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The Guide: Pantomimes in Sussex this Christmas
By Chris Bennett
BBC Sussex

Harry Francis as Peter Pan and Granville Saxton as Captain Hook - in Peter Pan at Brighton's Theatre Royal.
Harry Francis as Peter Pan and Granville Saxton as Captain Hook - in Peter Pan at Brighton's Theatre Royal.

Yes, it's that time of year when men become women and thighs are slapped hard in afternoon and early evening.

There's plenty of traditional Panto fare around this Christmas in Sussex, but there are also some different shows if you fancy a change.

This year the Theatre Royal in Brighton has a hard act to follow. Its show last year, the Wizard of Oz, was one of those Christmas experiences that stay with you, in a good way, for a long time.

I will admit to singing along with those great show stoppers from the Judy Garland musical and my kids were so enamoured as well that they didn't even think to ask me to desist.

Todd Carty
Toddy Carty: Buttons in 'Cinderella' at Worthing.

This year the theatre has Peter Pan, a Christmas musical rather than a panto, which is part of a conscious plan by the management to get away from the kind of show which you find more typically in other venues.

Right at the other side of the county, Crawley's Hawth Theatre has Cinderella, with Julian Clary as Dandini.

The Hawth say that this will be its "most glittering pantomime yet" and Julian is joined by Vicky Longley and Danny Bayne.

Julian Clary: Dandini at Crawley
Julian Clary: Dandini at Crawley

Former Eastenders star Todd Carty, who those of us of a certain generation will also remember as Tucker, but which many might recall for his flirtation with stability in ITV's Dancing on Ice, is at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing. He's playing Buttons in the theatre's version of Cinderella.

Tracy Shaw, once of Coronation Street, is also in Worthing as Robinson Crusoe in the show 'Robinson Crusoe', which adds a good deal to the traditional story with characters like Morgana, Ghost of the Sea and a wicked pirate ghost, Davy Jones.

If neither panto nor musicals really work for you, then the Chichester Festival Theatre has The Snow Queen, a musical based on the Hans Christian Anderson story.

It's a production by the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre and will be performed by over 70 local children , following the 175 year old story of little Gerda's quest to find her friend Kay and the Snow Queen.

The Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis has Peter Pan, billed as a 'swashbuckling adventure with a big professional cast'.

Leslie Grantham, once Dirty Den in Eastenders, is in Aladdin at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings.

The Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead is also offering Aladdin - in its case a version produced by the Company of Friends.

And you can see Babes In The Wood from Saturday 9th - Saturday 16th January 2010 in Lewes at the St Marys Social Centre in Christie Road.

It runs Saturdays 2pm & 7pm Sunday 12 noon and 5pm Tue-Fri 7pm. Call the Box Office on 01273 477733.

Lewes: Babes in the Wood


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