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The Muddy Festive Family Show Guide 2017/18

It's panto season. Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! Oh no.... OK, enough! Here's 17 of the best family shows in Warks and beyond...

Where’s the best pantomime in Warwickshire & beyond this Christmas? It’s behind you! Sorry, no, it isn’t. It’s in the list below. We’ve gathered 17 of the best family shows and theatre. A mix of trad pantos, children’s shows, theatre, dance and alternatives for those who are a bit ‘bah humbug’ about all that ‘he’s behind you’ malarkey.

Snowmouse, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri Dec 1 – Sun Dec 31

This enchanting winter’s tale for the very young about two new friends’ adventures in a magical forest wonderland is the perfect first theatre experience, full of play, puppetry and music. Recommended for ages 3 months – four years.



A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Mon Nov 27 – Feb 4 2018 


The RSC’s new eagerly-awaited stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic starring the excellent Phil Davis as Scrooge, well-known for roles in BBC 1’s PoldarkSherlock and the iconic British Mod movie, Quadrophenia. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, pictured, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year starring Rufus Hound as Toad.

Book here.


Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Nov 2- Feb 24 2018

Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio Photo credit: Manuel-Harlan, c RSC

Adrian Edmondson is brilliantly funny as Malvolio, and Kara Tointon elegant as Olivia in Shakespeare’s delightful comedy with a luminous performance by Birmingham actor Dinita Gohil as Viola.

Book here


Cinderella, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Weds Nov 22 – Sat Jan 13 2018

Two tartan panto dames for the price of one: seasoned panto actor Greg Powrie, left, joins actor, writer and director Iain Lauchlan, right

Cinderella’s step-sisters Dyspepsia and Listeria, played by Tweenies creator Iain Lauchlan and Greg Powrie are looking for no strings attached this festive season – so ‘loch’ up the men in your life! Craig Hollingsworth returns for his 6th Belgrade panto, and Alice Rose Fletcher will be putting on her glass slippers as Cinderella!



The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sisters, B2 stage, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sat Dec 30

Cinderella meets Spaghetti Western in writer/director Nick Walker’s all-female spoof adult panto. Giddy up to this rootin’ tootin’ one-hour comedy farce packed full of groan-worthy puns and starring the super-talented RSC Associate Artist Katy Stephens heading back to the ranch to appear in her third B2 Christmas Show. Here the glass slippers have spurs and the bells chime for high noon. Yee-ha!

belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055


The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Birmingham Rep, Thurs Nov 30 – Sat Jan 18

Gloria-Onitiri-as-Cruella-De-Vil. Photo credit: Graeme-Braidwood

West End Star Gloria Onitiri is foxy as villainous Cruella de Vil in furs. The Birmingham uni graduate, who played Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (The Adelphi), and Nala in The Lion King (The Lyceum) returns to the city making her REP debut. This Dodie Smith stage adaptation by writer and director of the Nativity films, Debbie Isitt is sure to get tails wagging with its clever puppy puppetry! Running time: 90 mins. For ages 5+, Tel: 0121 236 4455


Sleeping Beauty, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Dec 2 – Sun Dec 31

Well hello! JP McCue returns for his 6th panto season as the Panto Dame reunited with Sean Dodds in this fairy-tale story of a princess who falls into an enchanted sleep.



We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Nov 29 – Sun Jan 7 2018

An intrepid family and their musical dog will take you on an incredible quest through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud filled with catchy songs and interactive scenes. The stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s award-winning book is brought vividly and noisily to the stage by Sally Cookson and accompanied by Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. For ages 3+



Santa’s Mixed-up Martian, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Dec 7 – Sun Dec 24

Written by the creator of The Tweenies, Iain Lauchlan, and produced by Imagine Theatre, this is the perfect first theatre outing for young children. This year, Santa, Ellie and Rudolph receive a very unexpected visitor as an alien from outer space makes an emergency landing right here in Coventry. An  interactive 35-minute show, sing-a-long, a special gift and opportunity for littlies to give their own letter to Santa.

belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055.


Cinderella, Birmingham Hippodrome, until Sun Jan 28

Birmingham Hippodrome’s Cinderella, Beverley Knight. Photo credit: Simon Hadley,

Soul-diva Beverley Knight will make her pantomime debut in this year’s Hippodrome spectacular, alongside Strictly Come Dancing finalist Danny Mac, Birmingham panto-favourite Matt Slack, pop and television star Suzanne Shaw, comedy duo The Grumbleweeds, and the most faaaaabulous Ugly Sisters in show business, Ceri Dupree and Phil Randall. A relaxed performance for audience members with autism on Wed Jan 24.

birminghamhippodrome, Ticket Sales 0844 338 5000 (calls cost 4.5p per min plus your phone company’s access charge)


The Nutcracker 2017, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome, Fri Nov 24 – Wed Dec 13

Sir Peter Wright’s lavish festive production of The Nutcracker has been part of the City’s Christmas tradition for more 26 years – and is a stunning watch. Gigantic sets, gorg costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra combine to make it a perfect family Christmas treat. I took my 7-year-old last winter and she didn’t budge in her seat!

Book here


Motionhouse’s Midwinter Magic, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed Dec 13 – Sun Dec 17

Motionhouse at New-Place. Photo credit: Dan-Tucker

A truly immersive winter after-dark theatrical experience. Performers from award-winning Leamington-based international dance-circus company, Motionhouse will be bringing New Place to life through dance and acrobatics inspired by timeless themes of Shakespeare’s work. Midwinter Magic is a visual and physical feast with pure skill, spectacle and magical storytelling. New Place, the re-imagined site of Shakespeare’s former family home, is now a beautiful garden and specially-commissioned artworks. There’s be two shows each evening – 5.30pm & 7.30pm. Running time: 1 hour. Tickets £10 for adults, £7 for children/concessions.

Spaces are limited so early booking is advisable, shakespeare


Peter Pan: Christmas in Neverland, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, Wed Dec 20 – Sun Dec 24

Bradley Walsh and Martin-Kemp star in Peter-Pan Christmas-in-Neverland-

Is it an arena spectacular or a panto? This new arena production has been described as ‘The World’s Biggest Pantomime’. Actor and TV presenter Bradley Walsh as pirate Mr Smee, and Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp as Captain Hook, headlining a cast of 100 performers, musicians and circus stars including trapeze artists and BMX riders. Special effects range from a giant 60-ft-wide LED screen, computer graphic imagery through to a life-size Jolly Roger sailing through the Arena in front of a 10,000-gallon water wall.

Book here


The Wind in the Willows, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Sat Dec 9 – Sat Jan 6

This classic family tale has been adapted for the stage from Kenneth Grahame’s children’s novel by Olivier award-winning playwright, Mike Kenny, and is The Albany’s first in-house production. A cast of professional actors will be performing with teams of local children artists in this Art Deco gem- including Dean Leon Finlan as Toad. A Relaxed Access matinee performance takes place on Mon Dec 11 and BSL signed performances on Thurs Dec 28.

albanytheatre, Tel: 02476 998 964 



Dick Whittington, London Palladium, Sun Dec 10 – Fri Jan 12

Filed under ‘go big or go home’, we have London Palladium’s offering, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. Oh yeah! And you thought Su Pollard was camp. Fans of ’80s cheesiness will be thrilled to hear that Gary Wilmot co-stars alongside Nigel ‘The Charmer’ Havers.

London Palladium, Argyll St, London,


Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, Dec 9 – Jan 27

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1,


Cinderella on Ice, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, Fri Nov 17 – Mon Jan 1

No rest for Cinders! Here she is again, this time donning ice-skates, as one of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’s new attractions. In this show, her slinky blade moves attract the amorous attentions of the Lord Mayor’s son, much to her step-sisters’ annoyance. There’s loads of whizzy lifts, jumps and throws, plus wowzers special effects.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland,

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