The panto season is coming – oh, yes it is!

PANTO GIANTS Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Assembly Theatre from December 10

GEARING up for the Christmas season, local theatres have revealed their offerings, and it’s a cracker of a year, from brand-new gems to favourite old chestnuts, all waiting for the curtain to rise in December.

Performing a Christmas twist on the classic panto ‘double entendre’, Trinity Theatre offers a triple entendre this year – a cast of nine, playing multiple roles across three separate productions from December 14 to January 2.

In ‘The New Musketeers’, a new production co-written by Dannie Harris, Matthew Howell, Jack Michael Stacey and Trinity’s artistic director Sean Turner, the famous Musketeers are lost at sea, leaving it up to their servants to complete an important mission.

In ‘The Aliens Who Saved Christmas’, written by Winnie Southgate, little aliens from the audience can join the grown-up extraterrestrials onstage as they battle to save Christmas. From December 16.

‘Miracle on 34th Street’ is a live musical version of the classic story, playing from December 20.

The nine-member acting ensemble is Jack Michael Stacey, Dannie Harris, Matthew Howell, Irfan Damani, Winnie Southgate, Max Kinder, Jesse Ashby, Hollie Anne Price and Will Taylor – joined by 11-year-old Ellie Canning as Susan Walker in ‘Miracle’.

At the Assembly Hall Theatre, Little Wolf Entertainments’ ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ brings headline star Cliff Parisi of ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘EastEnders’ to town as the villain Walter Waltzer.

Joining him are James Peake as Dame Trott and Stewart McCheyne of ‘Andy and the Band’ (CBBC) as Simon Trott.

Running from December 10 to New Year’s Eve on December 31.

At the E.M. Forster Theatre, Tonbridge, the Wicked Productions presentation of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is this season’s crowd-pleaser.

Set in the sleepy French town of ‘Château de Toilet, the well-known love story of Belle and the Beast is ‘helped’ along by ‘glamorous’ Dame Darcy Derrière and village idiot Phillippe Philoppe – both trying to thwart the arrogant bully Clarence Casanova.

Starring Tom Swift as Phillippe, Rhys Whiteside – back by popular demand as Casanova – and John Martin as Dame Derrière. The Pantomime legend Keith Higgins plays Pip, and Amanda Swift returns to Tonbridge as Fairy Potts.

The production introduces West End star Darren Tough as the Beast and Eilish Stout-Cairns as Belle.

Running from December 9 to January 2, the panto season’s not over till this show’s done and ‘It’s all Behind Us!’

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