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The Muddy Panto Guide 2018

It's what you've all been waiting for. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Oh no.... OK, enough! Here are 23 of the perkiest pantos in Bucks, Oxon and beyond.

Ready or not, here come the pantos! Dig out your stripy tights, winkle pickers, false eyelashes and wiggery, and book in for one of our 23 festive panto/Xmas production picks in Bucks, Oxon and beyond!

Image: Robert Workman


Peter Pan, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Fri 7- Mon 31 Dec 

Take the second star to the right and you’ll find Holby City and Corrie star John Mitchie in a wig and tights as he becomes Captain Hook at Aylesbury Waterside. Britain’s Got Talent’s drag act La Voix – the big hit of the last few years at AWT – will be supplying the dame entertainment along with Nickelodeon’s Holly Atterton as Tinker Bell and the always awesome Andy Collins.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Wycombe Swan, Fri 7 – Sun 30 Dec 

Brendan Cole as the comely Huntsman? Yes indeedy, Strictly’s nemesis to Craig Revel Horwood makes his panto debut alongside Britain’s Got Talent’s comedian Mandy Muden as the evil Queen and panto dame veteran Jason Sutton. It’s a 10 from us for inspired casting, darling!


Dick Whittington and his cat, Oxford Playhouse, Fri 23 Nov – Sun 06 Jan 

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? The Oxford Playhouse continues its policy of not bothering with the soap star brigade, with its in-house panto. Clearly they’re expecting a good turn out as it’s one of the longest running pantos in town!


Aladdin, The Theatre Chipping Norton, Wed 14 Nov – Sun 13 Jan 

The theatre in Chippy always punches above its weight and usually sells out so get on that magic carpet to the box office pronto. Being a refined audience in Chipping Norton, there are adult only evenings where the baby crying goes down zero (RESULT!) and I’m guessing that an increase in X-rated adult humour will raise the roof.


Robin Hood, Milton Keynes Theatre, Sat 8 Dec – Sun 13 Jan 

Pulling out the stops, MK Theatre’s Robin Hood offers a live orchestra and EastEnders’ happy chappy Shane Richie as the emerald wearing hero. Richie was hilarious in Dick Whittington at the Wycombe Swan back in 2014 so it’s a Muddy thumbs up for his return to the tights and double entrendres.


Dick Whittington, The Venue Milton Keynes, Sat 22 Dec – Sat 5 Jan 

Dreams n Wishes, longtime producers of traditional pantos and regular collaborators with Milton Keynes Amateur Operatic Society, return to The Venue with Dick Whittington.


Aladdin, The Elgiva, Tue 4 Dec – Mon 31 Dec 

A great local venue for Aladdin, promising a ‘traditional family pantomime’ by panto specialists Rare productions. Last time I was at The Elgiiva it was to sit through a torturous performance of my daughter’s dance troupe so this will be a million times more fun (sorry Iris).


Peter Pan, North Wall Theatre, Sat 1 Dec – Wed 5 Jan 

Sword-fights? Check. Songs? Check? Cool venue? You betcha. Muddy favourites North Wall and Creation Theatre combine for their eighth Christmas collaboration and we’re betting it’ll fly.


Dick Whittington, Kenton Theatre, Sat 15 – Sat 29 Dec 

Here puss puss! Immersion Theatre returns to Henley’s Kenton Theatre for Dick Whittington – always a sell out, this year sees the return of James Clifford in the title role.


Beauty and the Beast, Thame Players Theatre, Thame, Oxon, Fri 7 – Sun 16 Dec

OK, this is a diddy, am-dram one but it’s just down the road from Muddy HQ and our collective offspring are big fans (mainly of the bit where the cast throw Quality Street out to the audience) so we had to include it. The theme of this year’s classic tale, Beauty and the Beast, holds particularly resonance for mine and Mr Muddy’s own love story (*ducks*) so I, for one, can’t wait. And you can’t go wrong with talking furniture, right? It’s a 130-seat theatre and tickets go like hot cakes, so chop chop.



The Pied Piper, Cornerstone, Didcot, Sat 8 – Sun 30 Dec 

Is that the sound of the Pied Piper I hear? This Christmas reimagining of the German tale is promising live music, new songs and no real rats!


Pinnochio, Mill Arts Centre, Sat 10 Nov 

During this one off performance of everyone’s favourite wooden puppet, Mill Arts Centre is offering the chance for several lucky little ones to get into costume and become a part of the performance’s second half.


Snowflake, Old Fire Station, Wed 5 – Sat 22 Dec

Can’t bear the panto? Snowflake is an original performance written by Olivier Award-winner Mike Bartlett, touching on family and conflict at Christmastime. Directed by Clare Lizzimore, also an Oliver Award-winner, it has serious creds. Only for 12+ so you have the added bonus of not being disturbed by little people.


Nativity! The Musical, Oxford’s New Theatre, Tues 11- Sat 15 Dec

Last year Nativity made the leap from film to Christmas show in a touring production – now it’s back again with more shows and Oxford on the location list for the first time. Good cast for this one with Eastenders’ favourite Jake Wood, plus Scott Garnham (Billy Elliott the musical) Ashleigh Gray (Wicked) and Simon Lipkin reprising his role as happy-go-lucky Mr Poppy. The show has been adapted for the stage by the film’s creator Debbie Isitt, and had great reviews last year, so you’re in perfect Christmas kiddie catnip territory.  If you fancy seeing Nativity! The Musical further afield then the show will also be in London with a comedy gold cast of father and daughter duo Danny and Dani Dyer and funny-woman Jo



The Christmassey Christmas Show of Christmassey Christmassness, Mill Art Centre, Tues 18 Dec

Winner of best show title, hands down! This show promises a whole bunch of craziness – slapstick, puppetry, comedy and quizzes.


Stories with Santa, Oxford’s New Theatre, Sat 8 – Mon 24 Dec 

Suitable for kids up to eight, Santa will be coming to the New Theatre’s Piano Bar to deliver stories, songs and gifts. The show is interactive and kids get a personal meeting with the big guy himself.


Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/Party, Pegasus Theatre, Tues 4 – Thurs 27 Dec

Who are Alice & Bob? They’re the harbingers of festival mayhem by all accounts, promising Christmas carol-oke, charades and a flash mob wrapping paper war. No we don’t know what that is either, but we’re IN.


Tabby McTat, The Stables Milton Keynes, Mon 17- Sun 30 Dec 

Will Tabby McTat the cat ever be reunited with his best friend Fred? Adapted from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book (my children love them!) this touching tale of loyalty and friendship looks supersweeeeeeet for littlies.



Rumpelstiltskin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 13 Dec- 6 Jan 

All the way from Australia for it’s UK premier, this performance of Rumplestiltskin is promising something different from your traditional stage show. On offer are funky costumes, super modern staging and a contemporary twist to the old fairy tale. Aussie cabaret king Paul Capsis is playing the big R.


A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, Sat 24 Nov – Sat 19 Jan 

This production of festive classic A Christmas Carol staged by The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus had such great reviews last year that it’s returning for round two. Adapted by Jack Thorne, co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 8+ it stars Stephen Tomkinson.


Snow White, London Palladium, Sat 8 Dec – Sun 13 Jan 

Punchy and very funny cast, with Dawn French taking the starring role, accompanied with a fleckle heel by Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia, Broadway’s Charles Stemp and Over The Rainbow’s Danielle Hope. A dead cert.


Aladdin, Hackney Empire, Sat 24 Nov – Sun 6 Jan 

The unashamed home of panto, Hackney Empire’s in-house team celebrates its 20th birthday. Olivier Award-winner and panto dame extraordinaire Clive Rowe returns to Hackney Empire’s stage after a three year hiatus, alongside West End star Tameka Empson.


Horrible Christmas, Alexandra Palace, Thurs 13 – Sun 30 Dec 

A jolly man in red tries to ruin Christmas. Not Mr Muddy as it happens (though he does his best every year), expect typical Horrible Histories style with terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians giving a history of Crimbo.


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