John Lyon rounds up the biggest pantos, family theatre shows and alternative Christmas theatre, across the region.
Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple
December 15 to January 5
THE journey into the enchanted world of Sherwood Forest stars Laura Main (Call The Midwife) as Maid Marian and Aston Dobson as Robin Hood (read our interview with him on page 2). Expect traditional panto fun in the re-telling of the classic legend. Tickets: from £10 to £19. Box office: 01271 324242.
Jingle All The Way
Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe
December 8 and December 9
ALWAYS hugely popular, the Landmark's seasonal variety show, led by Small Pond Productions, promises to be masses of silly fun. Turn to page 4 for all the details. Tickets: £10. Box office: 01271 324242.
Theatre Royal, Plymouth
December 14 to January 19
ONE of British panto's Great Dames, Christopher Biggins, could well be upstaged by TV favourite Basil Brush, as comedian Julian Clary was with Orville The Duck last year.
Sarah the Cook, played by Biggins will be dishing out huge helpings of comedy aided and abetted by the loveable Basil as Alderman Foxwarren. Sam Cassidy plays Dick, the young man making his way to London to find fortune. Local comedian Ben Nickless as Simple Simon ensures comedy takes centre stage.
Biggins has enjoyed a successful career in television, film and theatre. His television appearances include being crowned King of the Jungle on ITV's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and winning Celebrity Come Dine with Me on Channel 4. Basil has celebrated more than 40 years in entertainment. Sam Cassidy has established himself as an outstanding musical theatre performer.
Tickets: £10-£26. Box office: 01752 267222.
The Snail And The Whale
December 12 to December 30
ONCE again traditional pantomime takes a back seat after the successful alternative fun family shows, Room On The Broom and We're Going On A Bear Hunt. Tall Stories, creators of The Gruffalo, bring their latest adaptation inspired by the work of Storybook Soldiers, who help British military personnel abroad to record bedtime story CDs for their children back home. The amazing journey of the tiny snail is seen through the eyes of an adventurous young girl – who would love to be going round the world with her sea-faring father. Tickets: £10. Box office: 01392 493493.
Exeter Corn Exchange
December 15 to January 6
EXETER'S favourite dame, Steve Bennett, stars as Widow Twankey, his 17th consecutive panto appearance in the city, having built a fine reputation at the Northcott before it stopped producing theatre. He's supported by a professional company with years of West End experience. The story is told with merriment and melody plus a big dollop of slapstick fun and sing-alongs. Tickets: £13-£19.50. Box office: 01392 665938.
The Wind in The Willows
December 7 to January 5
ALL the family will enjoy this charming world of companionship, boating and picnicking when lovable Mole joins kind-hearted Ratty, brave Badger and the bumptious Mr Toad.
This classic tale is set in 1936 and the world is changing fast: motorcars are more powerful, swing is the latest music craze and the old class system is breaking down. Mr Toad's irresponsible living leads to the loss of his beloved home and the four friends have to go to battle to regain Toad Hall.
Filled with music, mysticism, camaraderie, humour and special effects, this much-loved story will enchant all ages. Tickets: £13.50-£17.50 (£5 off for children). Box office: 01823 283244.
Princess Theatre, Torquay
December 14 to January 6
TWO top telly stars feature in Torquay's pantomime. Steve Arnold who played Coronation Street's butcher Ashley Peacock is the charming Prince alongside Last Of The Summer Wine's Tom Owen. Also featuring is Torquay favourite Stuart Wade. Tickets: £11.50 to £23.50. Box office: 0844 8713023.