Fabulous panto family funreturns (oh yes it does!)

A STRICTLY wicked pantomime is promised at The Hawth in Crawley, with Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood the big star as the Wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (December 10-January 2, 01293 553636).

Wednesday, 1st December 2010, 11:09 am

Craig has been as a judge on all eight series of the multi-award-winning Strictly Come Dancing which is watched by 12 million viewers each week.

Aladdin is appearing at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham.

The family pantomime this year is starring Anna Williamson from CITV’s Toonattik and Skillicious and Nickelodeon so why not join her for a magic-carpet ride of laughter, thrills, song and dance in an adventure that will blow the lid of your lamp!

The Capitol also has a show for the under-fives, a real Christmas treat intheStudio, from the writer of the internationally acclaimed children’s author Rod Campbell (famed for his Dear Zoo story) has written the stage premiere of his book Dear Santa (December 10-January 3 01403 750220).

Puss in Boots is being performed at the Archway Theatre, Horley.

The classic story of the Cat with the magical boots that give him the ability to help his master Colin, defeat the Ogre and his henchman Grim, in order to marry the beautiful Princess Malinda.

Her parents, King Bumble and Queen Bee, along with their hapless assistants, Wheeler and Dealer, make this a real traditional pantomime (Janury 7-22 01293 01293 781059).

Worthing will also be in full panto flow this Christmas where panto producer Paul Hammond is promising something both traditional and yet also including all the elements of today in the region’s third Aladdin of the season, at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre (December 9-January 2; 01903 206206).

Up the road at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre the offering will be Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs from December 3-31 (01903 206206). Playing the Wicked Queen will be Linda Nolan; playing Muddles will be Brookside star Philip Olivier in his second panto in as many years.

In between times, Philip, best known Timothy O‘Leary in the TV soap for seven years until 2003, has been touring the country in the Take That stage musical Never Forget.

Chichester once again resists the panto route this Christmas as festive shows open all around.

While soap stars and pop singers will be easing into their tights in almost all the region’s other venues, Chichester Festival Theatre maintains its Christmas tradition of handing over its main-house stage to the youngsters of its Youth Theatre.

Featuring a cast of 70, Alice In Wonderland runs from December 18-January 1, adapted for the stage by Adrian Mitchell, set to new music by Matthew Scott and directed by Dale Rooks (tickets on 01243 781312).

Elsewhere, it’s panto, panto pretty much everywhere, with some of them opening this week, including Sleeping Beauty at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (December 3-January 9; 01483 440000).

Boyzone’s Shane Lynch will star as Prince Charming, sharing the stage with children’s TV presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell, Olivier Award-winning Nichola McAuliffe, plus Royce Mills, Lloyd Hollett and Peter Gordon.

In Bognor Regis, East Wittering’s Mike Pannell continues his love affair with panto and with Bognor panto in particular.

Mike will be directing Aladdin And His Magical Lamp at the Bognor Alexandra Theatre from December 11-January 3 (tickets on 01243 861010). He will also be starring as the Emperor of China - Mike’s latest panto in Bognor and all part of Bognor’s great panto comeback.

After years without, Bognor has most definitely been with for the past four years. Aladdin is producer John Spillers’ fifth successive panto at the venue.

Britt Ekland leads the cast in Jack And The Beanstalk at Southsea’s Kings Theatre from December 8-January 2 (02392 828282) - a venue which fills her with awe.

She admits she just stood and gaped when she saw it for the first time.

“It’s a fantastic place,” says Britt, once so famously married to one of Portsmouth’s most famous sons, the Portsmouth-born comic actor Peter Sellers. Also in Portsmouth will be Groundlings Theatre Company’s staging of A Christmas Carol, appropriately enough in a building in which Charles Dickens was very nearly born.

It was in The Old Beneficial School, 42 Kent Street, which is now the theatre’s home, that Mrs D senior’s waters broke. Now the disturbances will be of a distinctly more spooky kind.

Directing the show will be Groundlings Theatre Company founder Richard Stride, their first Christmas show in their new venue.

The production is a dinner production with a two-course Christmas meal included in your ticket price. The show runs from December 7-January 2; tickets on 02392 737370.

Completing the Portsmouth festive line-up is Treasure Island at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth from December 8-January 1 in a new adaptation by Louise Page with lyrics by Christopher Hawes (023 9264 9000). Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic family adventure is promised with a contemporary local twist.

The Christmas show at the Theatre Royal Brighton this year is Cinderella (December 17-January 16). Following on from the successes of both The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan in recent years, an all singing and dancing cast of West End performers invite you to a Christmas Ball, with all the favourite Cinderella characters brought to life in a brand-new musical. Tickets on 0844 871 7627.

Still in Brighton, Rabbits, Ladders & Stars In Jars is the Christmas offering at the Komedia from December 20 to 31. Everybody knows that rabbits have hobbies. Some like to paint while others prefer jigsaw puzzles, but Nelson? Well, his hobby is stargazing and with the help of his best friend Cecilia, a wise old spider, he attempts to walk to the stars (01273 647100).