Pantomimes in central London
Pantomimes in east London
After their absence from last year’s decidedly tepid ‘Cinderella’, Hackney Empire has got two of its best panto performers back for its twentieth festive extravaganza: the dame of dames, Clive Rowe, and ‘EastEnders’ star Tameka Empson…
We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty – the cursed princess who pricks her finger and sleeps for a hundred years. Matthew Xia’s panto version at Theatre Royal Stratford East has enough twists and turns to make it more of an ‘inspired by’ job…
Hoxton Hall is a lively, community-focused venue with a panto that's bound to delight local families. This year, Enfield's Millfield Arts Centre are rocking up at this atmospheric theatre with their own spin on 'Rapunzel', the story of the girl with the flowing locks and an evil witch to outwit.
Pantomimes in west London
A fun(ish) game you can play in the darkening days of late November is ‘guess this year’s big panto song’…
Brightly lit, compact, cosy and Christmassy inside, Richmond rarely fails to be one of London’s most welcoming theatres at this time of year…
Pantomimes in south London
If you like your pantos bold, brash, bright and with a big star attached, then New Wimbledon Theatre's annual offering's the one for you. 2018's 'Aladdin' has telly quiz show maestro Paul Merton getting dolled up in a wig as Widow Twankey - and doubtless bringing a bit of sardonic improv humour to the unlikely role of Aladdin's mum. Judging by previous years, there'll also be tons of pop songs, a chorus of kiddy stars, traditional panto audience participation, and jokes so rude you'll drop your ice cream.
Greenwich Theatre's popular annual panto is the handiwork of Andrew Pollard, who pens the script as well as playing the wise-cracking, dragged up Dame. This year, he's taken on 'Robinson Crusoe', a tale of a shipwrecked sailor that's one of the lesser-staged panto plots out there. This adventurous yarn will be packed with nautical gags a plenty, plus lashings of song, dance and glitter.
Pantomime has a long history of fooling around with gender (think panto dames and principal boys) but its approach isn't generally all that subtle. 'A Pair of Pantos' brings 21st century queer positivity to a time-honoured genre, using a cast of trans and non-binary performers to tell two classic panto stories. Written and directed by Hester Chillingworth.
After a three-year hiatus, panto is back at Catford Broadway. 'Aladdin' is produced by well-respected Deptford-based company Selladoor, who'll preside over a kid-friendly festive extravaganza. The tale of the boy with the magic lamp will be performed with live music, dancing, and suitably enchanting special effects. The cast includes Cbeebies star Joanna Adeyinka-Burford and comedian Wayne Rollins.
Is this panto suitable for kids? Oh no it isn't! Is it loads of ribald fun? Oh yes it is! Vauxhall's gay theatre Above The Stag is back with the latest instalment in their much-loved series of adult pantos, penned by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hopper. Titled 'Mother Goose Cracks One Out', it's a filthy-minded take on the classic festive fairy story, staged with abundant saucy costumes, scantily clad men, pop songs, and very, very rude jokes.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern's annual queer panto is back with a sexed-up sequel to 'Aladdin'. It's years since the lad found the lamp, and now he's an international playboy while Genie's retired to South London. But when Genie's home is endangered by evil Abenazar, it's time for the dream team to reunite. 'Rubbed' is a definitely adults only take on pantomime tradition, packed with smutty jokes and silliness. With several hit RVT pantos under his belt, Tim McArthur directs this new story by Paul Joseph and Tim Benzie.
This saucy festive offering is an adult riff on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It features gay YouTube star Dan Armstrong in the title role, alongside characters including 'Fairy Hanny' and 'Fleshlight'. Produced by new company Wiltax Productions.
This innuendo-filled show is a fresh helping of festive fun from Simon Gross, the producer behind the long-running panto 'Snow White and the Seven Poofs'. 'A Lad in Soho' is an adults-only riff on the 'Aladdin' story, told using a party-starting soundtrack from Madonna to The Village People. Ages 18-plus.
Canal Cafe's saucy panto is a boy-meets-girl story with a 21st century twist. Its stars meet on Tindr, go to Nandos, all thanks to the good Fairy Matchmaker. It definitely isn't the first show to play on the 'Tinderella' pun but it should be a knockabout addition to the genre, full of songs and filthy jokes performed by a cast of four.
This bingo/panto mash-up blends two British institutions in hilarious style. Matty Powers and the Bongo's Bingo team will preside over three nights of very silly 'Jack in the Beanstalk' inspired fun - settle in with a pint for a night of scorecard-dabbing and yelling 'He's behind you!'.
More family Christmas shows
Make Christmas more magical with a trip to one of London's many family-friendly Christmas shows. There's theatre big and bright enough to keep little ones enthralled and performances sweet and subtle enough to entertain the whole family. Find the one that all of your lot will love and book tickets so you don't miss out.
Snap up exclusive discounts in London
Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...