From classics such as Cinderella – starring the Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke – to the rude and raucous variety, they all promise to be fun, fabulous and downright laugh-a-minute. Here’s our rundown of 10 of the best pantos in London this Christmas:
Jump on board the magic carpet this Christmas and join in the fun with the Genie and co to help Aladdin find his true love. Keeping with tradition, The Lyric’s annual pantomime promises to be fun, edgy and a hell of a lot of laughs. Written by award-winning comedian, actress and panto veteran Vikki Stone, you can expect catchy songs, a talented cast, plenty of festive cheer and a certain magic lamp. Oh yes you will!
The show will run from Thursday 25 November until Sunday 2 January. Conjure up your tickets here.
2. Dick Whittington at the Phoenix Theatre
If you’re looking to belly laugh this Christmas period, look no further than this gem by TuckShop playing at Soho’s iconic Phoenix Theatre. With an all-star, all-drag cast, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Dick Whittington – aka Cheryl Hole from 2019’s Drag Race UK – on his quest to find fame and fortune in the vibrant and heady streets of Soho. Accompanied by his feisty feline friend (Holly Stars) and the Spirit of Soho (Kitty Scott Claus), will he be able to take down the wicked Queen Rat (Choriza May) and save London Town? Only time will tell…
The show will run on Sunday December 5, Sunday December 12, Sunday December 19, Tuesday January 4 and Sunday January 9. Grab your tickets now.
3. Red Riding Hood at Stratford East Theatre
It’s not often you see Red Riding Hood as a panto, but Stratford East Theatre have bucked the trend to give us punters something we haven’t really seen before. Originally slated to open in December 2020 before lockdown three happened, this year they’re back with a bang and ready to erase all those bleak memories. Strap in for the ride and settle into a story about everyone’s favourite granny getting eaten by a wolf. Expect epic songs, colourful costumes and hilarious one liners – plus you can get a ticket from just £10, so this is one of London’s best value pantos. Win win.
Shows run from Saturday November 27 to Friday 31 December, but tickets are selling like hot cakes. Cop ‘em here.
4. Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire
Seasoned panto dame and Olivier award-winning actor Clive Rowe takes the reins in this adaptation of everyone’s favourite panto Jack and the Beanstalk. Taking place in the flagship Hackney Empire on Mare Street, you’ll join happy-go-lucky Jack as he goes on an – ahem – GIANT-sized adventure involving some magic beans, a cow and a beanstalk that grows up into the clouds. Expect belting bangers, a game cast and some real wholesome family fun.
Shows run from Saturday 20 November until Sunday January 2 and prices range from £10–42. Treat the family and get them here.
5. Pantoland at The Palladium
This one is a big’un and definitely a contender for being the best pantos in London this Christmas. Starring Donny Osmond and Julian Clary (yep, really), this panto at the Palladium brings the glitz and glam and then some in London’s original home of panto, The Palladium. With comedy in abundance, show-stopping dance routines by The Tiller Girls and FireOz, larger than life costumes, and a hell of a lot of glitter, this is one night for the old memory books. Appearances by other panto favourites including Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot will occur throughout the course of the run, as well as some other West End stars. What better way to enjoy some London Palladium panto than with this fun-filled show?
Shows run from Saturday 4 December to Sunday 9 January, so you can bring the magic here.
6. The Queen of Hearts at the Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich Theatre’s pantos are all about old school Christmas cheer, and this year is certainly no different. The Queen of Hearts is a notable departure from your standard panto plot and sees the Knave of Hearts try and win the heart of the Princess of Diamonds. The only problem is that she’s already got a fella, the Prince of Spades… Expect a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of laughs throughout and a sweet message from this lovely production in the UNESCO-listed Royal Borough of Greenwich. You’re also within a stone’s throw of some of Greenwich’s best restaurants and pubs, so it would be a crime to not fill yourself up with some hearty food and a pint or two pre- or post-show.
Shows run from Friday 19 November to Sunday 2 January and tickets cost £32 for adults and £16.50 for children. Check out their website here.
7. Potted Panto at the Garrick Theatre
This wild ride is all about giving you all the bang for the buck and definitely deserves its spot in this list of the best pantos in London. Back for five weeks only, this ever-popular show will showcase seven different classic pantos over just 70 minutes, ranging from Aladdin to Dick Whittington. Olivier-nominated, it’s from the talented team who brought you the hilarious Harry Potter parody ‘Potted Potter’, so there will be plenty of belly laughs and a game as hell cast.
‘Potted Panto’ plays at the Garrick Theatre from Saturday 11 December until Sunday 9 January. Get your hands on some tickets here.
8. Cinderella at the Richmond Theatre
Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton du Beke is making his debut in Richmond’s fun-filled extravaganza, which chronicles the tale of Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Ugly Stepsisters and one hell of an evil stepmother. Along with the star guest playing the role of Buttons, expect plenty of laughs, a spectacular set, bright costumes and plenty of boo-hiss chat. Shhhhh – she’s behind you!
Cinderella plays at the Richmond Theatre from Saturday 4 December to Sunday January 2. Find out more here.
Slightly more R-rated than the other entries on this list, this bonkers extravaganza combines drag, burlesque, panto and the Nicole Kidman-starring blockbuster Moulin Rouge with Disney’s Mulan. Yep, you read that correctly. More cabaret than pantomime, this night of fun-filled debauchery will take place in our favourite Waterloo haunt – The Vaults – and will involve plenty of fun and interactive frolics from the game all-drag cast. You’ll also get to wine and dine like a king (or queen) – baked camembert, braised lamb shoulder and a crispy kadaidi pastry with miso salted caramel are all on the menu. Note to self – as the saying goes, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’, so make sure you dress to impress!
Tickets are on sale now and shows run on Wednesdays and Sundays. Join the circus and get involved here.
10. Snow White and the Seven Merry Men at The Rialto
Strictly for adults-only, this hilarious show is from the team that brought you Sinderfella – A Lad In Soho and Jack and His Giant Bigstalk… you get the vibe. Follow characters including Queen Genetalia, Fag Hag and Prince Donkey Dick on a bawdy romp that includes traditional panto fare, rude gags and camp disco classics including ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Like A Virgin’ and Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’. Expect lots of frivolity and raunchiness throughout the show which more than earns its place in this lost of the best pantos in London.
The show runs at The Rialto from Friday 10 December to Sunday 16 January – get involved in the fun here.
Wanting to get outta London but still feeling in the panto mood? Why not have a holly jolly horrible Christmas at this drive-in car park panto which is touring Duxford and Chelmsford.
Also published on Medium.