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! :)
Christmas pantomimes in London
It wouldn't be Christmas without a pantomime. Oh no it wouldn't...
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
That classic panto tale of the boy who sold his beloved cow for some crappy beans is told by the Park Theatre in their Christmas panto this year. The Park's first panto offering last year was a respectable affair, so lets see whether Jez Bond and Mark Cameron can pull it off again this year.
Here's a soap opera star-tastic panto for you, this year's Christmas knees-up at Churchill Theatre has 'Coronation Street's Marc Baylis as the prince. Not only that but pop mistress Sonia (remember her?) is starring as the good fairy. There's also a Pop Idol winner and an 'Opportunity Knocks' winner onboard. Get your 'he's behind you!' shouts at the ready.
It's panto time in Wimbledon and this year promises to be as raucous as every other. Matthew Kelly returns as an ugly sister alongside Matthew Rixon, and we're promised song and dance numbers with real Shetland ponies no less. The two Matthews are old hands, having starred in Wimbledon's production of 'Aladdin' last year. More cast to be announced.
'Pop Idol's most famous runner up takes a role in Ashcroft Theatre's Christmas show this year. Musical theatre crooner and TV competition star Gareth Gates plays Prince Charming in the panto 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'.
Greenwich Theatre steps up to the London pantomime table this year with 'Jack and the Beanstalk' a show from Andrew Pollard about the Giant Bonecrunch who is terrorising villagers with his rising taxes. The tale is classic Christmas fodder, with Jack, a fairy and a cow all there to help save the day. Find more pantomimes in London
Hackney Empire's yearly festive offering is pretty much the panto equivalent of royalty. That's mainly been down to hilariously naughty scripts, Susie McKenna's direction and a great dame - in recent years the inimitable Clive Rowe was hailed as one of the best. He's had a bit of a break (his last dame in Hackney was in 2010) but now he makes his return in the production, which wowed in 2008 and got Rowe an Olivier Award nomination.
The Christmas show at Theatre Royal Stratford East is usually a firm part of London's panto royalty. Their excellent team, directed by Dawn Reid, usually manage to come up with a glorious, anarchic and unique family offering. This year's 'Beauty and the Beast' is written by Paul Sirett and throws a wicked witch into the mix of the story of Belle and her forlorn beast.
Fast-rising writing star Tom Wells returns to the Lyric for their Christmas panto, pennning a new version of 'Dick Whittington and His Cat'. Last year's 'Jack and the Beanstalk', also written by Wells, went down an absolute storm and this new one promises an exceptionally evil Queen Rat. Ages 6-plus.
Who could be better to play the wicked stepmother in a panto version of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' than leggy blonde model, UK celebrity adoptee and erstwhile girlfriend of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall? Richmond Theatre pull in their patron for a stint on the stage this Christmas as Hall stars in her first panto. Hall's no stranger to the boards though, having starred in 'The Graduate', 'Love Letters' and 'High Society' before.