Lots of pan­tos to see - oh no there’s not, oh yes there is!

IF YOU FANCY A TRA­DI­TIONAL PAN­TOMIME, MU­SI­CAL SHOW OR MOD­ERN THE­ATRE, CHECK OUT OUR LIST...

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By EMMA GILL news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

NOTH­ING quite gets you in the fes­tive spirit like a Christ­mas pan­tomime or show - and there are plenty on of­fer in Manch­ester this year.

With a host of fam­ily favourites in­clud­ing Cinderella, Snow White and Aladdin there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one.

With the fes­tive sea­son al­most upon us, tick­ets are al­ready sell­ing fast for many of th­ese shows, so don’t hang around if you want to be sure of get­ting some good seats. Here’s what’s on across the re­gion...

CINDERELLA, MANCH­ESTER OPERA HOUSE

SINGER and the­atre star Gareth Gates is join­ing Coro­na­tion Street’s Con­nor McIn­tyre and Les Den­nis in Manch­ester’s big­gest pan­tomime this year.

The Pop Idol run­ner-up will star as Prince Charm­ing in Cinderella while Con­nor and Les will be the Ugly Sis­ters .

The cast in­cludes other char­ac­ters, co­me­dian Ben Nick­less as But­tons, CBBC’s Shan­non Flynn as Cinderella and soul singer Hay­ley-Ria Chris­tian as the Fairy God­mother. With most of them hail­ing from the north west, pro­duc­ers Qdos En­ter­tain­ment say this year’s show will have a dis­tinctly Manch­ester feel.

It’s run­ning from Satur­day, December 8 to Satur­day, December 30. Tick­ets, cost­ing from £12, can be booked on­line .

DOC­TOR DOLITTLE, THE LOWRY, SAL­FORD

‘STUN­NING vis­ual pup­petry’ is promised in this year’s Christ­mas pro­duc­tion at The Lowry.

Doc­tor Dolittle will star Mark Wil­liams as the ec­cen­tric Doc­tor, while for­mer Coro­na­tion Stars Brian Capron (Richard Hill­man) and Vicky En­twistle (Jan­ice Bat­tersby) will play Albert Blos­som/Straight Ar­row and Poly­ne­sia the par­rot.

The new pro­duc­tion, with the book re­worked by Les­lie Bri­cusse, will be part of the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the orig­i­nal film star­ring Rex Har­ri­son and will fea­ture the same songs, in­clud­ing the Academy Award-win­ning Talk To The An­i­mals.

Wil­liams is known for his roles in The Fast Show, Fa­ther Brown, 101 Dal­ma­tians, The Bor­row­ers, Shake­speare In Love and seven of the Harry Pot­ter films.

The show is run­ning from December 11 to Jan­uary 5. Tick­ets, from £19.50, can be booked on­line .

SNOW WHITE, THE ALBERT HALLS, BOLTON

THE tale of Snow White is a pan­tomime clas­sic and it’s com­ing to The Albert Halls.

Michael Starke, star of Brook­side and Benidorm, will be per­form­ing along­side for­mer X Fac­tor con­tes­tants David Heath and Sam Cal­la­han.

Singer Char­lotte Da­cia will take the lead role of Snow White and, of course, it wouldn’t be the same with­out those trusty dwarfs Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bash­ful, Sneezy and Dopey.

It’s on from December 1 to 30. Tick­ets, from £14, can be booked on­line.

SLEEP­ING BEAUTY, THE PLAZA, STOCK­PORT

THE Plaza al­ways puts on a good show at Christ­mas and this year’s pro­duc­tion prom­ises to be one of the best yet.

Co­me­dian Ted Rob­bins and Em­merdale’s Claire King will both make a wel­come re­turn to the Plaza to star in Sleep­ing Beauty.

The show prom­ises ‘beau­ti­ful cos­tumes, stun­ning sets and spec­tac­u­lar ef­fects’ and is run­ning from November 30 un­til Jan­uary 6.

Tick­ets cost from £13.75 and can be booked on­line .

ALADDIN, MID­DLE­TON ARENA

THE Only Way Is Es­sex star James Ar­gent is play­ing the role of pan­tomime bad­die Abanazar at the Mid­dle­ton Arena.

Af­ter last year’s record-break­ing pro­duc­tion of Sleep­ing Beauty, Shone Pro­duc­tions is back with Aladdin and promis­ing their ‘big­gest, bright­est, most mag­i­cal pan­tomime yet.’

Join­ing James on stage will be Sam Ret­ford (Chan­nel 4’s Ack­ley Bridge’s Cory Wil­son) as Aladdin, Kelsey Beth Cross­ley (Em­merdale’s Scar­lett Ni­cholls and The Voice UK) as Princess Jas­mine, Ruby Murry (Bri­tain’s Got Talent) as Widow Twankey, Ben Coles (Com­edy Star) as Wishee Washee, Emily Portch as The Slave Of The Ring and Paul Flana­gan as The Em­peror Of China.

Per­for­mances are on from December 3 to 30. Tick­ets, from £10.50, can be booked on­line .

THE WON­DER­FUL WIZ­ARD OF OZ, OCTAGON THE­ATRE, BOLTON STA­DIUM

THIS year’s Octagon show is taking place at the Univer­sity of Bolton Sta­dium where it prom­ises to trans­form the Premier Suite into ‘the tech­ni­colour land of Oz.’

Taking the role of Dorothy is Anne O’Rior­dan, who was last seen in the Octagon’s out­door pro­duc­tion of Gul­liver’s Trav­els as Betty.

Anne also per­formed as one of the in­fa­mous Rats in 2016’s fes­tive pro­duc­tion Cinderella.

The clas­sic tale will be told by Alexan­der Bean, Matthew Gan­ley, David Hey­wood, He­len Sheals, Anne O’Rior­dan, Su­fia Manya, Thom Petty along­side two teams of 12 young peo­ple.

Swap­ping her ruby slip­pers for red train­ers and pick­ing up new friends along the way, Dorothy trav­els to the Emer­ald City with Scare­crow, Tin Wood­man, and the cow­ardly Lion, in search of the Great Oz – a won­der­ful wiz­ard from Wi­gan. The pro­duc­tion will run from December 4 to 31. Tick­ets cost from £16 and can be booked on­line .

CINDERELLA, OLD­HAM COLI­SEUM

THERE’S an­other pro­duc­tion of Cinderella run­ning this year, at Old­ham Coli­seum.

It’s one of the long­est run­ning shows, open­ing on November 10 and fin­ish­ing on Jan­uary 12.

Cinderella is one of the na­tion’s favourites and the Coli­seum is promis­ing ‘all the in­gre­di­ents you need for a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.’

There’ll be mu­sic, songs and slap­stick, plus ‘a sprin­kling of fairy dust for the per­fect Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion.’

Tick­ets cost from £13.50 and can be booked on­line .

ALADDIN, THE DANCEHOUSE THE­ATRE, MANCH­ESTER

THERE’S also an­other Aladdin panto on this year, at The Dancehouse The­atre.

The pan­tomime prom­ises ‘belly laughs, glit­ter, glam­our and au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion aplenty.’ Fol­low­ing on from last year’s hit Cinderella, per­form­ers are back with a ‘unique twist on this time­less clas­sic.’

It runs from December 14 to 31. For tick­ets, from £10, book on­line.

LILY AND THE CHRIST­MAS SNOW BEAR, THE MET, BURY

FOR lit­tle ones aged three plus, Lit­tle

Blue Mon­ster re­turns to The Met with Lily and the Christ­mas Snow Bear.

It’s a glit­ter­ing, snowy tale about a lit­tle lost bear and a brave lit­tle girl and is be­ing brought to life ‘with ex­quis­ite pup­pets, en­chant­ing mu­sic and a mag­i­cal snowy set­ting.’

Lily loves to play in the snow – so she sets off to ex­plore. But when she dis­cov­ers a trail of soft lit­tle foot­prints, she finds a baby snow bear.

The pro­duc­tion fol­lows the suc­cess of last year’s Santa’s Lit­tle Helper and prom­ises to be ‘an­other heart­warm­ing fam­ily Christ­mas treat.’

It’s only on from December 20 to 24, so tick­ets , cost­ing from £9.50, are likely to sell out fast.

There are spe­cial schools-only per­for­mances on December 18 and 19 December at 10am and 1.30pm. Teach­ers and group lead­ers can con­tact The Met on 0161 761 2216 for de­tails of prices and how to book.

SLEEP­ING BEAUTY, GRACIE FIELDS THE­ATRE, ROCHDALE

THE pop­u­lar tale is also be­ing brought to the big stage at Gracie Fields The­atre this Christ­mas.

The Chase’s ‘Vixen’ Jenny Ryan is star­ring as Cara­bosse, Gra­ham Cole of The Bill fame as Mer­lin, and Hol­lyoaks’ Milo, Nathan Mor­ris, as The Prince.

Benidorm’s ‘Telle Gar­vey’ Han­nah Hob­ley is Chantelle the fairy and Rochdale panto favourites Ben Sher­lock and Nathan Smith are back as Wally and Dame Gracie.

An­ton Ben­son Pro­duc­tions prom­ise ‘an­other all singing, all danc­ing laugh out loud script.’

Per­for­mances are run­ning from December 22 to 31. Tick­ets, from £14, can be booked on­line .

RAY­MOND BRIGGS’ FA­THER CHRIST­MAS, WA­TER­SIDE ARTS CEN­TRE, SALE

BASED on the book by Ray­mond Briggs, Fa­ther Christ­mas is be­ing brought to life on the stage this Christ­mas.

With plenty of live mu­sic, songs and play­ful pup­petry, this crit­i­cally ac­claimed adap­ta­tion the much-loved book prom­ises to be ‘a de­light­ful fes­tive treat.’

Fol­low­ing on from last year’s The Bear, where lit­tle ones watched the show in their py­ja­mas with cook­ies and milk, the same is be­ing done for Fa­ther Christ­mas.

This time fam­i­lies can pre­book their snacks for £2 each and get them from the cookie col­lec­tion sta­tion on ar­rival.

Per­for­mances are on from December 5 to 31. For tick­ets, from £12.50, book on­line. School per­for­mances are also avail­able with tick­ets cost­ing £9 each and one free teacher ticket for every nine pupils.

WHITE AND SLAP­STICK, HOME, MANCH­ESTER

Fam­i­lies have not one but two the­atre shows to choose from at HOME.

From the ‘ut­terly charm­ing and im­mer­sive’ White for lit­tle ones aged two to four, to the ‘cap­ti­vat­ing and en­ter­tain­ing Dutch mu­si­cal ex­plo­sion’ that is Slap­stick, aimed at older chil­dren.

Both pro­duc­tions prom­ise ‘a fan­tas­tic first-time the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence for small peo­ple and a great fes­tive treat for all.’

White is billed as ‘a play­ful, highly vis­ual and fully im­mer­sive show for the very young.’ Chil­dren get to sit on bean bags, not chairs, and wan­der­ing around the white can­vas based set is ac­tively en­cour­aged.

In Slap­stick, there’s ‘mu­si­cal may­hem, vir­tu­oso mu­si­cian­ship and even fly­ing vi­o­lins.’ It’s de­scribed as an ode to the time­less com­edy of Char­lie Chap­lin, the Marx Broth­ers, Spike Jones and Lau­rel and Hardy, but with a very mod­ern twist.

White runs from December 13 to 23, while Slap­stick runs from December 13 to 22. Tick­ets, cost­ing from £7 for White and £10 for Slap­stick , can be booked on­line.

Mark Wil­liams is Doc­tor Dolittle at The Lowry

James Ar­gent from The Only Way is Es­sex stars in Aladdin at Mid­dle­ton Arena

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