The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
The Night Before Christmas, 8th to 10th December, daytimes at The Haymarket
On the night before Christmas, Emily stares out of the window, hugs her teddy and waits excitedly for the morning, while in the corner a little mouse called Eddie can’t understand why only humans are allowed to get presents. So he sets off in search of Father Christmas to find out for himself. Along the way he dodges the family cat, gets directions from a cowardly robot and is given some unexpected advice from the magical fairy on top of the tree. Will Eddie get an answer? Will Emily get her wish? And what is that funny-shaped present sitting under the tree?
A Christmas Carol, 12th to 13th December at The Haymarket
By Charles Dickens. The old miser Ebenezer Scrooge has no time for Christmas or those that celebrate it. One night he is visited by the ghostly apparition of his seven years dead business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley is condemned, for eternity, to wander the earth shackled by the chain of wrong doing he forged in life. He tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits and therefore afforded the chance to escape the same fate. But, will Scrooge choose to amend his ways? Does he deserve a second chance?
Peter Pan, 14th December to 7th January at The Anvil
All children, except one, grow up. Fly far away to Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael. Cheer the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell, and boo the wicked Captain Hook and his motley crew. But beware of the ticking crocodile! One of the most famous and best-loved children’s stories, Peter Pan is an unforgettable, enchanting and timeless tale that has been enjoyed by generations for over one hundred years. Book now for this swashbuckling adventure for the whole family, complete with everything you would expect of a traditional pantomime - spectacle, laughter, magic and music, plus a big sprinkle of fairy dust!
Jack and the Basingstalk, 13th January at The Haymarket
Come along and watch Jack in action trying to 'climb' the beanstalk. See your local Hampshire Hospitals consultants, doctors, nurses and other hospital employees take to the stage once again to entertain you in yet another show that promises to be full of 'magic' beans and laughter.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 23rd January at The Haymarket
Doctor Henry Jekyll is a good man. Successful within his field and respected by his peers, he’s close to a neurological discovery that will change the face of medical science forever. However, his methods are less than ethical, and when a close friend and colleague threatens to expose and destroy his work, Jekyll is forced to experiment on himself, whereupon something goes very wrong…or very right. And suddenly Jekyll has a new friend, the brutal Edward Hyde.
Oliver!, 31st January to 1st February at The Haymarket
In an era of inequality and poverty, orphan Oliver Twist is on the run on the streets of London. Taken under the wing of street urchin The Artful Dodger and the criminal Mastermind Fagin, the boy is taught to pick a pocket or two and put out to work. When Oliver's next potential victim takes pity on him and offers him a place to stay, Fagin's psychotic second-in-command Bill Sykes plots to kidnap the boy to stop him spilling the beans. Sherfield School’s Courtyard Theatre Company's production.
A Brave Face, 21st February at The Haymarket
Afghanistan: 2009. Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade, get a life. Training's complete, combat is a buzz. But on one particular hot and desperate tour of duty, Ryan sees things he can’t talk about, to anyone. And when he returns home, the trouble really begins. A Brave Face explores Post-Traumatic Stress, an unseen and often unrecognised injury of war, and the impact it can have on even the closest of families. With compassion and fearlessness, Vamos brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to a story that needs to be told.
Caught in the Net, 28th February to 3rd March at The Haymarket
John Smith is an ordinary taxi driver - ordinary, that is, except for the fact he has two wives, two homes and a very tight schedule! In this glorious comic romp of a sequel to Run For Your Wife, John and long-suffering lodger Stanley Gardner are desperate to keep half-brother Gavin and half-sister Vicki apart after they’ve met on the internet.
Sarah and Duck's Big Top Birthday, 2nd to 28th March at The Haymarket
Join Sarah and Duck and a host of your favourite friends including The Ribbon Sisters, The Shallots, Flamingo & John and Umbrella, as they plan a birthday party for scarf lady in their garden. Told through a fantastic blend of puppetry, storytelling and music, you and your children will be taken on a magical adventure.
Teechers, 20th March at The Haymarket
Blackeyed Theatre revives its highly-acclaimed production of John Godber’s classic comedy about life at a struggling ‘sink school’ for Mr Nixon, an unsuspecting new drama teacher. Featuring breathtaking ensemble performances and a bang-up-to-date soundtrack, Teechers brings to life an array of terrifying teachers and hopeless pupils through the eyes of Salty, Gail and Hobby; three Year 11 students about to leave school for good. Will Mr Nixon abandon his students for a green and pleasant Grammar school? Who puts the bounce in Miss Prime, the PE teacher? Will Mrs Parry ever find her Koko? And why does everyone smell of spring onions? Crammed full of unforgettable characters, political left-hooks and razor-sharp comedy, Teechers is more relevant today than ever, a modern classic with something vital to say about education for the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.
The War of the Worlds, 23rd March at The Haymarket
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's…” … And fewer would have believed in the first years of the twenty-first century that H G Wells’s science fiction classic would be performed live by just four actors with intelligences lesser than average… The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons invade the stage in this funny yet faithful new adaptation as they use musical instruments, puppetry and, um, enthusiasm to recreate deadly heat-rays, giant fighting-machines, squidgy tentacled Martians and interplanetary warfare on an epic scale. The chances of success? A million to one…
Beauty and the Beast, 25th March at The Anvil
Don’t miss another fun-filled Easter pantomime with a star cast, impressive music, energetic dance routines as well as plenty of jokes, slapstick and heaps of audience participation! This spellbinding pantomime tells the story of Beauty who longs for romance and adventure, a bad-mannered Prince who is transformed into a Beast to teach him a lesson and a good Fairy who makes both their dreams come true.
Easter Bunny's Eggs Factor, 7th April at The Haymarket
Everyone is excited about the Easter Bunny’s singing competition - but who will Fluffy think has got The Eggs Factor? Marty MacDonald, Henrietta the Hen and Professor Pinky are all going to enter, but can’t choose which song to sing… can you help them practice and see if YOU have The Eggs Factor too? For ages 2-7.
Dear Zoo, 28th to 29th April at The Haymarket
Rod Campbell’s best-selling lift the flap book has delighted generations of young readers since it was first published in 1982, and has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. Join Ben and his friend Sally as they wait to see what the Zoo will send when they get Ben’s letter asking for a pet. All kinds of familiar animals both big and small arrive but what will make the perfect domestic companion? Well... wait and see! This production will delight all those who have read the book (both young and old) as it unfolds with child-engaging puppets, music and lots of audience interaction.
Reviews of Sleeping Beauty
8th December 2016 to 2nd January 2017.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News and British Theatre Guide.
Festive cheer for Anvil
A sparkling panto with something for everyone at The Anvil
Sleeping Beauty, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until Monday, January 2
On a wet and foggy afternoon, The Anvil's Sleeping Beauty was the perfect antidote to the dreary weather, filled with festive merriment and cheer that shimmers and sparkles.
The enthusiastic audience, with many of the youngsters dressed for the occasion, waited in excitement for the auditorium doors to open and the fun to begin.
This is a panto with something for everyone – spectacular sets and lighting, beautiful costumes, oodles of audience participation, pyrotechnics, an evil dragon and an energetic, highly-talented cast.
Sarah Jane Buckley, well-known from Hollyoaks, makes a dramatic entrance as the Good Fairy as she flies in from the wings and quickly starts the story. She is thwarted in her attempts to protect the princess when the evil Carabosse – the splendid Sue Holderness (Marlene in Only Fool and Horses) – who is furious at not being invited to the baby's naming, casts a curse on poor Rose and relishes all the boos from the audience.
Mark James as the rumbustious Silly Bill quickly builds up a great rapport with the audience, including singing the song Is Everybody Happy? that gets everyone in the mood as he shares his many madcap inventions.
As Nanny Glucose, Charles Burden is a consummate Dame, wearing the most outlandish costumes and delivering some groan-making jokes and one-liners, with plenty of innuendos for the adults. His interaction with Silly Billy was vivacious and the kids loved them.
Of course, there are topical gags, including traffic jams in Basingstoke and references to Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.
Providing the romantic interest is Katrina Bryan (Nina from Cbeebies series Nina and the Neurons) as a perfect Sleeping Beauty, with a fantastic singing voice and Ben Harlow as Prince Philip, who powerfully sings Can Anyone Find Me Someone to Love Me, among many others and is the all-action man.
They make a delightful couple.
Phil Cole is majestic as the King who has banished all spinning wheels from the country to save Sleeping Beauty from the curse and his King Rap is great fun.
There is excellent support from the adult ensemble, with slick dance routines choreographed by Sarah Day. On the day I attended, members of Basingstoke's JG Dance Company provided the junior chorus and their toy dream scene was charming.
There are many magic moments, including clever computer-generated animation as the Prince travels forward 100 years to the future to rescue his Beauty. Keep an eye open for the enchanted castle that appears before your eyes as it's covered in thorns and the battle with the giant fire-breathing dragon.
Director Damian Sandys ensures the pace is maintained and everyone has a great time, and the music was in the very capable hands of Martyn Cooper and his band.
This is a joyous festive treat for all the family that will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit – oh yes it will…
There are reviews from the Basingstoke Observer ("with stunning special effects and winning songs, this is a great Christmas trip out for the whole family") and the Daily Echo ("it has all of the ingredients that make these seasonal shows a success... another fantastic offering to get everyone in the mood for Christmas").
Reviews of previous productions
Jack and the Beanstalk (December 2015)
Cinderella (December 2014)
Aladdin (December 2013)
Snow White (December 2012)
Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play (December 2012). There is a review in the Basingstoke Gazette ("fun, not silly, sophisticated, yet simple, and contains a bounty of incident for children to enjoy and digest").
Peter Pan (December 2011)
Beauty and the Beast (December 2011)
The Wind in the Willows (December 2010)
Sleeping Beauty (December 2010)
Cinderella (December 2009)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (December 2009)
Aladdin (December 2008)
A Christmas Carol (December 2008)
The Wizard of Oz (December 2007)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (December 2007)
The Borrowers (December 2006)
Private Lives (July 2006)
Whatever Happened to Bette and Joan? (February 2006)
The Wind in the Willows (December 2005)
The Canterville Ghost (December 2004)
The Playboy of the Western World (September 2004)
Thérèrse Raquin (January 2004)
The Three Musketeers (December 2003)
Mack and Mabel (November 2003)
Tartuffe (October 2003)
April in Paris (September 2003)
Perfect Pitch (June 2003)
The Daughter-in-Law (April 2003)
East (March 2003)
Relatively Speaking (March 2003)
Othello (February 2003)
Alice the Musical (December 2002)
Ghosts (April 2002)
Pickwick The Musical (December 2001)
The Sound of Music (November 2001)