Let’s hear it for this year’s panto at Harrogate Theatre

NADV 1211081AM2 Panto cast. Simple Simon (Tim Stedman) and Dame Trott(Chris Clarkson). Picture : Adrian Murray (1211081AM2)
NADV 1211081AM2 Panto cast. Simple Simon (Tim Stedman) and Dame Trott(Chris Clarkson). Picture : Adrian Murray (1211081AM2)
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It’s here! The ever-popular annual pantomime starts today, Friday at Harrogate Theatre, writes Graham Chalmers.

Packed with everyone’s favourite pantomime characters, Jack & The Beanstalk will combine spectacular scenery, jokes galore, magic and sparkle - all of which makes Harrogate Theatre’s pantomime a festive family favourite throughout the district.

Traditional with a contemporary twist, Sir Ian McKellen described Harrogate Theatre’s 2010 pnatoDick Whittington as “witty and inventive. The best panto I’ve ever seen.” And that’s a man who knows his panto dames.

This is the fourth collaboration for co-writers, Harrogate Theatre chief executive David Bown and Phil Lowe, who also directs, and the 13th appearance for Harrogate panto stalwart and resident buffoon, Tim Stedman.

But that isn’t where the goodies end in Harrogate’s festive stocking this year. December is packed with perfect parcels of entertainment, kicking off with straight-talking funny woman, Jenny Éclair at Harrogate Theatre on Thursday, December 6 with her new show, Éclairious.

Stand-out stand-up Greg Davies has already sold-out his Royal Hall gig on Thursday, December 13 but the Hyena Club Christmas Cracker at Harrogate Theatre on Saturday, December 22 promises festive funny-times.

The visiting comedy stars include Irish raconteur Brendan Dempsey, natural storyteller Andrew Ryan and energetic gagsmith Kevin Dewsbury. Gregarious Scouser Brendan Riley is the night’s host.

There’s also plenty to enjoy for music fans in the district, topped off by Kate Rusby at Christmas at the Saturday, Royal Hall on December 8 which, sadly for fans of this brilliant modern folk singer, is already sold out.

Nostalgia fans are to be transported back to when swing was swinging, crooners were crooning and some of Hollywood’s most notable films were released.

Forces Sweethearts At Christmas brings its popular wartime sing-a-long show to the Royal Hall on Wednesday, December 12 to celebrate some of the greatest singers from 1940s.

This afternoon of classics, features all the old favourites including top Christmas tunes such as White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, I’ll Be Home For Christmas and many more.

Alongside festive favourites are songs from the original forces’ sweethearts Vera Lynn, Judy Garland and The Andrew Sisters. Concert-goers are invited to celebrate Christmas 1940s style, with bags of Blitz spirit and loads of sparkle.

The Royal Hall will host a Viennese Strauss Christmas Gala on Friday, December 14 presented by The British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra featuring operetta star Marilyn Hill Smith in the run-up to Christmas.

Plus there’s Jake & Elwood’s Christmas Party which includes the hits of the Blues Brothers and classic 60s soul on Friday, December 21.

For tickets, telephone 01423 502116 or book online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk