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Beauty and the Beast – The Black E, Liverpool

Writer: Jessica Lea Director: Sam Donovan Reviewer: Robin Winters The Black E on the edge of Liverpool’s China Town has become the latest venue to give a home to pantomime. Offering its own unique localised and intimate take on the family favourite, new company Drops of Light present the epic tale of love Beauty and the Beast. Sam Donovan’s fast-paced ...

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The Secret Seven  – Storyhouse, Chester

Writer: Enid Blyton Adaptor: Glen Maxwell Director: Alex Clifton Reviewer: Mel Duncan ‘Lashings of ginger beer!’ The Secret Seven are beloved, and almost the stuff of English folklore.  Generation after generation of children have grown up living vicariously within Enid Blyton’s beautifully crafted pages, and inside the heads of arguably ever adult in the English speaking world adventures have been ...

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Around the World in 80 Days – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Jules Verne Adaptor: Laura Eason Director: Theresa Heskins Reviewer: Sam Lowe All eight actors play over 125 characters. No easy task. Around the World in 80 Days is a fast-paced production, based on the classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne. This production has a Christmas residency at The Lowry as part of an adventurous sixth month ...

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The Bear – Waterside, Sale

Writer: Raymond Briggs Adaptors: Pins and Needles Productions Directors: Emma Earle and Hal Chambers Reviewer: Jay Nuttall It must be Christmas if Aled Jones’ unbroken choirboy tones are in the television schedules. The Snowman will probably remain Raymond Briggs’ most famous piece of work. But what has been described as its thematic soulmate, and much later work, The Bear treads ...

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Guys and Dolls – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Book: Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows Music & Lyrics: Frank Loesser Director:  Michael Buffong Reviewer: May Mellstrom The Christmas production at the Royal Exchange is always a highlight of the festive period, providing a welcome alternative in the panto season.  Widely regarded as one of the finest Broadway musicals of all time, Guys and Dolls can hardly be considered a ...

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Cinderella – The Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Director: Damian Sandys Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen It is officially the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ and on its 25th anniversary of helping spread festive joy, UK Productions and Blackpool Grand Theatre have pulled out all the stops with their version of the classic fairytale Cinderella. While not at the biggest of theatres, this is a show-stopping pantomime that certainly ...

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James Acaster: Classic Scrapes – The Lowry, Salford

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Reviewer: Matt Forrest You will probably be more familiar with James Acaster than you think; numerous appearances on Mock the Week and spots on Q.I and Live at the Apollo have certainly helped boost his profile and will see him forever more be a part of the comedy merry-go-round that is TV channel Dave. However, it is radio where Acaster ...

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Aladdin – The Dukes, Lancaster

Writer: Mike Kenny Director: Sarah Punshon Reviewer: May Mellstrom A frequent pantomime favourite, theatres across the country will undoubtedly be re-telling the story of Aladdin this Christmas, however, one imagines few will surpass the originality and imagination of this festive offering from The Dukes.  There are still plenty of playful nods to the audience and opportunities to boo the baddie, ...

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