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17 fabulous pantomimes to see in London for Christmas 2021 including Hex at the National Theatre

Jonny Yates October 18, 2021
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Richard Cawley (left) and Richard Westcott are the 'Ugly Sisters' in a production of a Cinderella pantomime at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings. (Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images)

Audiences flock to theatres every Christmas to watch classic pantomimes. (Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images)

Pantomime season is just around the corner – oh yes it is – and the West End calendar is looking very colourful.

Christmas isn’t complete without taking a trip to the theatre to see a festive show filled with panto dames, puns and feel-good songs.

This year there are plenty of pantomimes to get tickets for, from classic fairytales Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to modern versions featuring all-drag casts.

We’ve put together a list of 17 fabulous pantomimes you can check out in London this festive season.

1. Cinderella

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella is extending its West End run to May 2022.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella is extending its West End run to May 2022. (Tristram Kenton)

Where: Gillian Lynne Theatre

When: now until 13 February

Tickets: LW Theatres

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella is set in the picturesque Belleville but the only person refusing to live in the fairy tale is the loud-mouthed and dripping with disdain Cinderella, in a new retelling of the classic story.

The musical features an original story from Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell and stars Carrie Hope Fletcher in the lead role.

2. The Queen of Hearts

Where: Greenwich Theatre

When: 19 November until 2 January

Tickets: Official website

The Queen of Hearts will mark the return of pantomime at the Greenwich Theatre. It follows the Knave of Hearts, a bit of a joker who’s in love with the Princess of Diamonds. The only problem is, she’s already got a boyfriend – the Prince of Spades. Maybe the Queen’’s secret jam recipe will win her over? But then there’s the King of Clubs who’s also desperate to get his hands on the secret recipe…

3. The Snowman

Where: The Peacock Theatre

When: 20 November until 2 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

This classic show has been entertaining audiences for more than 20 years. It’s the stage adaption of the much-loved book by Raymond Briggs and transports people into the wintery wonderland of a boy and a snowman that comes to life.

4. Jack and the Beanstalk

Where: Hackney Empire

When: 20 November until 2 January

Tickets: Official website

For 2021, the Hackney Empire will welcome back Grande Dame, Clive Rowe for his 14th pantomime appearance to star as Dame Daisy Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk. The classic story follows happy-go-lucky Jack, who is tempted to sell his family’s beloved cow for a bag full of magic beans when a “giant” adventure ensues.

5. EverAfter – A Mixed Up Fairytale!

Where: Chickenshed

When: 24 November until 8 January

Tickets: Official website

Described as a “dazzling and unforgettable theatrical journey”, this panto follows Hansel and Gretel who are left to fend for themselves in the Wild Woods. A series of events is set in motion, taking the two children on a journey through some of our best loved fairytales.

6. Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale

Where: The Broadway

When: 25 November until 1 January

Tickets: Official website

This festive extravaganza about the lonely Princess with the super hair trapped in a tower but longing for a life of adventure in the outside world will keep audiences of all ages amused, entertained and enthralled.

7. A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story

Where: Alexandra Palace Theatre

When: 26 November until 9 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

Mark Gatiss leads an ensemble cast, in his own retelling of Dickens’ classic winter ghost story, filled with Dickensian, spine-tingling special effects for a spooky festive show.

8. Beowulf: An Epic Panto

Where: King’s Head Theatre

When: 26 November until 8 January

Tickets: Official website

Charles Court Opera’s legendary boutique panto returns. This famous early medieval epic tale gets a wickedly entertaining CCO makeover in a fiery adventure like no other. Audiences can join Beowulf, Grendel and more alongside mammoth musical numbers.

9. Red Riding Hood

Where: Theatre Royal Stratford East

When: 27 November until 31 December

Tickets: Official website

See the classic fairytale like never before as the Stratford East are known for “turning classic stories on their head and making them relevant” for the local community and beyond. You can expect show-stopping songs, thigh-slapping gags and amazing sets and costumes.

10. A Christmas Carol

Where: New Wimbledon Theatre Studio

When: 29 November until 4 December

Tickets: ATGTickets.com

Another version of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol that you can check out this festive season is this one at New Wimbledon Theatre. With the rest of the cast stuck on a train, actress Frances Ternan and Dickens’ faithful tour manager George Dolby take on the daunting challenge of portraying over 30 characters. But, who will play Scrooge?

11. Pantoland at The Palladium

Gay comedian Julian Clary. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Gay comedian Julian Clary. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Where: London Palladium

When: 4 December to 9 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

Stars of stage and pantos past come together in a show that celebrates pantomime tradition and new numbers. Donny Osmond and Julian Clary are at the helm to take you on a magical Christmas adventure to Pantoland, alongside panto favourites Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot with West End sensations Jac Yarrow and Sophie Isaacs.

12. Hex

Where: Olivier Theatre, National Theatre

When: 4 December until 22 January

Tickets: Official website

This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is described as a “mythic, big-hearted musical that goes beyond the waking kiss”. It’s the true story of the “bad fairy”, played by Rosalie Craig. When she is summoned to the palace to help the princess sleep, her dream turns into a nightmare and her blessing becomes a curse.

13. Dick Whittington

Drag Race UK star Cheryl Hole will play the title character in the drag Dick Whittington.
Drag Race UK star Cheryl Hole will play the title character in the drag Dick Whittington. (Santiago Felipe/Getty)

Where: Phoenix Theatre

When: 5 December until 9 January

Tickets: ATGTickets.com

Drag Race UK stars are among the cast of the all-drag reimagining of Dick Whittington. The show will star Cheryl Hole, Choriza May and Kitty Scott Claus alongside Holly Stars, Beau Jangles, Yshee Black and Ophelia Love for a limited run at the Phoenix Theatre.

14. Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!

Where: Sadler’s Wells

When: 7 December until 30 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

Nutcracker! follows Clara’s bittersweet journey from a darkly comic Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross’ Orphanage, through a shimmering, ice-skating winter wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland.

15. Cratchit

Where: Park Theatre

When: 7 December until 8 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

Yet another reimagining of the Dickens’ classic is the world premiere of Cratchit at Park Theatre. The story is set on a bitterly cold winter in London Town, and as it turns out, Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t the only person to be visited by spirits one bleak and haunted Christmas Eve. Bob Cratchit is taken on a time-bending journey through Christmas future.

16. Aladdin

Where: Lyric Hammersmith

When: 13 December until 2 January

Tickets: London Theatre Direct

Aladdin is flying into the Lyric Hammersmith for a new pantomime production and gives fans a chance to see the beloved tale live after Disney’s West End version closed. It will feature live music, magic lamps, plenty of laughs and a journey to a far away land.

17. The Wizard of Oz

Where: Wembley Arena

When: 30 December

Tickets: Ticketmaster 

One of the biggest pantos this year is the new production of The Wizard of Oz. It will be performed on the world’s biggest panto stages as well as the Yellow Brick Road, which will unfold before audiences. It stars The Chase’s Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan and Matt Baker as the good witch Glinda and the Wizard. This one is also touring across the UK, with dates in Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow and Nottingham.

Related topics: pantomime, shopping, tickets, West End

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