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Best pantomimes to watch this Christmas 2019

What are the fairest pantos in all the land?

Clive Rowe, Tarinn Callender and Annette McLaughlin
© mrperou

Every year we pick some of the wackiest, zaniest and most eye-catching pantos from across the land – here's what we've put on our top ten in 2019. Here are a few that promise to be a real Christmas treat. For all our dedicated festive coverage, head to our Christmas and pantomime page.



1. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Matt Baker
© Image 1st

The crown jewel of the panto season, The London Palladium spectacular has become an essential part of many theatregoers' calendars in recent years, even winning an Olivier Award. This time around Paul O'Grady and Julian Clary return, joined by The One Show's Matt Baker. Heathers' Sophie Isaacs takes on the titular role. The London Palladium, 7 December to 12 January


2. Sleeping Beauty

An essential part of any panto is the music, and we fully intend to ROCK OUT this festive season with a raft of rock 'n' roll pantos on offer. One of the most consistently brilliant is the Liverpool Everyman's show, which this year is Sleeping Beauty, but we expect it will be anything but a snooze fest. Plus the tagline is "Bohemian Napsody", which is inspired. Liverpool Everyman, 23 November to 18 January


3. Jack and the Beanstalk

Another rock 'n' roll panto with a solid track record is Clwyd's show in Mold. Every year sees a brand new script by Christian Patterson, so it always feels fresh, current and full of top-tier gags. Last panto season the theatre's artistic director even had to take to the stage to perform, so who knows what might happen this time! Theatr Clwyd, 22 November to 18 January 2020


4. Jack and the Beanstalk

Did we put Glasgow's show on here purely because Elaine C Smith is an absolute panto legend? Maybe. The annual festive treat returns with Smith at the helm once more, alongside Johnny Mac and Jonathan Watson. King's Theatre Glasgow, 30 November to 5 January


5. Dick Whittington

One of the biggest pantos in the capital, Stratford East always delivers top-notch production values alongside pertinent scripts and dazzling visuals. This year we expect it to be just as much fun – Robert Hyman is back penning new tunes for the evening. Theatre Royal Stratford East, 23 November to 11 January 2020


6. Cinderella

Timmika Ramsay
© Helen Maybanks

The Lyric Hammersmith panto has become a stalwart of the panto season recently, with Jude Christian having an ear for easily accessibly gags and exceptionally witty skits and sequences. This year Tinuke Craig directs, with a star-studded cast featuring Shobna Gulati, Jodie Jacobs and Lauren Samuels. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 16 November to 5 January


7. Sleeping Beauty

The Nottingham Playhouse has a panto vet returning every festive season in the form of Kenneth Alan Taylor, now on his 36th year at the venue. With a wealth of experience behind him we know it's going to be a rollicking evening. Nottingham Playhouse, 22 November to 11 January 2020


8. Cinderella

Musical theatre star Evelyn Hoskins takes on the lead role in Sheffield's panto, which also stars Joanne Clifton as the fairy. So expect some big tunes to go along with the big dollops of festive cheer. Sheffield Theatres, 6 December to 5 January 2020


9. The Nativity Panto

The Charles Court Opera company consistently create bawdy, original and side-splitting pantomimes, and return to their stomping ground at north London's King's Head for their new show intriguingly titled The Nativity Panto, which seems to mash up panto and the New Testament in what should be a fun riff on well-worn traditions. King's Head Theatre, 29 November to 11 January 2020


10. Dick Whittington

Clive Rowe, Tarinn Callender and Annette McLaughlin
© mrperou

Hackney Empire has assembled a cracking roster of stars for this year's panto, including Hamilton's Tarinn Callender, Annette McLaughlin, Christina Tedders and Sue Kelvin alongside returning favourites Kat B, Clive Rowe and Tony Whittle. Panto connoisseur Susie McKenna oversees the show, which places the Dick Whittington tale in Jamaica as the young Dick boards the Empire Windrush. Hackney Empire, 23 November to 5 January 2020


We also did a round-up of all the Cinderellas going on across the UK, including shows in Waterloo, Croydon and Southwark – have a look here

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