Panto News: February 2017
Reporter: Simon Sladen
Dateline: 26th February, 2017
Panto Season 2017
And so to 2017, and a new era in the history of pantomime. Once more Qdos lead the field with no immediate competitors, just as back in the day Paul Elliott reigned Pantoland supreme from his New Wimbledon theatre office.
It's of no real surprise that Grant Stott, Allan Stewart and Andy Gray will appear in Edinburgh for another season, this time as Wicked Stepmother, Fairy Godmother and Buttons, whilst Matt Slack takes on the role of Cinderella's best friend in Birmingham, where he's become the Hippodrome's regular Comic.
Danny Webb, Clive Adams and Chris Hayward re-unite for another year of pantomime fun at the Theatre Royal Newcastle in their first Peter Pan and Qdos staple Brian Conley headlines Qdos's new reign in Milton Keynes as Buttons in Cinderella.
At the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Craig Revel Horwood hangs up his hook and returns to the role of Wicked Queen in Snow White, whilst in High Wycombe Ashleigh and Pudsey star in Jack and the Beanstalk after a successful season last year in Northampton.
But it's not just Qdos who are announcing their regulars back for another season. To celebrate a decade of Daming in Sheffield, Damian Williams will star in Evolution Pantomimes's first ever Mother Goose, whilst fellow Dame Brad Fitt returns to Shrewsbury in Snow White and Ben Roddy takes up the role of Mrs Smee in Canterbury alongside Lloyd Hollett as Starkey. Having enjoyed a successful season last year in Sleeping Beauty, it has also been announced that Sam Rabone and Ben Thornton will return to the Garrick Theatre, Lichfield to play Widow Twankey and Wishee Wishee in Aladdin.
Regulars William Caulfield and Steve Royle return to the Millennium Forum, Londonderry and Blackpool Grand Theatre as Dame Trot and Buttons, whilst in Reading, Justin Fletcher returns for his sixth year as Comic at the Hexagon, this time as Mr Smee.
Snow White comes to Sevenoaks for the first time under Those Magic Beans with Jasette Amos taking on the role of the Wicked Queen and in York, Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass are reunited for another festive season of silliness in Jack and the Beanstalk.
2017 will see Newcastle welcome a new pantomime to the city when Denise Welch plays Mother Nature in the Pantodrome's Jack and the Beanstalk, set to be erected in Times Square and it's all change for the Grove Theatre, Dunstable and Watersmeet Theatre, Rickmansworth who say goodbye to their old producers and hello to new producers Evolution Pantomimes and Jordan Productions.
Some venues have also announced new titles for the season ahead, including local legend The Lambton Worm for the Customs House, South Shields and Rapunzel for the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.
The Hackney Empire is set to produce Cinderella, as is Greenwich Theatre, whilst the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith gets set to present its third Jack and the Beanstalk since the venue's pantomime reboot.
Those Magic Beans will present their first pantomime at the York Barbican, with Robin Hood also being the title of choice for Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Qdos's take-over season in Woking.
But, if you can't wait until Christmas, don't forget we have the Easter season to look forward to, where tales of The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Treasure Island and The Wizard of Oz will tour the country.
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