Christmas pantomimes in London

It wouldn't be Christmas without a pantomime. Oh no it wouldn't...

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Where's the best pantomime in London this Christmas? It's behind you! Sorry, no, it isn't. It's in the list below. We've gathered the brightest, brashest pantos coming to the capital this winter, so take your pick from the grown-up silliness and childish fun featuring comedians, celebrities and hairy-legged dames.

Central | North | South | East | West | Adult

Pantomimes in central London

Treasure Island

Flanagan Collective stages this Christmas family show featuring Long John Silver and his massive pirate ship bound for Treasure Island. A new two-hander adaptation from Alexander Wright, Jim Harbourne and Edward Wren.

  1. Arts Theatre 6-7 Great Newport St, WC2H 7JB
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 3
More info

Pantomimes in east London

Mother Goose

  • Rated as: 4/5

I counted a dozen spectacularly daft costume changes for Clive Rowe, as London’s greatest pantomime dame returns after three Christmases away.

  1. Hackney Empire 291 Mare St, E8 1EJ
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Beauty and the Beast

  • Rated as: 3/5

On a good year, the Theatre Royal Stratford East panto is effortlessly the best in town, outclassing even Hackney Empire’s big budget extravaganza in terms of eccentric imagination, off-the-wall humour and delectable song-craft. And when I say ‘a good year’, I mean ‘a year in which Olivier-nominated duo Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman have written the show’.

  1. Theatre Royal Stratford East Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, E15 1BN
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sat Jan 17
More info

Robin Hood

Victoria Park's hipster-ish Winterville festival plays host to this one-hour panto for all the family. There's puppets and a singing reindeer for your delectation too.

  1. Victoria Park Victoria Park Rd, E3 5SN
  2. Sat Dec 20 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Sleeping Beauty

Tom Clutterbuck is setting out on his journey to save the beautiful princess Aurora in Queen's Theatre Hornchurch's pantomime this year. When Aurora was cursed by a nasty fairy, she pricked her finger and fell asleep but Tom hopes to break the spell, kill the dragon and take the princess home.

  1. Queen's Theatre Billet Lane, RM11 1QT
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sat Jan 10
More info

Pantomimes in north London

Aladdin

Classic panto play 'Aladdin' is staged at the Shaw Theatre with Ben Richards as Abanazar and Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist La Voix as Widow Twankey. It's a strong musical theatre cast and promises heaps of glittery happy endings, so this should be a family panto of the classic kind - complete with z-list 'clebs.

  1. Shaw Theatre Euston Road, NW1 2AJ
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 3
More info

Jack and the Beanstalk

  • Rated as: 4/5

This rough-and-ready panto update of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at Finsbury Park’s new-ish Park Theatre has a ragged charm to it – even if it feels so lo-fi you half-expect the ceiling to fall in. If it did, it would surely be part of the show: this energetic small company (five actors; many more roles and costumes) punctuate their jauntily out-there songs, gags and larks with comments about the lights not working, as well as occasionally slipping into scenes from ‘Hamlet’ (also playing at the theatre this Christmas).

  1. Park Theatre Clifton Terrace, N4 3JP
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

Billy the Kid: a Panto Western

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

While elsewhere in London town Beauty sleeps and Dick does his thing, Charles Court Opera and the Rosemary Branch keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ – dispensing with traditional panto plots in favour of their own. And this year it’s the turn of the Wild West.

  1. Rosemary Branch Theatre Shepperton Road, Islington, N1 3DT
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 10
More info

Sleeping Beauty

The battle of good over evil commences as Aurora is awoken from 100 years of sleep by a kiss in Millfield's new panto 'Sleeping Beauty'.

  1. Millfield Theatre Silver St, N18 1PJ
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Kat in Kixx

A new urban panto from Pineapple Arts where a scruffy old cat transforms into a fast-talking Kitt Katt and charges to the rescue of his owner. It's a riff on the classic tale of Puss in Boots.  

  1. Dugdale Centre Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, EN2 6DS
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Pantomimes in south London

Cinderella

  • Rated as: 3/5

Two Texan titans are going head-to-head in west London this panto season. In Richmond, there’s borough adoptee Jerry Hall playing the wicked stepmother in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. And over in Wimbledon’s ‘Cinderella’ is Linda Gray, erstwhile star of ‘Dallas’, as the sparkly Fairy Godmother.

  1. New Wimbledon Theatre The Broadway, SW19 1QG
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Cinderella and the Beanstalk

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Sleeping Trees’s new show ‘Cinderella and the Beanstalk’ is a mega-mix pantomime medley: a story that cooks up the adventures of all of your favourite fairytale heroes, heroines and villains into a stage stew and then adds a dash of panto pandemonium for extra kick.

  1. Theatre 503 503 Battersea Park Rd, SW11 3BW
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 10
More info

Jack and the Beanstalk

  • Rated as: 3/5

It may not feature a Z-list celeb you’ve never heard of, and half the backdrops may be painted on curtains, but I’d be stunned if you’re bothered about that by the time Greenwich panto’s gutsy ensemble wrap up the first act with their clever take on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

  1. Greenwich Theatre Crooms Hill, SE10 8ES
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Sleeping Beauty

Here's a soap opera star-tastic panto for you, this year's Churchill Theatre knees up stars 'Coronation Street's Marc Baylis as the prince and pop mistress Sonia (remember her?) as the good fairy.

  1. Churchill Theatre High Street, BR1 1HA
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Musical theatre crooner and TV competition star Gareth Gates plays Prince Charming.

  1. Ashcroft Theatre Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, CR9 1DG
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

He had big fame, if fleeting, in the '90s and early noughties, but comedian DJ, rapper and, increasingly, actor Richard Blackwood is still managing to claw his way through the world of celebrity. Following his stint as Donkey in 'Shrek' he heads up the cast of this classic panto as Muddles. It's usually masses of family fun and no doubt London-born Blackwood will add to that.

  1. Broadway Theatre Catford Broadway, SE6 4RU
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Tue Dec 30
More info

Pantomimes in west London

Dick Whittington and His Cat

  • Rated as: 3/5

SCREAM!!! It’s panto time at the Lyric and the audience is packed with school kids who dance, sing and shout their way through the show. By the end of Tom Wells’s take on ‘Dick Whittington’, the children are so excited, they can barely speak. This is far from a perfect panto but it is pumped up to the max: loud, bursting with colour and pulsating with pop.

  1. Lyric Hammersmith Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 3
More info

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

  • Rated as: 2/5

First Family Entertainment has made a name delivering the biggest, brashest and celebiest pantos in the UK. It’s the company that brought Pamela Anderson and Priscilla Presley to the Christmas stage, and when it gets it right, it can win you over with sheer starry firepower. Unfortunately it’s hardly brought its A-game to Richmond, offering a perfunctory ‘Snow White’ with too much of the magic missing in action.

  1. Richmond Theatre The Green, TW9 1QJ
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Peter Panto

This year's Portabello Panto arrives in West London's most chic venue. The usually under-the-radar show often surprises with it's line up of celebrity appearances. In past years, Lily Allen, Ray Winstone and Harry Enfield have all appeared in the Christmas stalwart.

  1. The Tabernacle 55-61 Tabernacle St, EC2A 4AA
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Dec 20
More info

The Santa Claus Science Experiment

A sort of comedy/science/theatre/Christmas crossover, 'The Santa Claus Science Experiment' is performed by Comedy Club 4 Kids in association with UCL's science department. It's a raucous science-inspired panto where elf magic gets banned in lapland and Santa has to use science to save Christmas. Comedians Bec Hill, Richard Sandling and Joanna Neary star.

  1. Bloomsbury Theatre 15 Gordon St, WC1H 0AH
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Dec 21
More info

Adult pantomimes

A Lad In Tights

This new panto is an adults only affair, filled with saucy puns and dubiously-named characters. There's Widow Wankey, Princess Nymomaniac and an exceptionally camp genie. This follows Simon Gross's 'Sinderfella' from last year.

  1. Prince of Wales Drury Lane, WC2B 5TD
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

Treasure Island - the Curse of the Pearl Necklace

The annual adult panto at Above the Stag manages to outdo itself each year in the witty title department. This year is no exception, and Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper's panto romp promises to have all the usual semi-naked guys, outrageous double entendres. It follows Jim Hawkins who is tired of listening to the stories of sea adventures and decides to embark on his own swashbuckling experience. NB: this panto is for adults only.

  1. Above the Stag Theatre Arch 17, Miles Street, SW8 1RZ
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 10
More info

Sleeping Booty

The Leicester Square Theatre cheerfully steps up to lower the tone (even more) for London Christmas shows with this adult panto. When Evil Mangelina (Miss Dusty O) wreaks havoc on Pantoland until a chavtastic ladette Booty arrives with her magical booty to fix things. Fairy Muff helps proceedings along.

  1. Leicester Square Theatre 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 17
More info


Users say

2 comments
jay dee
jay dee

a crystal clear overview of london & greater london's pantos this christmas. but then that's what Time Out does best. now all we have to do is figure out which one to go to! :)