There is nothing like a dame. Or a girl dressed as a boy slapping her thighs. Or two bumbling decorators spilling wallpaper paste everywhere…
Yes it’s panto season (oh no it isn’t etc). And York has lined up some great pantomimes and other Christmas fare for our entertainment.
So, boys and girls, mums and dads, nans and granddads, what’s happening where?
The two biggies
Dick Whittington (and his Meerkat)
The Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum
From Thu Dec 10-Sun Jan 24
It’s all change for the York Theatre Royal gang.
The theatre renovations have seen the team relocated to the purpose-built Signal Box Theatre at the NRM.
This will pose new challenges – “He’s behind you!” is tricky when the audience surrounds the stars – but also opportunities to try out all-new stunts and silliness.
The brilliant trailer video above pokes fun at the confusion. And the bigger venue does mean there are more tickets, so more chance of getting a seat.
The venue’s new, but everything else is reassuringly familiar.
Dick Whittington (and his Meerkat) is written and co-directed by Berwick Kaler, who also makes his 37th appearance as the dame to end all dames.
He is joined again by bumbling sidekick Martin Barrass, delightfully ditzy Suzy Cooper, villainous David Leonard and loveable Brummie AJ Powell.
Jack And The Beanstalk
Grand Opera House, York
Fri Dec 11-Sun Jan 03
£11.90 – £29.40
You know where you are at the Grand Opera House, as New Pantomime Productions returns there for the 17th year this Christmas.
The stars of reality TV are among the Jack And The Beanstalk cast. X Factor‘s Jade Ellis plays Fairy Peapod, while Lewis Bloor, from The Only Way Is Essex, is crowned King Willy.
Jade was championed by judge Tulisa in the 2012 series. She went out after a sing-off with Union J, whose band member George Shelley is now wowing viewers in I’m A Celebrity.
Former Emmerdale actor Stuart Wade returns, and dons drag for the first time as he plays Dame Tilly Trot.
Russ Spencer and Caroline Barnes, best known as part of Eurovision band Scooch, play Jack and Jill.
Expect lots of energy, songs, dancing and a few favourite routines.
The ice show
Peter Pan On Ice
Wed Dec 23-Sun Jan 3
Something a bit different over at the Barbican, where they are creating an ice rink especially for Christmas.
The Russian Ice Stars bring their version of Peter Pan to York and are promising “thrilling acrobatics” in the classic story’s retelling.
Wendy, Michael and John are visited in the nursery by Peter Pan himself, who teaches them to fly with the help of Tinker Bell and takes them on a magical journey to Neverland.
There’s fun with Mr Smee and the vengeful Captain Hook whose appetite for revenge is also recreated in this icy adaptation.
Joseph Rowntree Theatre fun
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Sat Dec 5-Sat Dec 12
There’s something special about watching a panto in the unique family atmosphere of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
This year, Rowntree Players are staging Snow White, with a full complement of dwarfs, plus Dame Nancy Nip and her son Tuck.
With songs, dances, slapstick and plenty of silly gags this traditional family panto will go down a storm with young and old alike.
A Christmas Stocking – Music Night
Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Sun Dec 20
All the music you need to get the festivities started, with classic Christmas music performed by a live band and some of York’s top soloists, under the musical direction of Don Pears.
Three Christmas Carols
Talk about popular! Dickens’ classic festive tale A Christmas Carol appears in York in three different guises this year…
On the move
Dec 11-16, 6pm & 8pm
This production by Not Cricket Productions sets the ghostly tale in the atmospheric and rarely visited tiled basement of York’s historic Guildhall.
A promenade production, the audience stand and follow the action through Scrooge’s London streets.
In a haunted pub
Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York
Dec 6-Dec 16
Procter Goblins invite you to help bring this new, interactive interpretation of A Christmas Carol classic to life, at the tavern in which Charles Dickens stayed whilst visiting York.
According to the company this will be “a darker, more raucous, version of the tale” than many will be expecting.
And as the Black Swan is widely known to be haunted, you might see more ghosts than the four in the story…
Muppets at the museum
Tempest Anderson Hall, the Yorkshire Museum
Dec 10 from 6.30pm
The definitive film adaptation is, of course, The Muppet Christmas Carol, with Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine as Scrooge.
And it has been selected for this year’s festive screening at Tempest Anderson Hall.
The price of a ticket includes a festive finger buffet and a mulled apple juice in the main museum beforehand.
Jennifer Chadwick, wedding and events manager, said: “We carried out a poll and the people of Yorkshire decided that The Muppet Christmas Carol was to be this year’s Christmas film at the Yorkshire Museum.”