GT Stage


Ah, the theatre. There would be no world without it.

Oscar Wilde called it the most immediate way in which a human being can share a sense of what it is to be a human being with another. William Shakespeare cited ‘the world is a stage’. And Les Dennis just needed a bit of spare cash. Yes, we are of course talking about Panto Season. It's upon us already, like Nan’s sherry trifle, to that time again where we gather together, families, friends, and sniggering agents, to see which Corrie actors have been killed off in the Christmas special a bit early. Tis the season to be very, very confused, as we look at some of 2012’s more – creatively inspiring - previews this month .

Starring: Gareth ‘Welsh rugby player who is not Charlotte Church’s ex’ Thomas (pictured above)
Description: Well, it’s ‘the plot of Aladdin’, but as written by Are You Being Served writers of course! An enchanting foray into the Arabian Nights, laced with projectile innuendo omits. Mostly – this will be less a delve into the Cave of Wonders, more an insight into a popular sportsman’s nipples.
Innuendo Watch: Look out for “You can rub my lamps anyway you like” “Jafar’s staffs’ and Jasmine being introduced to her ‘magic carpet’. Oh dear. Oh, and perhaps for some more culturally relevant Y2k nonsense – someone will reference Celebrity Big Brother, if anybody actually knows what a ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ even is anymore. Aside from Paul Ross, obviously.
Runs until:  2nd January
Location: Stwit Theatre, Wrexham

(already dunnit)


Starring: Paul O Grady
Description: Paul O Grady will be dusting off the past 20 years, and adjusting back into the corset straps of his old alter-ego Lily Savage. And you know, again, somewhere down the line – something Aladdin-ny might happen (p.s. we love it)
Innuendo Watch: See above for our attempts. We’ll let the Master of WinkWinkNudgeNudge take the bullet on this occasion.

Runs until: Jan 3rd

Location: O2 Greenwich, London

Starring: Floella Benjamin, Andrew Hayden-Smith, John Lyons 
Description: Bit of a strange combination? Maybe there was a Cbeebies Christmas party that got out of hand last year and these three lost a drunken bet. Either way, Floella Benjamin stars as Cinderella in the classic romantic journey of a young abandoned sister who catapulted herself into the glitz and glamour of a world that finally accepted her, or The Original Dannii Minogue story. Is this going to be as good as the Brandy/Whoopi Goldberg/Whitney Houston version from the mid-90s? No. If you accidently fall into a glass of Baileys and a Youtube browser for this one over Christmas, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. 
Innuendo Watch: “It’s not the first time she’s been too big for a slip-on garment, let me tell you that!” 
Runs until: 6th January
Location: The Broadway Theatre, Catford


Starring: Nigel Havers, Julian Clary, Lee Mead
Description: Nigel Havers stars as Nigel Havers, staring at his career in a mirror, wondering why it looks like a reverse sketch of Darwin’s Evolution of Man.

Innuendo Watch: As a matter of fact, I’ve just been manhandling an old sow with Norman Lamont!

Runs until: 19th Jan (Will the office mind them taking that much time off?)

Location: Mayflower, Southampton


Starring: Nikki Grahame, Philip Oliver, Sonia
Description: Amazing. A powerhouse of acting talent of Big Brother 7’s Nikki Graham. (Her impression of a freezing  inuit is to die for.) that bloke from Clinton Cards calendars, and Sonia! Will she live up to the task of acting role of a pre-menstrual lifetime, the evil stepmother? It’s a mystery! Oh wait. That was Toyah.
IW: “I couldn’t find a pumpkin, Fairy Godmother, but will this middle-aged Hollyoaks actor’s parsnip do?

Runs until: 6th Jan

Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK AGAIN! (Christ, could they not Wikipedia search an Aesop’s fable or something?)

Starring: John Barrowman, The Krankies, and glaring inevitability.
Description: As far as Panto-culture goes, this is pretty much Mecca. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon style-panto. Although the press release boasting “amazing 3D special effects.” is probably much more likely to just be Jimmy Krankie sat on your lap.
Innuendo Watch: Well it’s John Barrowman, so these will be first-rate, three tier innuendos. Not just your standard “Ooh, what a big stalk.” We’re talking more: “Honey, if those magic beans are helping the economy, I don't think that's a referendum in your pocket!"
Runs until: 6th January
Location: SECC Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow


Starring: George Sampson, Larry Lamb
Description: A spectacular journey to Never-Never Land. Or in this case: If my Waterloo Road Contract Doesn’t Get Renewed Land.  
Innuendo Watch: That entirely depends on if George Sampson has hit puberty yet.
Runs until: 6th January
Location: Assembly Rooms, Derby


Starring: Craig Revel Harwood, Ann Widecombe
Description: Hot on the tail of Barrowman and the Krankies, comes “Oscars for Panto Performances” Craig Revel Horwood taking a directorial and starring turn in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, featuring Anne Widecombe. Sorry, was that ‘Oscars’, or TV Quick awards? The casting of Ann may seem like an odd choice, but when you consider her views on the world, setting her in the 1800s should leave her right at home.

Innuendo Watch: “Ann, your petticoat is caught in your leggings.”

Runs until: 5th Jan

Location: Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe


Starring: The Chuckle Brothers

Description: Not necessary.

Innuendo Watch: Definitely not necessary.

Runs until: 6th Jan 

Location: Hull New Theatre 

Words: Sophie Hall

More from GT Stage