Dec 15 2012 Chester Chronicle
STARTING THIS WEEK
ALADDIN (Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay, December 22-January 5)
FAMILY pantomime telling the traditional story of Aladdin, his love for the beautiful Princess Lotus Blossom, his clash with the evil Abanazar and, of course, his discovery of a magic lamp. Starring Stuart Loughland as Widow Twankey and Jayne Loughland as the Spirit of the Ring. Call 01492 872000 or vist www.venucecymru.co.uk.
HUMBUG! (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, December 22-January 5)
WRITER-director Tim Baker has turned Dickens’ timeless story A Christmas Carol into a fantastic family show, presented by the Clwyd Theatr Cymru Theatre for Young People to commemorate the bicentenary of the great writer’s birth in 1812. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
KNICK KNACK AND DOO DAD (The Lowry, Salford Quays, December 27-January 5)
WHAT’S big and smelly and floats on the water? A big smelly rubbish island! And that’s where we find our heroes, Knick Knack and Doo Dad, living on a huge pile of all the things we’ve thrown away over the year. They might be shipwrecked and forgotten but they love to invent, turning all our scrap into brilliant new things. But how can they celebrate Christmas with no shops and no money? Suitable for ages 3+. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
ALADDIN (The Stiwt, Broad Street, Rhos, Wrexham, December 11-January 2)
FOR A thrilling third year, LHK Productions presents a fun for all the family pantomime production, this time starring Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas as the Genie of the Lamp. Make all your wishes come true this festive season and be sure to join this magical carpet ride to exotic lands with a classic tale of love and magic. Call 01978 841300 or visit www.boxofficestiwt.co.uk.
ARABIAN NIGHTS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, November 30-January 12)
LONG, long ago in a faraway land, there lived a clever young girl named Shahrazad. And there was nothing she liked better than to read stories. Longing to free her town and its vengeful king from the dark demons that haunt them, she brings to life the magical stories One Thousand and One Nights. Dominic Cooke’s production is a richly imaginative, enthralling and funny delight that will kep children and adults spellbound. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, November 17-January 19)
THE greatest Christmas classic of them all has been adapted and directed by New Vic artistic director Theresa Haskins and brought to the stage by the creative team behind Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the true meaning of Christmas during one ghostly night in Dickens’ London. With lavish costumes, wondeful music, magical staging and lots of laughter. Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Chester Town Hall, until December 23)
THEATRE in the Quarter follow up past successes like The Forgotten Fortress with a new stage adaptation of the universally loved seasonal tale by Charles Dickens about the hated miser Ebenezer Scrooge whose life is about to change forever when he is visited by three ghosts one frosty Christmas Eve. Actors, carollers, schoolchildren and a community choir tell the tale with the help of live music and film. Call 0845 241 7868.
CINDERELLA (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, November 30-December 31)
IMAGINE Theatre are delighted to return to Crewe to present one of the most popular rags to riches tales of all time. Cinderella dreams of escaping the life she has fallen into. With the arrival of invitations to Prince Charming's grand ball, it seems she may get her wish. However, the Ugliest Sisters in pantoland are determined to keep her as their servant, but with the help of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother and a generous helping of panto magic perhaps her dreams will come true after all? The spectacular scenery, breathtaking costumes, fabulous songs and hilarious knock-about comedy make this one of the best traditional family pantomimes around. Call 01270 686777 or visit www.lyceumtheatre.net.
CINDERELLA (Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, Liverpool, December 7-January 6)
A CORKER of a celebrity cast has been lined-up as a festive treat for all the family. Liverpool’s princess of 80s and 90s pop Sonia will take the role of Baroness Hardup. Keeping Cinders’ spirits high will be former Brookside and Hollyoaks pin-up Philip Olivier who will be donning his finest bellboy suit as he becomes Buttons. Big Brother 2006 star Nikki Grahame crops up as the Fairy Godmother. Call 0844 888 4411 or visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk.
CINDERELLA (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, December 8-30)
PETER Swingler, the driving force behind the successful Tip Top Productions, is stepping back on stage again to play a pivotal part in this year’s pantomime. Swingler will play Zumba Hardup, one of the ugly sisters in the classic fairytale panto. His sidekick sibling, Pilates Hardup, will be played by John Lindop. Visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk or call 01244 341296.
CINDERELLA (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, December 13-January 4)
AFTER his record-breaking run of pantomimes from 2005 to 2010, Jonathan Wilkes returns to the Regent Theatre . Jonathan captured the hearts of panto lovers and now he’s back to reclaim his crown as the region’s favourite panto star! Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
CINDERELLA (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, December 14-January 6)
PANTO returns to the Liverpool Empire in 2012 from First Family Entertainment with an all-star cast. With a wave of her magic wand, queen of daytime TV Coleen Nolan will be bringing Christmas magic as The Fairy Godmother. Our very own Cinderella, former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon, is returning to her native city to play the lead role. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
DICK WHITTINGTON - THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 23-January 26)
THE team behind such past festive hits as Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood return with another fabulous rock ‘n’ roll panto. A cast of 10 multi-talented actor-musicians spice up the traditional panto magic with more than 20 hit songs. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
HANSEL AND GRETEL (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, December 4-January 12)
TAKE a trip with Hansel and Gretel deep into the magical forest, where the trees are alive, wonderful creatures roam and a house made of sweets stands proud in the sparkling moonlight. Make friends with a not-so-helpful bird, face a wicked witch and eat sweets and cakes along the way! With jolly songs, belly laughs, heroes and villains, all topped off with a sprinkling of magic. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, November 30-January 19)
THE Liverpool Playhouse stages the city’s now legendary rock ‘n’ roll panto for the festive season - taking over from the Everyman which is under refurbishment - packed with timeless hit songs, hilarious slapstick and colourful sets. Directed by Mark Chatterton who co-writes wth Sarah A Nixon. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, December 14-January 13)
THE Brindley’s great festive pantomime this year features Coronation Street's Bruno Langley as Jack. Also featuring Nick Newbould as Silly Billy, Jamie Greer as Dame Trott and Paula Bell as Queen Blunderbore. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
THE LION KING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, December 1-March 31)
ONE of the biggest success stories in musical theatre history comes to Manchester for four months, directed by Julie Taymor and featuring songs from the hit Disney movie. Members of the cast hail from 12 different countries with the roles of Young Simba and Young Nala to be played by local talent. The company is made up of 46 members including Cleveland Cathnott, who is currently part of the London company of The Lion King and will be playing the role of Mufasa. Stephen Carlile will take on the role of Scar while Nicholas Nkuna makes his UK debut as Simba. Carol Stenett will continue her role as Nala from the West End production and Gugwana Dlamini will return to her previous role of Rafiki. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
PETER PAN (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, December 8-January 13)
DAVID Hasselhoff, best known for the iconic roles of Michael Knight in Knight Rider and Mitch Buchanan in Baywatch, will play the evil Captain Hook, and returning to the Opera House stage by popular demand, Tam Ryan stars as Smee. Amy Bird stars as Peter Pan. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
PETER PAN (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, December 8-30)
BLUE Peter presenter Barney Harwood is the star of the show at Llandudno this festive season in the title role of this spectacular panto. Joining him will be Venue Cymru panto regular, comedian John Evans, playing Smee in this unforgettable story of crocodiles, lost boys, pirates and fairies with Isobel Hathaway as Tinkerbell. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
PETER PAN (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, Dcember 13-January 6)
MAGICAL pantomime which is guaranteed to be awash with swash and buckle. The role of Peter Pan will be taken by Jack McMullen who is best known for appearing as Finn Sharkey in Waterloo Road. Gary Turner, otherwise known as Carlos Diaz in Emmerdale and the evil Nathan Blake in Hollyoaks – Let Loose, will be the dastardly Captain Hook. And for the younger members of the family, Derek Moran will be joining the cast as the hilarious Smee, direct from Channel 5’s Milkshake. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
RATS’ TALES (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, November 29-January 12)
RATS’ TALES brings together a dark and magical cycle of folk tales from around the world, to create an unforgettable evening for everyone with an imagination. Packed with thrills, laughs, loves and more than a bit of magic, it explores the power of storytelling to create a theatrical event, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy continues her exciting collaboration with the Royal Exchange to create an unmissable experience that will astound audiences. The Exchange also welcomes renowned theatre-maker Melly Still (award-winning director of Coram Boy and Beasts and Beauties) as she brings the theatre to life, mixing live music, stunning visuals and playful storytelling. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
THE TEAR THIEF (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, December 11-29)
EACH night, in the hours between supper and bedtime The Tear Thief soundlessly steals the tears of every child who cries. But what does she do with all those tears? Find out in this beautiful adaptation of Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy’s book, brought to life by the magical puppetry of the Little Angel Theatre – with live music. Suitable for ages 3+. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
TERRY TITTER’S SPACED OUT CHRISTMAS (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, December 12-22)
GO INTO orbit this year with Captain Terry Titter and his cosmic comedy themed festive silly super-nova. With his usual galaxy of out-of-this-world star characters, plus a few sci-fi surprises, it promises to be a rocket fuelled big bang of brilliance. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
WHITE CHRISTMAS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, November 29-January 5)
THE Irving Berlin musical returns to The Lowry following a critically acclaimed run in 2009. Claire Sweeney will star as Betty Haynes while Wendi Peters takes on the role of Martha Watson in a show packed with classic hits such as Blue Skies, How Deep Is The Ocean?, Sisters and, of course, the unforgettable title song. This multi-million pound production is full of tap dancing, lavish sets and beautiful costumes. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
THE ACCRINGTON PALS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, January 17-February 16)
ON THE eve of the First World War the young men of Accrington hear Kitchener’s call for a New Army and become the smallest town in England to raise a Pals Volunteer Brigade. When they arrive in France, the brutal reality of the trenches is beyond anything they were prepared for. And back home amongst the women they leave behind – their mothers, wives, daughters, lovers – nothing can ever be the same again. Peter Whelan’s epic and deeply humane play, dramatises the lives of ordinary people caught up in historical events. Funny, intimate and moving, the play charts the fortunes of a close-knit community on the brink of change. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
THE ART OF FALLING APART (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, January 9-26)
BIG Wow return with their sell-out hit show following out-of-sorts people living out-of-kilter lives. The sow has been described as “loud, non-stop and impeccably timed, perfectly paced with the occasional moment of sentiment and all this is thoughtfully underwritten with an astute reflection on what it means to be alive”. Performed by Tim Lynskey and Matt Rutter, scripted and directed by Robert Farquhar. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
BLOOD WEDDING (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Mount Street, Liverpool, March 7-9)
A CLASSIC play from 1933 by Federico Garcia Lorca, performed by third year acting students, which evokes the heat and passion of Spain with a young bride-to-be’s family unaware of the emotions lurking beneath the ties of family and duty. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
DIRTY DANCING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, May 21-June 15)
AN UNPRECEDENTED live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensationally sexy dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash-hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping I've Had The Time of My Life. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
DRIVING MISS DAISY (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 29-February 2)
HAVING broken box office records on Broadway and played to sell-out crowds in London, David Esbjornson’s award-winning smash hit production has dazzled audiences and critics alike. It tells the charming, poignant and compelling tale of the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prickly, elderly southern matriarch and her kind-hearted chauffeur. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
EARTHQUAKES IN LONDON (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Mount Street, Liverpool, February 21-23)
A NEW play by Mike Bartlett performed by third year acting students. A brilliant scientist but dysfunctional father predicts global doom while his three daughters struggle to keep their lives on track in this epic rollercoater of a play. Taking us from 1968 to 2525 and back again, it explores our anxiety about the future of the planet and our ability, nevertheless, to enjoy the excesses of today. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
EDUCATING RITA (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 28-April 5)
WILLY Russell’s classic character comedy comes to the Clwyd stage in a production directed by Emma Lucia. Rita is unhappy with her job and the low expectations of those around her. So she embarks on an Open University course in English literature which brings her into contact with tutor Frank, a failed poet whose cynicism has led him to take solace in the bottle. Their encounter will change both of their lives forever. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
HORMONAL HOUSEWIVES (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, April 24)
THE girls return in 2013 with hilarious all-new sketches, as well as all the very best bits from last time round. Looking at everything that makes today's woman tick (or ticked off). Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
I'M SPILLING MY HEART OUT HERE (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 14-16)
YOU'RE growing up and you're not quite sure what you know about yourself or anybody else. Exams, dates, best mates - it's a daily scramble across no-man's land. This is the story of ten teenagers and their world. The Young Company is the Royal Exchange’s resident company for young people aged 14-21 years. Throughout the year the Young Company will take part in an exciting and unique programme of projects and events, which will include working alongside industry professionals and going behind the scenes with backstage tours and technical theatre training. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
IN A PICKLE (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 29-February 2)
A NEW total theatre experience for ageds 2-4. Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, the young audience is taken on a voyage of discovery through the landscape’s of the Bard’s imagination and the music of his language. An Oily Cart/Royal Shakespeare Company co-production. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
THE MISANTHROPE (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, February 15-March 9)
DISGUSTED with French society, where powdered tops gossip in code and bejewelled coquettes whisper behind fans, poet Alceste embarks on a one-man crusade against fakery, frippery and forked tongues. But could the woman he adores be the worst culprit of them all? Following the huge success of Tartuffe and The Hypochondriac, this reunites writer Roger McGough and director Gemma Bodinetz with the works of Moliere. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
THE MOUSETRAP (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, February 18-23)
ONE of the world’s longest running stage productions is embarking on its first ever UK tour. Agatha Christie’s record breaking production has entered its 60th year in London’s West End. To mark the anniversary, Mousetrap Productions has licensed 60 productions world-wide including this one at the Regent. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, January 14-19)
AN HILARIOUS story of friendship, gossip and revenge featuring the music of country superstar Dolly Parton. Direct from Broadway, based on the hit movie, the musical centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, bigot of a boss. The UK cast includes Natalie Casey and Bonnie Langford. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
ONE MAN, TWO GUV’NORS (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, January 2-5)
AFTER a sell-out season at The Lowry in 2011, the National Theatre’s smash-hit comedy – which has since become a West End and Broadway sensation – makes a triumphant return. Richard Bean’s award-winning play is a glorious celebration of British comedy: a unique mix of satire, songs and slapstick. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to two guvnors who, for complicated reasons, he must keep apart. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
ONE MAN, TWO GUV’NORS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 8-19)
AFTER a sell-out season at The Lowry in 2011, the National Theatre’s smash-hit comedy – which has since become a West End and Broadway sensation – makes a triumphant return. Richard Bean’s award-winning play is a glorious celebration of British comedy: a unique mix of satire, songs and slapstick. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to two guvnors who, for complicated reasons, he must keep apart. Jodie Prenger, winner of BBC TV’s I’d Do Anything, will take the role of Dolly. Actor, stand-up comedian and presenter Rufus Hound will play Francis Henshall. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
RAPE OF THE FAIR COUNTRY (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 14-March 9)
COMPELLING drama by Alexander Cordell that captures a family’s role in their nation’s turbulent past. It is 1826 - the Mortymers are a Welsh family caught in the bitter crossfire between their English employers and the early trade union movement. Moments of warm humour and great poignancy abound as we are swept from the fiery hell of the furnaces to the icy stillness of a Welsh mountainside and on to bloody scenes of rebellion. Directed by Tim Baker and adapted by Manon Eames. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
SWAN LAKE (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 15-17)
MOSCOW City Ballet is currently at its outstanding artistic best - winning new invitations to perform internationally. This is their signature piece of their entire repertoire. The orchestra, choreography, interpretation, beauty and outstanding virtuoso performance win repeatedly rave reviews. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.