Gets earlier every year doesn’t it? The John Lewis advert in June; the Mince Pies at the supermarket by August; Christmas panto season in November…
Liverpool enjoys an embarrassment of riches when it comes to theatres. The city has more of them than pubs selling craft beer and selling pulled pork burgers these days. There’s plenty to choose from too – but we’ve picked out a selection of family-friendly shows around Merseyside over the coming festive period.
Yes there’s Disney (sorry parents) and everyone’s favourite pantomime duo – Keast and Tucker – at the Everyman, but we’ve picked out some Christmas shows you may not have expected: in Runcorn, St Helens and Southport; pantomimes and singalongs.
“Christmas isn’t really for kids,” said Denise Royle once (RIP). She was half-right. It’s not just for kids. There are plenty family-friendly Christmas shows in Liverpool and around Merseyside this festive period to prove it.
Beauty and the Beast
It’s the pantomime that adults love. That’s largely due to the risqué partnership of Adam Keast and Francis Tucker, who usually play not one but two iterations of scenery-chewing dames at the Everyman Theatre’s panto. Well they’re not always dames but they always chew the scenery. And they’re always risqué. But children will love them regardless while Mum and Dad snigger at the naughty jokes. There’s song, dance and beloved audience interaction too. No wonder it runs for two months…
November 26 – January 21
Disney on ice presents Frozen
As everyone with children knows, it’s illegal not to watch Frozen, sing the song and generally submit to the all-cconquering Disney at Christmas. Join princesses Anna and Elsa, and the hilarious snowman Olaf on the journey to discover that love is the most magically power of all. On ice. Sing and dance along to Let It Go. Whether you like or not. All the way back home in the car too and for the next three weeks.
Liverpool Echo Area
November 30 – December 4
Yes! Finally! Home and Away legend Lynne McGranger comes to Southport this Christmas, starring in Snow White as the wicked Queen. Southport Theatre promises a fairytale pantomime full of music, audience participation and special effects. Expect a special appearance (via a pre-recorded video) from CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher in the Magic Mirror too.
£13.90-£29.90; family tickets £65
Sing Along with Santa
With performances from the Melody Makers and the Liverpool Philharmonic Children’s choir, these shows are specially designed for children and include all your favourite Christmas tunes played by a full symphony orchestra. Needless to say the beloved bearded one (Santa, not Jeremy Corbyn) will be dropping by at the Philharmonic Hall – and you can turn up an hour early for an ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’…
December 17,18, 22
Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf
The Unity’s latest partnership with children’s theatre company Action Transport Theatre has yielded this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. This new production promises music, dance and song to create an entertaining parable that contrasts the thrill of the unknown with the comfort of familiarity; the tension between mankind and nature. Don’t expect another reheated panto; do expect a theatrical production that will make your kids think a little differently about a story that is not what it may seem. And maybe parents too.
December 2 – January 7
£8-£14; family tickets from £30
Santa Saves Christmas
Cinderella’s glass slipper is broken. Aladdin’s lamp is no longer magical. Fair Flossy’s wand is broken. Join Pompom The Penguin and Fairy Flossy as they journey to the north pole to help Santa save Christmas in this journey through panto’s greatest hits. The Brindley’s Christmas show is perfect for 2-7 year old’s.
The Brindley, Runcorn
Get your three wishes ready, dig out your magic carpet and prepare for some festive fun. That well-known children’s entertainer Amy Childs from TOWIE stars as Princess Jasmine in the St. Helens panto this Christmas. Will Aladdin spoil evil Abanzer’s plan to rule to world? Will he get the girl? Will they manage to keep it clean? There’s only one way to find out…
St.Helens Theatre Royal
December 3 – January 8
£13-£17; family tickets from £55