They’re back once again this year, and with classic sing-along tunes, panto dames, tight and bright costumes and drag queens aplenty, 2022’s crop of pantos in London are a real humdinger. From classics such as Mother Goose – headed up by the legend that is Sir Ian McKellen – to fun, fabulous and downright laugh-a-minute. Here’s our rundown of 11 of the best pantomimes in London this festive season, with many running until the end of January:
1. Mother Goose at the Duke of York’s Theatre
Kicking off this roundup of the best pantomimes in London is the one that’s making all the headlines this year. Starring none other than Gandalf himself – or Sir Ian McKellen for the few people on earth who’ve never seen Lord of the Rings – and the beloved comedian John Bishop, it follows the story of Mother Goose and her husband Vic, who run an animal sanctuary for waifs and strays inside an abandoned *ahem* Debenhams.
But the arrival of a magical goose on their doorstep causes quite the stir and begs the question – will potential fame and fortune get the better of them? Co-starring Anna-Jane Casey, Mel Giedroyc and directed by top comedy director Cal McCrystal, it promises a night full of fun and a hell of a lot of laughs.
Mother Goose runs from December 15 2022 to January 29 2023 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, 104 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4BG. Nearest stations are Leicester Square and Charing Cross. You can grab your tickets here.
2. Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium
Another star-filled extravaganza here – this time with comedy legends Dawn French, Julian Clary and singer, songwriter and X Factor star Alexandra Burke – the first of two Jack and the Beanstalks on this panto roundup promises to be a night to remember.
Taking place at the London Palladium – arguably the ‘home’ of London panto – you’ll follow in the footsteps of Jack (played by Bridgerton alumni Louis Gaunt), who sells his cow for magic beans and then discovers a giant beanstalk growing in his back garden… chaos obviously then ensues. With Palladium stalwarts Nigel Havers, Paul Zerdin and Gary Wilmot co-starring, this is one you really can’t miss this year.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs from December 10 2022 to January 15 2023 at the London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF. Nearest station is Oxford Circus. You can grab your tickets here.
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the New Wimbledon Theatre
“Mirror, mirror – who’s the fairest pantomime of them all?!” West End icon and multi-award-winning actor Ruthie Henshall leads an all-star cast this year at the prestigious New Wimbledon Theatre in SW19.
Following the storyline of the Brothers Grimms’ classic fairy tale, you’ll join Snow White (played by TikTok star Hannah Lowther) who escapes the clutches of her evil stepmother (Henshall) and joins a group of seven dwarves deep within the forest. However, she soon succumbs to the charms of a handsome and charming prince (Lee Mead)… Dick and Dom, Matthew Kelly and Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards co-star.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from December 3 2022 to December 31 2022 at the New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, SW19 1QG. Nearest station is Wimbledon. You can grab your tickets here.
4. Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Richmond Theatre
Roll up, roll up! Next up on this roundup of the best pantos in London this festive season is Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which is playing at the Richmond Theatre this December for four weeks only. Starring Matt Baker of Blue Peter and The One Show fame in the key role of Joey the Clown, you’ll follow Goldilocks (Tamara Morgan), who’s circus is under threat from an evil rival (Jessica Martin). Can her mad-cap group of friends help save the big top? Oh yes they will!
The panto dame this year comes in the form of Betty Barnum, who is played by the award-winning panto actor Nigel Ellacott, and Comedian Phil Walker is also on the bill.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears runs from December 3 2022 to December 31 2022 at the Richmond Theatre, 1 Little Green, Richmond, TW9 1QH. Nearest station is Richmond. You can grab your tickets here.
5. Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Stratford East
After last year’s Red Riding Hood – which was a roaring success might we add – the team at the Theatre Royal Stratford East are back with a bang for 2022 and are bringing the classical panto Cinderella to the stage. It’s a unique twist on the classical tale, set in the ancient home of Sphynx cats, pharaohs and the beautiful Empress Cleopatra.
Expect epic songs, colourful costumes and hilarious one liners – plus you can get a ticket from just a tenner, making it one of London’s best value pantos. Win win.
Cinderella runs from November 19 2022 January 7 2023 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Theatre Square, E15 1BN. Nearest stations are Stratford and Maryland. You can grab your tickets here.
6. Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric Hammersmith
“Fee-fi-fo-fum” – we’ve got another panto production of Jack and the Beanstalk here. This time it’s playing at the Lyric Hammersmith, and in their own words, you can expect ‘beanstalk climbing, giant defeating, golden egg laying, extreme skateboarding, milk explosions, singing cows, some absolutely outrageous outfits and of course Beyoncé!’ Sounds like rollicking good fun to us…
It’s directed by Nicholai La Barrie – a MOBO fellow and former director of Tina -The Tina Turner Musical which formerly played in the West End.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs from November 19 2022 to January 7 2023 at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King Street, W6 0QL. Nearest station is Hammersmith. You can grab your tickets here.
7. Little Red Robin Hood at Battersea Arts Centre
The talented team behind smash hit panto-mashups ‘Goldilocks & the Three Musketeers’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty and the Beast’ return to the acclaimed Battersea Arts Centre this year with a hilarious new Christmas adventure entitled ‘Little Red Robin Hood’.
The plot goes something a little like this: the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham has kidnapped none other than Robin Hood, the famous outlaw. Who is going to stand up for the people now? Surely not a girl in a bright red hood? Famous for their slightly more out-the-box pantos, you can expect a fun night of completely unique storytelling and pitch-perfect tunes from a more than game cast.
Even better? Plenty of tickets here are pay-what-you-can, meaning that everyone can get involved, which is something we all love to see.
Little Red Robin Hood runs from December 6 2023 to January 8 2023 at the Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN. Nearest station is Clapham Junction. You can grab your tickets here.
8. The ‘Christmas Panto Pod’ at the London Eye
Mark your diaries Secret London readers! Running for just four nights only, the lastminute.com London Eye is offering guests the ultimate festive experience – a unique Christmas pantomime performance of Dick Whittington while soaring 443ft over the capital!
Taking place on December 14–18, the ‘Christmas Panto Pod’ will see one of the attraction’s 32 pods given a magical theatre-style makeover – decked out with velvet seats, spotlights, and mini stage – all with a festive twist creating an intimate theatre 135m above the London skyline. Sounds pretty darn good to us.
The ‘Christmas Panto Pod’ runs for four nights only (December 14 2022 to December 18 2022) at the lastminute.com London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, SE1 7PB. Nearest station is Waterloo. You can grab your tickets here.
9. Rumpelstiltskin at the Park Theatre
Next up on our roundup of the best pantomimes in London this year is Rumplestiltskin, which heads up the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park this festive season. Brought to you in collaboration with the Charles Court Opera – whose Christmas productions are nothing short of legendary – this one is guaranteed to be packed full of cheeky humour, madcap characters and off-the-wall weirdness.
Even better? It’s from the writers behind last year’s OFFIE award-winning hit, Beowulf, so expect a must-see show which guarantees to be the perfect fairytale treat for friends and family alike.
Rumplestiltskin runs from December 13 2022 to January 14 2023 at the Park Theatre, 13 Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP. Nearest station is Finsbury Park. You can grab your tickets here.
10. Mother Goose at the Hackney Empire
Our penultimate addition to this roundup of the best pantomimes in London this Christmas season is another Mother Goose – this time playing at the iconic Hackney Empire in *duh* Hackney Central. Now in their 120th year, this beloved venue is bringing out all the stops with their take on the classic rags-to-riches tale.
Expect larger-than-life characters, pretty outrageous costumes, belly laughs and plenty of audience participation. Panto-royalty Clive Rowe stars as the titular character, so expect one hell of a great panto dame too.
Mother Goose runs from November 19 2022 to December 31 2022 at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ. Nearest station is Hackney Central. You can grab your tickets here.
11. The Witches of Oz Immersive Dinner at The Vaults
Rounding off this pantomimes in London roundup is technically not an actual pantomime – it’s more of an immersive experience – but given that it has plenty of audience participation, we figured we might as well include it. Taking over The Vaults performance space beneath Leake Street, this incredible three-hour show incorporates interactive drag, talented burlesque performers and a slap-up four-course meal (with a side of fun-filled debauchery might we add).
From the team who brought you last year’s Mulan Rouge, you’re promised a night to remember as you head to The Emerald City and decipher who is to be crowned the next Witch of Oz… Expect to be entertained. You can grab your tickets for it here.
The Witches of Oz runs until January 14 2023 at The Vaults, Launcelot Street, SE1 7AD. Nearest station is Waterloo.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best pantomimes in London which all promise to give you a fun night out on the town. All together now… “he’s behind youuuuu!”
Also published on Medium.