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It's panto time

By Ray Edwards
Micheal Batchelor, who plays one of the Ugly Sisters in this year's Marlowe Theatre pantomime, Cinderella

Whether it's watching Ann Widdecombe falling over her two left feet or hearing a few hip hop beats from Vanilla Ice, this year's panto season is one of Kent's best yet. Miss nothing with this pantomime guide

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells

Sleeping Beauty

After playing EastEnders scoundrel Glenda Mitchell, Glynis Barber keeps up appearances as the Bad Fairy. She is joined by Milkshake presenter Derek Moran as Muddles and Christopher Beeny as the King. Best known for her role as Sgt Harriet Makepeace in the British police drama Dempsey & Makepeace, South African actress Glynis' theatre credits include Macbeth, Killing Time with Dennis Waterman, High Flyers with Hugh Grant. Charles Burden is Nanny Glucose and Sophia Thierens is Princess Beauty.

When: Saturday, December 10, to Monday, January 2.

Price: Tickets £15.

Where: Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2LU

Contact: 01892 530613 orwww.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

Vanilla Ice stars as Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Chatham's Central Theatre

Central Theatre, Chatham

Peter Pan

The original hip hop chart-topper, Vanilla Ice, heads the cast which also includes CBeebies presenter Katy Ashworth in the title role. Vanilla Ice takes up the part of Captain Hook and will be flying in from filming in the USA to appear in the show. His hit Ice Ice Baby made him famous worldwide in 1990 but he has since become a TV personality in the States. Katy's children's show I Can Cook has recently returned to screens.

When: Friday, December 9, to Monday, January 2.

Price: Tickets £12.

Where: Central Theatre, 170 High Street, Chatham ME4 4AS

Contact: 01634 338338 orwww.medway.gov.uk/theatrebookings

Patsy Kensit stars as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley

Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Snow White

Patsy Kensit joins Blue Peter presenter Barney Harwood and David Spinx - better known as Keith Miller in EastEnders - for this production of the Disney classic. Patsy has been a famous face since the age of four, when she first appeared in a television advert for Birds Eye frozen peas. Since then the 43-year-old singer and actress has been a famous face of British TV and film, appearing in Lethal Weapon 2, Emmerdale, Holby City and last year's Strictly Come Dancing. She takes on a new guise for the panto as the Wicked Queen.

When: Friday, December 2, to Sunday, January 8.

Cost: From £19.25.

Where: Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley BR1 1HA

Contact: 08448 717 620 orwww.atgtickets.com

Dickens World, Chatham

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

Some the most iconic images from fairytales come from this story, including the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin and the seven dwarfs. Tickets for this traditional pantomime include a hot dog and soft drink before the show.

When: Saturday, December 3, to Friday, December 30.

Price: Tickets £12.50, children £9.50.

Where: Britannia Theatre, Dickens World, Leviathan Way, Chatham Maritime ME4 4LL

Contact: 01634 890421 orwww.dickensworld.co.uk

Granville Theatre, Ramsgate

Jack & The Beanstalk

Fee, fi, foe, fum! Big Brother's Nasty Nick Bateman stars as Baron Fleshcreep, while there is a return for Frank Tucker as Dame Trott. Villified for cheating in the first ever series of the Channel 4 show, Nick won over the British public as he re-entered the house for Ultimate Big Brother last year. These days he is a blogger for KentOnline. The production is put together by theatre director James Darnley.

When: Friday, December 9, to Monday, January 2.

Price: Tickets £11.

Where: Granville Theatre, Victoria Parade, Ramsgate CT11 8DG

Contact: 01843 591750 orwww.granvilletheatre.com

Jeremy Edwards stars as Aladdin at Maidstone's Hazlitt Theatre

Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone


Holby City and Hollyoaks star Jeremy Edwards takes up the lead role alongside Sapphire Elia - who played Mia Macey in Emmerdale - and Gary Damer, known as Lenny from CBBC's Hotel Trubble. A former model and presenter, Jeremy made his name during four years as Danny Shaughnessy in Hollyoaks and was engaged to former S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens.

When: Saturday, December 3, to Sunday, January 15.

Tickets: From £13.50.

Where: Hazlitt Arts Centre, Earl Street, Maidstone ME14 1PL

Contact: 01622 758611 orwww.maidstonepanto.co.uk

Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

Jack and The Beanstalk

Laugh along as Jack sells his cow for magic beans and then climbs the beanstalk in this show by Folkestone-based C.T.P. Productions. The team presented Aladdin and Cinderella for the past two years and promise to bring amazing costumes and beautiful sets.

When: Friday, December 23 to Saturday, January 7.

Price: Tickets £17.

Where: Leas Cliff Hall, The Leas, Folkestone CT20 2DZ

Contact: 01303 228600 orwww.leascliffhall.co.uk

Margate Winter Gardens

Dick Whittington

Follow Dick and his Cat on their journey to London. Setting sail to foreign lands they must fight off the evil King Rat in an attempt to save the day and win the heart of the beautiful Alice Fitzwarren. Presented by MOS pantomimes, the traditional tale has been put together by Stuart Clements and Harcus Copper.

When: Thursday, December 1, to Sunday, December 4.

Price: Tickets £10, concessions £8.50, families £35.

Address: Winter Gardens, Fort Crescent, Margate CT9 1HX

Contact: 01843 296111 orwww.margatewintergardens.co.uk

Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury


Topping the bill is John Partridge who plays Christian in EastEnders. Returning to the Marlowe for the third time is Britain's Got More Talent and Magic Numbers presenter Stephen Mulhern. Also appearing are Sue Devaney from Dinner Ladies and Kent comedian Dave Lee, with Kate Quinnell as Cinderella. John first appeared in EastEnders in 2008 but before his mainstream success he was trained as a ballet dancer and performed in Cats. He takes up the role of Prince Charming.

When: Friday, December 2, to Sunday, January 22.

Price: Tickets £10 to £25.50.

Where: The Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS

Contact: 01227 787787 orwww.marlowetheatre.com

Ex-Kent MP Ann Widdecombe stars as the Widdy in Waiting alongside Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Dartford's Orchard Theatre

Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood plays the Wicked Queen while former Kent MP and Strictly contestant Ann Widdecombe becomes the Widdy in Waiting. Ann will be equipped with the banter which she used to deal with Craig's harsh criticism when the two clashed in last year's BBC1 show. It was Craig's idea to bring Ann into the pantomime fold after they were such a hit dancing together on this year's Strictly Come Dancing national tour.

When: Friday, December 9, to New Year's Eve.

Price: From £19.

Where: The Orchard Theatre, Home Gardens, Dartford DA1 1ED

Contact: 01322 220000 orwww.orchardtheatre.co.uk

Leslie Grantham will play the Demon King in Mother Goose at Sevenoaks' Stag Theatre

Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks

Mother Goose

Best known as Dirty Den in EastEnders, Leslie Grantham stars as the Demon King. Britain's ultimate baddie is joined by another villain, Terrence Hardiman, who played the title role in the Demon Headmaster. Terrence will show his nicer side as Squire Skinflint while soul singer Nate James, who has sold more than a quarter of a million albums worldwide, plays Colin Goose. Panto regulars Robert Pearce and Ant Payne also appear.

When: Friday, December 9, to Friday, January 6.

Price: Tickets £15.50.

Where: Stag Community Arts Centre, London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ

Contact: 01732 450175 orwww.stagsevenoaks.co.uk

Theatre Royal, Margate

Hansel & Gretel

From the same team that put on last year's Pinocchio and before that Ali Baba and the Snow Queen, this production sends its protagonists into the woods to fend for themselves. Discover the deadly gingerbread house and cheer as the brother and sister defeat the Old Witch who wants to fatten them up for her dinner.

When: Thursday, December 8, to New Year's Eve.

Price: Tickets £14.

Where: Theatre Royal Margate, Addington Street, Margate CT9 1PW

Contact: 0845 130 1786 orwww.theatreroyalmargate.com

The Brook Theatre, Chatham

The Christmas Adventure of Snowy the Fox

Every year Snowy the Fox and the creatures of the Magical Christmas Circus put on a show for Father Christmas but when a piece of his present goes missing, he must go on a journey searching high and low for it.

When: Wednesday, December 7, to Christmas Eve.

Price: Tickets £6.95.

Address: Old Town Hall, 5 The Brook, Town Centre, Chatham

Contact: 01634 338338 orwww.medway.gov.uk/theatrebookings

Woodville Halls Theatre, Gravesend

Sleeping Beauty

Director and panto dame Michael Fenton Stevens is joined by fellow panto stars Roy Weskin who plays King Bumble, Michael James as Josh the Jester, Ellie Chidzey as Carabosse the bad fairy and Lauren Harrison, who takes the title role of Princess Belle, the Sleeping Beauty. Produced by Imagine Theatre, the panto has even launched its own mobile app, Splatt, where players launch custard pies and cream cakes at the panto dame.

When: Saturday, December 10, to Sunday, January 1.

Price: Tickets £10.

Where: Woodville Halls Theatre, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU

Contact: 01474 337774 orwww.gravesham.gov.uk

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