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Sudbury hosts Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk comes to Clacton this panto season

PUBLISHED: 12:45 06 December 2014

Peter Pan (Karl Lankester) and Wendy Darling (Anna Watson) in The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company's Christmas Spectacular in Neverland. Pictures: Mike Kwasniak.

Peter Pan (Karl Lankester) and Wendy Darling (Anna Watson) in The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company's Christmas Spectacular in Neverland. Pictures: Mike Kwasniak.

www.mikekwasniak.co.uk

The colour and the madness of the panto season makes the theatre world a special place to be. David Henshall takes a look at five new shows

Dame Dolly Dumpling and Snow White from the Marina Theatre pantoDame Dolly Dumpling and Snow White from the Marina Theatre panto

More pantos are ready to roll as we continue our series covering all the Christmas shows in the regions, along with the details of where they are and how to book.

For more panto details see here or here

Christmas Spectacular in Neverland, Co-op Juniors at Snape Maltings, 12 – 21 December

If you don’t know the way to Neverland, the instructions are: Second star to the right and straight on till morning. That’s the journey Peter, Wendy and Co are making with Co-op Juniors this year and they will be flying all the way – the first time something like this has happened from the stage at Snape.

Inspired by J M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, this tenth anniversary show at the famous concert hall is given a new twist in a festive production featuring a cast of 90 in large-scale music and dance numbers.

The Dame (Bryan Thurlow) and The Wolf  in Sudbury Dramatric Society's panto Red Riding HoodThe Dame (Bryan Thurlow) and The Wolf in Sudbury Dramatric Society's panto Red Riding Hood

In magical new settings, our flying hero is ready to defend Wendy, John and Michael and the lost children from the wickedness of Captain Hook and his pirates with a little help from Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and the Neverland Indians. And, of course, there’s always a crocodile lurking around.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lowestoft Marina, 16 December – 3 January

Denise Nolan, one of the famous singing sisters, plays the Wicked Queen in this one as, with the help of her magic mirror, she sets about trying to destroy the one person who is more beautiful than she is. But her plans go awry deep in the forest where seven little diamond miners befriend Snow White and try to keep her safe.

Clacton panto cast - Jack (Paul Rich) turned up along with Princess Jill (Millie Harmann), Dame Trott (Richard Aucott) and Poison Ivy (Natasha Brooke).Clacton panto cast - Jack (Paul Rich) turned up along with Princess Jill (Millie Harmann), Dame Trott (Richard Aucott) and Poison Ivy (Natasha Brooke).

Also involved are Dame Dolly Dumpling, the cook with a menu of mischief and mayhem, and Herman the Queen’s evil henchman. However, as well as the little miners, Snow White has the silly but loveable Muddles on her side.

The Woodland Fairy is another with a part to play but the big question is can she save our pretty heroine by providing a wake-up kiss from the handsome prince? He is played by ITV Superstar finalist, Jon Moses.

Little Red Riding Hood, Sudbury Quay, 12 – 28 December

Local writer Andy Gribben gives this tale a new look in which the beautiful Red Riding Hood is soooo nice that she makes spring come early and this upsets the evil Winter King who want to make it winter for ever. To try and win his wicked way he calls in the Big Bad Wolf to take the red-hooded lovely out of the picture,

Sudbury Dramatic Society have two casts for this one with Brian Thurlow in a frock for the fourth consecutive time as Mrs Hood, with new member Mark Holton as his counterpart. Laura Barnard, recently in the National Music Theatre’s award-winning production of Brass, returns for a second panto as Red Riding Hood – also played by newcomer Naomi McPherson.

Butterflies, Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich, 13 – 22 December

Something different for the young ones (four years and over): Compagnia TPO, one of Italy’s leading children’s theatre companies, tells the story of the evolution of the caterpillar into the butterfly, all done with dance and enhanced by new technology.

Children can watch and sometimes join in if they wish, “painting with their arms, composing lullabies with their feet and chasing caterpillars on all fours” in a very special touchy-feely environment using special images and captivating sounds.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Clacton Princes, 13 December – 3 January

Polka Dot Pantomimes promise plenty of Fee-Fi-Fo-Fun in this traditional treatment of an old favourite show, with Coronation Street’s Charlie Condou as Simple Simon and Richard Aucott as Dame Trott raising plenty of crazy situations.

Audiences will be needed to help as Jack (Paul Rich) gets into trouble climbing up to Giant Blunderbore’s castle as well as being involved with Princess Jill (Millie Harmann) and King Herbert (Nik Jones) to say nothing of Daisy the cow.

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