The best London 2022 pantomime to book now, from McKellen’s Mother Goose to Robin Hood in Greenwich

The best London 2022 pantomime to book now, from McKellen’s Mother Goose to Robin Hood in Greenwich
The best London 2022 pantomime to book now, from McKellen’s Mother Goose to Robin Hood in Greenwich

he season has come upon us – oo-er miss! – and the theaters of London echo with the sound of thousands of small voices shouting “He is behind you!” with a sugar-fueled mania that would terrify an army. To help you navigate London’s panto landscape, we’ve rounded up all the best. Oh yes, we have.

Mother hen

Hackney Empire

Riscilla the Goose (Ruth Lynch) and Mother Goose (Clive Rowe)

/ Manuel Harlan

Clive Rowe is synonymous with Hackney Empire’s panto – there’s nothing like his lady – and in his 15e year in the role, he also directs. Mother Goose is a special for Rowe, as it was the part that earned her a nomination for the 2009 Oliver Awards, the only lady panto ever nominated. The Hackney panto is a London institution that built its audience from a few hundred when Rowe started, to packing the theater to 1,200 seats each year.

Until December 31; buy tickets here

Jack and the Beanstalk

lyrical hammer

The favorite panto is back, with cows, magic beans, creepers and the ugly giant all present and correct. This production also promises “extreme skating, milk explosions, singing cows, absolutely crazy outfits and of course Beyoncé”, so clearly bringing something else to the party too. Leah St Luce, who has starred in Mamma Mia!, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical and The Lion King, plays Jack and the show is co-written by rising star of the UK theater scene, Jude Christian. We can’t wait for this one.

As of January 7; buy tickets here


Theater Royal Stratford East

Gigi Zahir (Cleopatra) and Gracie McGonigal (Cinderella)

/ Michael Wharley

Theater Royal says its pantos tear up the rulebook, to make these classic stories relevant to its community and beyond. This year’s version of Cinderella shifted the story to ancient Egypt with the appearance of Cleopatra. Robert Hyman writes the tunes again and is joined by Leo Butler, a playwright whose work has been staged at the Royal Court, the Almeida and the Royal Shakespeare Company. It also promises three panto ladies for the price of one, in the form of the Wicked Stepmother and the two Mean-Girl Sisters.

As of January 7; buy tickets here

Robin Hood

Greenwich Theater

The Greenwich panto won an Off West End award in 2019 with Sleeping Beauty and was nominated for another final year for The Queen of Hearts. In 2022, he aims to thrill audiences with his own take on Robin Hood. It’s written by Anthony Spargo – who appeared in Horrible Histories in the West End and even operated on a Dalek in Doctor Who – and he also plays the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham.

As of January 8; buy tickets here

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

New Wimbledon Theater

Ruthie Henshall


Ruthie Henshall brings some West End stardust to Wimbledon, playing the Evil Queen in Snow White – her panto debut. “I can’t believe it took me so long. So far the only kids I’ve scared are my own,” she said in her Instagram post sharing the news. Henshall – who made her West End debut in Cats in 1987 and played Roxie Hart in Chicago and Ms. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot the Musical – is joined by Hannah Lowther, who has gone from posting TikTok videos during lockdown to a lead role in Heathers at the Other Palace.

December 3-31; buy tickets here

Goldilocks and the three bears

Richmond Theater

Matt Baker (that lovely guy from Countryfile and The One Show) takes center stage in this tale that deviates from the rather chilling original story. Goldilocks’ circus is threatened by an evil rival circus owner (capitalism, huh?) and with the help of a selection of talented circus buddies, they must fight to save their big top from ruin. . Even with spectacular acrobatics, effects and magic tricks, all seems lost, until three shiny bears join the gang…

December 3-31; buy tickets here

The little red Robin Hood

Battersea Arts Center

Piers Allardyce

The Sleeping Trees theater company does not stage traditional pantomimes, but instead specializes in glorious panto mash-ups. They’re back at Battersea Arts Centre, following last year’s Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, bringing humour, song and general anarchy, this time with a show called Little Red Robin Hood. With Nottingham in turmoil after the dastardly sheriff captures the notorious outlaw, it’s up to an entirely different character, Little Red Riding Hood, to save the day. The recommended age is from three years old, but this will make all punters laugh.

December 6 to January 8; buy tickets here


Prince of Wales Drury Lane

Certainly not for children, this loud, rowdy, fabulous and dirty version of the classic fairy tale, appropriately held above a pub (so technically in the West End, but…) is strictly for adults only. He promises to take all the traditional panto double in-betweens your dad made fun of and at the very least triple them. With a hero billed as “Prince Donkey Dick of Soho,” it’s definitely run out of subtlety… but who wants nuance at Christmas? Audiences on December 12 will have the added privilege of being invited by none other than former Eastenders star Daniella Westbrook as their fairy godmother.

December 9-22, buy tickets here

Jack and the Beanstalk

London Palladium

Julien Claire

/ handout

Panto returned to the Palladium with a bang seven years ago, and has since proven to be hugely successful, really quite grown-up. Once again, the great Julian Clary takes on the duties of master of ceremonies for this glitzy spectacle, knocking out all the smut possible. He’s joined by Dawn French, who made her panto Palladium debut in 2018’s Snow White, while this year’s debutant is Alexandra Burke as the giant’s evil wife Mrs Blunderbore. She will take her place alongside panto legends Nigel Havers, ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and Gary Wilmot. Marketing blurb says this is the panto you got bean expect. They may be right.

December 10 to January 15; buy tickets here

Mother hen

Duke of York

Clive Rowe once called Mother Goose “the panto hamlet” for a lady, so who better to reprise the role in this touring production than Sir Ian McKellen? He’s joined by comedian John Bishop as husband Vic Goose, with the couple living healthy lives running an animal sanctuary inside an abandoned Debenhams. Presenter Mel Giedroyc is the flying goose that turns their idyllic existence upside down in this version of the tale written by Jonathan Harvey (Gimme Gimme Gimme; Beautiful Thing).

December 15 to January 29; buy tickets here

. Best pantomimes London book now McKellens Mother Goose Robin Hood Greenwich

. London pantomime book McKellens Mother Goose Robin Hood Greenwich

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