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Lyric Hammersmith via Facebook

Top 5 London Pantos 2018

22 November 2018 Billie Manning

Answering the important questions, like: which show throws the most Haribo into the crowd?

1. Aladdin – Hackney Empire
Possibly the most widely adored in all London, Hackney Empire’s panto is in its 20th year in 2018, and the special anniversary show is promising even bigger laughs, sparkles and general rompery than ever before. Written and directed once more by Susie McKenna, London's very own panto genie brought to life, this year will also see the return of legendary dame Clive Rowe as Widow Twankey, as well as Hackney Empire stars of the genre Tameka Empson and Kat B, larking about of course in the magical land of Ha-Ka-Ney. The Empire has only tried its dab hand at Aladdin once before, but we’re sure we won’t be let down by this uproarious classic. Oh, yes we are!

Image: Hackney Empire via Facebook

Aladdin, 24 November 2018 - 06 January 2019, Hackney Empire, Hackney
 
2. A Pair of Pantos
 Billed as a queer pantomime mash-up for all the family and for all families, 'A Pair of Pantos' brings panto's penchant for genderplay into the 21st century with a story about a gender non-binary Jack and his two dads, trying to figure out A. what pantomime they're in and B. how to defeat the nasty Rat King. A must for any queer families wanting to see themselves represented on stage this Christmastime.

Image: Canada Water Theatre via Facebook
 
A Pair of Pantos, 21 December 2018 - 22 December 2018, Canada Water Culture Space, Rotherhithe

 
3. Bongo and the Beanstalk
Have you ever been at the panto, laughing along and having a jolly old time, when you suddenly thought, what this performance really needs is BINGO? Then this is for you. For three nights only at Clapham Grand, two great British traditions will come together to create a truly unique version of Jack and the Beanstalk, as you've never experienced it before - with scorecards. Organised by bingo big-dogs Bongo Bingo (try saying that out loud: bingo big-dogs Bongo Bingo, bingo big-dogs Bongo Bingo), who are experts in making circling numbers on a piece of paper fun, this is one weird Christmas activity not to miss.

Bongo and the Beanstalk, 27 December 2018 - 29 December 2018, The Grand, Clapham Junction

 
4. Snow White
London Palladium is where you get all your star value at the panto. This year's show will feature Dawn French as the Wicked Queen, out to get Snow White at any cost, and Julian Clary will return for his third round as the show's dame, as well as a roster of other vaguely-knowns, including Strictly's very own Vincent and Flavia, who will be injecting some literal star turns into the production.

Image: Snow White at the London Palladium via Facebook

Snow White, 8 December 2018 - 13 January 2019, London Palladium, Soho
 
5. Dick Whittington
The much-loved tale of one of the erstwhile mayors of the city of London - and his cat, of course - gets the makeover treatment this year from Lyric Hammersmith, who make it their business to transform an old favourite into something fresh and new. This year it's director Jude Christian and comedian Cariad Lloyd stepping up to the plate to give Dick Whittington the old one-two. The result is apparently all-singing, all-dancing fun.

Image: Lyric Hammersmith via Facebook

Dick Whittington, 20 November - 6 January, Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith
 
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