Most Christmases, the National Theatre leaves panto to other venues. But this is obviously not going to be most Christmases. With the likes of Hackney Empire, the Lyric Hammersmith and Theatre Royal Stratford East all ruling out their big seasonal show this year, the NT has stepped into the breach with its reconfigured Olivier Theatre. Normally the monster auditorium seats 1,200. In the social-distancing era, it’ll be reworked into an in-the-round configuration that will seat 500 (see an artist’s impression above).
The NT’s ‘Dick Whittington’ has been put on at some speed, so won’t have a wholly original script, but will be based upon the Lyric Hammersmith’s excellent 2018 production, which was written by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd. However, you can imagine there might be a contemporary reference or two present in Ned Bennett’s production.
Details of casting and exact performance dates are still TBC, but it’s due to start its run in December and presumably continue to January, and you can imagine they’ll pretty much be able to take their pick of London’s finest dames, singers and comic actors. More information will be released in October. But for now: Christmas is saved! A bit! If you like pantos! Which you should!
Keep an eye on more info and tickets on the National Theatre’s website.