Pantoland

Theatre, Panto
Pantoland, London Palladium 2020
Photograph: Pantoland, London Palladium

Time Out says

Oh yes there will be a Palladium panto this Christmas

It’s been rumoured for a while and here we are: the London Palladium’s annual panto is back on, with regular stars Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot all present and correct, alongside first-time returnees Elaine Paige, Ashley Banjo & Diversity and Charlie Stemp, and debutants Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow.

Without the usual length of time to plan, the title ‘Pantoland’ is reflective of the fact that it’ll be a mash-up of bits from the previous five years’ season extravaganzas, tied together with a framing device from director-producer Michael Harrison. However, anybody who has seen the Palladium panto before will know that (as befits London’s home of variety), it’s really just a series of star turns – 90 percent of them by Julian Clary – and the odds of you feeling that the tightness of the plotting has suddenly dropped is pretty low.

Naturally it will be socially distanced: it’s been made possible by a new National Lottery scheme aimed at rescuing panto season that will effectively buy the seats that can’t be sold. And it’ll also be a fine chance to experience the most Covid-secure theatre in the country: proprietor Andrew Lloyd-Webber famously dropped £100k on such upgrades as self-disinfecting doorhandles.

Christmas is back on: oh yes it is!

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