Mirror Mirror on the wall, what’s the best Christmas show of them all?
With so many festive offerings heading this way it’s almost impossible to choose between the Peter Pans, Beauty and the Beasts, Aladdins, Cinderellas, Snow Whites, and not forgetting Jack and the Beanstalk – plus all the seasonal shows that don’t fit in to the traditional panto mould.
This year these include a very Scouse Cinders at the Royal Court, A Christmas Carol with a difference at the Playhouse, and plenty of Spirit of Christmas at the Philharmonic Hall.
Add in a host of alternative Christmas offerings and there’s no excuse not to enjoy the theatrical sparkle.
Here’s a run down of what you can see where between now and the New Year. Oh yes you can!
The Scouse Cinderella – Royal Court Liverpool
November 23 to January 19
After the roaring success of its Liverpool Nativity, the Royal Court is swapping the greatest story ever told for the best-loved fairytale of them all.
It’s Cinderella. But given a Merseyside makeover by writer/producer Kevin Fearon and the team.
In the Royal Court’s words: “We’ve got a biff called Buttons, a Prince with a foot fetish and a pumpkin that turns into a Delta. There will be minging sisters, a lairy fairy and probably some dwarves who’ve got lost.”
Royal Court regulars Paul Duckworth, Michael Fletcher, Stephen Fletcher, Lindzi Germain, Andrew Schofield, Hayley Sheen and Keddy Sutton make up the cast.
The Snow Queen – Liverpool Everyman
November 24 to January 19
The near-legendary Liverpool Everyman rock ‘n’ roll panto makes a hotly (or should that be coolly?) anticipated return to the Hope Street venue, with this year’s show telling the story of the Snow Queen in typical Everyman fashion.
Rock ‘n’ roll regulars Adam Keast and Francis Tucker are joined by a cast that includes Barbara Hockaday, Greg Last, Lucy Thatcher and Danny Burns, while the show is penned as usual by husband and wife team Mark Chatterton and Sarah A Nixon.
Read a review HERE
Beauty and the Beast – Unity Theatre
November 30 to January 5
The Unity teams up once more with Action Transport Theatre to present a magical telling of a favourite tale – this year one that’s as old as time.
The Hope Place venue’s 2018 festive offering is also produced in partnership with innovative disability arts organisation DaDaFest, and aims to show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and that everyone’s attitude can, at times, be beastly!
Read a review HERE
Aladdin – Hope Street Theatre
There’s nothing wishee washee about this show from Drops of Light that becomes the first festive offering for the new Hope Street Theatre.
Aladdin stars Adam McCoy in the title role, with Tori Hargreaves as the Princess, Everyman Rep alumnus Emma Bispham as evil Abanazer, Jamie Greer as Widow Twankey and Helen Carter as the Genie.
The production is written by Jessica Lea (EastEnders, Tracy Beaker and Hollyoaks) and directed by The Hope Street Theatre’s artistic director Sam Donovan.
Read a review HERE
Snow White – Epstein Theatre
December 7 to January 2
The spooky voice coming from the mirror mirror on the wall belongs to none other than Derek Acorah, while Kim Woodburn stars as the Wicked Queen in this panto from LHK Productions.
Meanwhile Lewis Pryor returns to panto duty alongside Claire Simmo and Liverpool’s most outrageous panto dame, Michael Chapman.
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to panto we go.
Read a review HERE
Spymonkey’s A Christmas Carol – Liverpool Playhouse
December 8 to January 12
Merry pranksters Spymonkey return to Liverpool to bring some bah humbug to the season of goodwill.
If you loved The 39 Steps and Baskerville then you’re going to have a Dickens of a time (sorry) at this.
So put on your best Victorian bib-and-tucker and hold on to your stovepipe hat as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future whisk the audience on a brilliantly funny flight of theatrical fancy.
Read a review HERE
Aladdin – Floral Pavilion
December 8 to January 6
Follow Aladdin, his brother Wishee Washee, and of course his mother Widow Twankey, on a spectacular adventure this Christmas.
Book your magic carpet ride to old Peking and experienc flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and a lamp-full of laughs.
Corrie’s Bill Ward is in boo-able form as Abanazar while Balamory’s own PC Plum, Andrew Agnew, is Wishee Washee in the seasonal seaside show.
Peter Pan – St Helens Theatre Royal
December 8 to January 13
Louis Emerick swaps the Full Monty for full King Charles wig and frock coat as the evil Captain Hook, and Strictly pro dancer Kristina Rhianoff is Tinkerbell in this trip to Neverland at St Helens Theatre Royal.
Join Peter (Lewis Devine) and the Lost Boys in Neverland as they battle the pirates, and don’t forget to listen out for the tick-tock of the crocodile clock in this seasonal pleaser from Regal Entertainments.
Read an interview with Louis Emerick HERE
Beauty and the Beast – The Brindley
December 10 to January 13
It’s a busy season for Beauty and the Beast – with the tale of the feisty Belle and the bad-tempered Beast being staged in no fewer than three Merseyside venues this Christmas, including The Brindley.
The Sugababes’ Amelie Berrabah plays (perhaps unsurprisingly) Fairy Sugababe while Rebecca Lake is Belle, Andrew Curphey is French Franc and Robert Squire is the dame in this Polka Dot Productions show.
Jack and the Beanstalk – Liverpool Empire
December 14 to January 6
Fe-fi-fo-fum….and you never know, maybe even a bit of foxtrot or a giant jive.
Anything is possible with Strictly head judge and Wirral girl Shirley Ballas who makes her panto debut as Mother Nature, while John Evans plays Simple Simon in the biggest pantomime on Merseyside.
Expect lavish sets, plenty of pratfalls, a bag of beans and one giant beanstalk on one of the largest stages around.
Read an interview with Shirley Ballas HERE
Peter Pan – Auditorium at the Echo Arena
First star on the left and then straight on ‘til morning for this year’s Christmas show at the arena.
Radio City favourite Leanne Campbell is set to return to panto duties at the Auditorium, this time as Tinkerbell. She will be joined by panto stars Bippo and Danny Mills as Mr and Mrs Smee.
The show is directed and produced by James Shone who is promising his will be “the funniest panto in Liverpool”.
Beauty and the Beast – Southport Theatre
Calling all teapots, candlesticks and clocks – here’s the panto you’ve been waiting for!
Beauty and the Beast comes to Southport this Christmas with a cast let by Brookside, Corrie and Emmerdale (and Liverpool’s own) star Sam Kane who plays Eugene – the character many Beauty and the Beast fans will know as Gaston.
He’s joined by Toni Howard as Beauty, Joshua Ford as the Beast, Jason Marc-Williams as Dame Kimmy Shoo, Alistair Barron as Simon and David Gilbrook as Cedric, Beauty’s father.
Cinderella – Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight
The X Factor’s Gary Barker plays Prince Charming, Eva McKenna is Cinders and Hollyoaks baddie Darren John-Langford is Colonica Hardup – one of the Ugly Sisters - in this version of the world’s favourite fairytale.
The panto is produced by Dreamworld Entertainments Ltd and audiences can expect all that Cinderella magic from glass slippers to transformed pumpkins to a kindly Fairy Godmother.
Spirit of Christmas – Philharmonic Hall
December 16, 18-19 and 21-23
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the magical sound of the RLPO and massed choirs on stage in the Philharmonic Hall, performing some much-loved and more unusual carols and festive songs.
Classic FM smooth talker John Suchet returns to compering duties – complete with seasonal readings, and this year’s special guest is Liverpool-born mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston.
Read a review HERE
And now for something completely different….
Christmas With Steptoe and Son – Epstein Theatre
Hambledon Productions revisit Galton and Simpson’s classic Christmas scripts for the stage in this early festive treat.
Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to 26 Oil Drum Lane to catch up with the nation’s favourite rag-and-bone-men and indulge in some classic, festive misadventures.
Albert and Harold seem doomed to spend Christmas in each other’s company. But Harold has his flights of fancy… including a flight he fancies abroad or to throw the biggest Christmas party London’s ever had to offer!
His “dirty old man” Albert, of course, has other ideas.
Christmas Queens – Empire Theatre
Stars from Ru Paul’s Drag Race are heading for the Empire for some outrageous Yuletide entertainment and fierce holiday fashion.
Expect over the top numbers and sparkling seasonal fun as Bob the Drag Queen hosts, with festive performances by Asia O’Hara, Blair St Clair, Eureka O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Manila Luzon and Sharon Needles.
Terry Titter’s Court by the Baubles - Royal Court Studio
Terry dares you to titter yet not…the inimitable Mr Titter returns to the Liverpool stage for Christmas 2018, with his much-loved Christmas cracker coming to the basement Studio at the Royal Court.
For three nights only join Mr Titter and his comic characters as they dish up all the trimmings to give you some festive fun to see you through the silly season and beyond.
Terry Christmas everyone!
A Christmas Carol – St George’s Hall Concert Room
The spirit of Charles Dickens continues to frequent the room in which he famously gave readings of his novels 150 years ago.
And another Dickens, Gerald – the famous author’s great, great-grandson, returns to the Lime Street landmark for two nights only to present a very special telling of his ancestor’s much-loved A Christmas Carol.
Our Bev’s Christmas Cracker – Royal Court Studio
It’s Christmas Eve.
Backstage in a packed Liverpool social club, actress and cabaret diva, Bev, eagerly awaits a career-changing call from her London agent.
As she prepares for her last ever gig, Bev invites us into her world, telling tales of her search for stardom, the lecherous managers, holiday-camp glamour, and how a chance meeting with a famous director could mean the end of her days as a travelling social-club singer and part-time TV extra.
Expect a joyful Christmas selection box of story, comedy and song.
Baked A La Ska: Ska of Wonder – Philharmonic Hall Music Room
Cornering the market in Ska-related puns, this 11-strong “band of assembled oddballs and pranksters” from Manchester features keyboardist ‘and wizard’ John Ellis and is fronted by an un-holy trio of singers - Frank ‘The Skank’, Tommy Robot and Kuntri Ranks, who combine with the soft lilt and harmonica magic of Robin Sunflower.