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Theatres all set to stage family fun; 'Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to enjoy the festive season than a visit to the pantomime? Sally Jones joins in the fun.

OH no it isn't. Oh yes it is. Yes it's pantomime season again, and theatres up and down the country are gearing themselves to entertain us with fairy tales which encapsulate the old age tradition of good versus evil.

Ah! yes the panto, it's what childhood memories are made of.

How many of us have hissed and booed as the villain appears on stage or yelled "he's behind you" at the top of our voices? Or joined in with the traditional singalong as Widow Twankey points a stick toward each word in a cheaper version of the bouncing ball?

Pantos are to Christmas as chocolate eggs are to Easter.

Flamboyant costumes, magical sets, theatres full of laughter, audience participation and the rather unusual casting of men dressed as women and women dressed as men. It's a great way for families to share a wonderful evening's entertainment with something for everyone.

Pantomimes normally have three key ingredients. A beautiful maiden, usually in distress, a young man yearning for true love searching for his place in the world and a dastardly villain who puts everything and anything in the young man's way to prevent him reaching his dream. Coupled, of course, with plenty of songs and humour along the way.

Famous names from the small screen take the lead roles year on year, while local community pantomimes encourage the want-to-be thespians.

This year North Wales' theatres are once again joining in the furore with some first-class pantomimes. The Pavilion Theatre in Rhyl is playing host to Aladdin. This is one of the best-loved pantomimes.

The Pavilion Theatre's production of Aladdin runs from Friday, December 14, 2001 to Saturday, January 12, 2002. It stars Tony Scannell (Ted Roach from The Bill) as Abanazar;

Deborah McAndrew (Angie Freeman from Coronation Street) as Aladdin; Richard Elis (Huw from Eastenders) as Wishee Washee; Kimberley Dunbar (Karen from Byker Grove) as the Slave of the Ring, Charles Burden as Widow Twankey; Rob Malone as the Police Sergeant and Veronique Spiteri as the Princess. The Gay Harris Dancers and The North Wales School of Dancing provide excellent support.

There are 47 performances and tickets start from as little as pounds 5.50.

Family tickets from pounds 32 for two adults and two children and group discounts include 10 plus 10pc, 40 plus 15pc and 80 plus 20pc discount. For further information call the box office on 01745-330000.

The North Wales Theatre, Llandudno presents Dick Whittington. This magical pantomime runs from Thursday, December 13, 2001 to Sunday, January 6, 2002 and is a classic tale of rags-to-riches. It stars Su Pollard (Peggy in Hi De Hi) as Dick Whittington and Hollyoaks favourite Paul Danan as The Captain's Mate. Of course, no pantomime would be complete without a dame, and Barry Hester takes on the role of the frock-changing Sarah The Cook.

A fabulous supporting cast, superb costumes and lavish sets are sure to provide a magical musical extravaganza for all the family. Tickets are available from the box office on 01492-872000 or on-line at www. nwtheatre. co. uk. Prices from pounds 7.50 to pounds 14.50.

The Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham proudly presents Jack & the Beanstalk. Now in its 76th season, the Grove Park Theatre has recently been refurbished and its resident amateur dramatic group, directed by Ade Garrett, is set to take this classic fairytale to new heights.

The traditional tale of Jack and his magic beans is augmented by adventures involving golden eggs, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, Little Weed and a whole host of additional characters, all set to create a wonderful piece of magic to entertain children and adults alike.

Jack & the Beanstalk at the Grove Park Theatre is sponsored by Tesco, who will be raffling a trolley of goodies with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer Association.

For ticket information call the box office on 01978-351091 or visit its web site at www. groveparktheatre. co. uk.

CAPTION(S):

STAR-STRUCK: Hi De Hi star Su Pollard, left, is starring in Dick Whittington at the North Wales Theatre, while this trio of TV stars, above, can be seen in Aladdin at the Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2001
Words:691
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