh. We reckon Elf is going to be a stalwart of London pantomime season from now on.

Go if you like...

Elves. Elf. Barry from Eastenders. Singalong, dancing in the aisles festive fun. Dates and tickets: 21 December - 23 December. Tickets start at £39.50. For more details and to book, click HERE.

3. Dick Whittington and His Cat, Hackney Empire

A topical take on the traditional rags-to-riches story, Dick Whittington and His Cat looks set to continue Hackney Empire’s pantomime hot streak. A hot streak that’s lasted around 20 years now. The best dame in London pantomime is back, with Clive Rowe taking part in the Hackney show for the 13th year in a row, and the lead is played by Tarinn Callender, a member of the original West End Hamilton cast. The plot sees a young Dick Whittington board the Windrush boat in Jamaica, destined for a new life on the golf-paved streets of London. Expect satirical twists on pantomime traditions, big baddies and big laughs.

Go if you like...

Contemporary twists, beautiful staging, award-winning pantomime dames and your pantos with some politics. And if you like the Hackney Empire, one of London's great local theatres. Dates and tickets: 23 November - 5 January. Tickets between £10 and £38. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5828" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

Matthew Pearson for London Pass[/caption]

4. Dick Whittington, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Another Dick Whittington in East London? Yes please. Stratford’s Whittington is set to be a magical experience, with original songs, belly laughs and maybe even a little snow. They recommend that those with kids five and under sit in the Stalls or Dress Circle. If you’re coming with a child who’s two and under, you can pay a quid for a lap seat.

Go if you like...

Family friendly fun with tickets starting at a tenner. Dates and tickets: 23 November - 11 January. Tickets between £10 and £41. For more details and to book, click HERE.

5. Cinderella, Lyric Hammersmith

The Godmother of all pantos, Cinderella is given a 21st Century dusting off at the Lyric in Hammersmith. Expect big pop song singalongs, jokes only the over 16s should understand and a clashing of progressiveness and trad charm that will live long in the memory.

Go if you like...

Your pantos with modern clothes, old school cheekiness meets new school right-onnery. Dates and tickets: 16 November - 5 January. Tickets between £10 and £46. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5829" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Richmond Theatre

If you’ve seen the promotional poster of Jo Brand as the The Wicked Queen (it's below), it’s quite possible you’ve bought tickets to this already. Her knowing smirk right down the barrel was all we needed to get on board. Richmond Theatre are keeping things charmingly trad with this one, so expect song and dance numbers that explode around the stage, tons of audience participation and smiles on the faces of all the family.

Go if you like...

Trad tales told well, heartening stories of triumph over a wicked, scene-stealing Jo Brand. Dates and tickets: 7 December - 5 January. Tickets from £12. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5830" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

7. Sleeping Beauty, Greenwich Theatre

Wow. There’s little chance of sleeping through this one. Andrew Pollard’s Sleeping Beauty holds nothing back. It’s a time-travelling, genre-smashing, country-hopping extravaganza of silliness, subversion, superb costumery, wonderful sets and pop song singalongs. Designed to celebrate the festive period and the theatre’s 50th anniversary, expect plenty of references to epoch defining events that took place in 1969. Can you think of anything? Houston, I repeat, can you think of anything?

Go if you like...

Pantomimes that take you to space and back. Dates and tickets: 22 November - 12 January. Child tickets from £15.50, adult from £30. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5831" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

8. Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers, Battersea Arts Centre

Do not adjust your screens. We repeat, do not adjust your screens. Just an innocent bit of form-breaking going on here, from panto convention-flippers The Sleeping Trees. Like a kids fairytale book with pages cut out, chopped and changed by the hands of an excitable young renegade, Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers is a mash up of all your favourite stories. Set to an original score, it’s a madcap, raucous adventure with real, proper, actual, genuine jokes littered all over it.

Go if you like...

Stories, festive franchise crossovers, laughing. Dates and tickets: 30 November - 31 December. Tickets from £10 to £24. For more details and to book, click HERE.

9. The Nativity Panto: A Not-So-Silent Night, The King’s Head Theatre

Cherished London pub theatre venue The King’s Head is putting on a panto this year. It’s coming courtesy of the Charles Court Opera group, who are promising an irreverent take on the nativity story. There’ll be plenty of punning, many magical musical numbers and fresh takes on the story of the world’s first Christmas. They’re putting on Family Matinees and Adults Only (16+) evening performances. Hope the actors don’t forget which one they’re meant to be doing.

Go if you like...

Puns in pubs, the nativity story told in a way you won’t have seen before. Going to adults only pantos. Going to families only pantos. Dates and tickets: 29 November - 11 January. Tickets £16. At Family Matinees, under 5s go free (on laps) and it’s £10 for ten and unders. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5832" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

10. Cinderella: The Rockin’ Panto, artsdepot

And you thought panto couldn’t get any cooler. Well, deal with this. This rockin’ panto features a cast of exceptionally talented actor-musician-singers who take the story of Cinderella through the history 20th and 21st Century pop and rock. Expect plenty of big singalong moments, from Get Lucky to Price Tag, from Rock Around the Clock to It’s Raining Men. This is the kind of show that unites generations through song, silliness and super storytelling.

Go if you like...

New pop songs, old rock songs, traditional stories and modern sensibilities. Actors who can play musicians and really get the crowd going. Dates and tickets: 30 November - 5 January. Tickets from £18. For more details and to book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5833" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption] So there we have it. Our guide to London pantomime season 2019. It's a big one. You've got options. And remember, pantos are never, ever, ever just for kids. Except the ones that state that they are explicitly for kids and their families. If you want to go to one of those, rent your nephew for the afternoon. He'll appreciate it. Be sure to let us know which festive spectacular you plump for. And if you have any suggestions for once we might have missed, let us know in the comments below. If you're looking for more things to watch this winter, have a look over this way.

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