The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
Holes, 31st January to 1st February at The Haymarket
When he is wrongly convicted of stealing a charitable donation, Stanley Yelnats has to make a decision, go to jail or do his time at Camp Green Lake. Having chosen the camp, he gets there to find that it’s a brutal, desolate place, full of rattlesnakes and deadly yellow spotted lizards, where he has to spend his days digging holes in the baking Texan sun. What’s the warden looking for? Who was Kissin’ Kate Barlow? And Can Stanley ever break the curse of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather?
Barnaby Bear's Adventures at Sea, 5th February, 16:30 at The Anvil
Following the success of Barnaby’s previous journeys, this year sees him going on an adventure at sea. There will be ships, desert islands and perhaps a chance meeting of a pirate captain. Each song has been written especially for KS1 children and will be led by a Hampshire Music Service staff band with an onstage choir of KS2 pupils. You will join Barnaby and his fun friends on this magical adventure and help them sing the songs. Bring your favourite teddy bear!
Room on the Broom, 7th to 10th February, daytimes at The Haymarket
The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick when they pick up a friendly dog, a beautiful green bird and a frantic frog. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – “CRACK” - it snaps in two... just as the hungry dragon appears! Songs, laughs and spooky fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the Olivier Award nominated stage show.
The Nightmare Room, 12th to 14th February, 19:30 at The Haymarket
A deliciously dark thriller – from a tale by the master of terror and mystery, Arthur Conan Doyle. When Helen regains consciousness, she finds herself bound and blindfolded in a locked room. Her captor, best friend Catherine, challenges her to a deadly game of Russian roulette to decide which of them will win the handsome film star they both desire. But the game – like the room – is far from what it seems...
The Wherwell Cockatrice, 12th February, 16:30 at The Anvil
There are strange goings on in the ancient village of Wherwell. Come and find out what a Cockatrice is, what havoc they created, who and what they ate... and who saved the day (oh noble knight!). Each song has been written especially for KS2 children and will be led by a Hampshire Music Service staff band with an onstage secondary school choir. Come along and join in with singing the songs.
Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, 19th to 20th February, daytimes at The Anvil
Holly is a young Fairy Princess, who is still learning how to fly and her magic doesn’t always go quite according to plan. Her best friend, Ben the Elf, doesn’t have wings and he doesn’t do magic, but he runs very fast and flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird. They live in the Little Kingdom, a tiny land where flowers and grass rise high above them and every day is an adventure. Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston the Ladybird clean up his messy cave, they go on a trip into The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum, even plan a surprise birthday party for King Thistle, and oops, let’s hope there’s not another jelly flood! Join Ben and Holly, and their friends on this exciting, enchanting and magical musical adventure packed full of games, songs and laughter. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family!
Strangers on a Train Set, 27th February, 19:30 at The Haymarket
Challenging a youth to turn down his music, Irene Sparrow, inventor of the left-handed crochet hook (patent pending, as seen on Dragon’s Den) finds herself under suspicion of murder after the train emerges from a tunnel with the young man dead. But this is no ordinary train. Each passenger is reading a book, each book is a portal into a parallel universe of train-related crime fiction. With clever use of projection and multiple train sets, LipService give you a whistle-stop tour that will leave you breathless and racing for the refreshment coach.
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, 1st to 3rd March, daytimes at The Haymarket
Elephants, as everyone knows, are big, have trunks, and are grey. But Elmer is a patchwork of brilliant colours! His fun-loving and cheerful personality keeps everyone in a playful mood, until the day he gets tired of being different and tries to blend in with the herd. Elmer the Patchwork Elephant tells the tale of an elephant that stands out – both with his patchwork-coloured skin and his sense of humour – but ultimately realising that his friends have always valued his unique characteristics. The show’s subtle message that it is always best to be yourself, combined with the vibrant colour and cheeky humour of the main character, makes Elmer a great show for children of all ages.
Macbeth, 14th to 15th March, 14:00 and 19:30 at The Haymarket
In the city, success is all and ruthless ambition is rewarded. The only problem is, how do you control it before it consumes you and your family? This is London, October 1987, Black Monday. This is a tale of greed, betrayal and murder. This is Macbeth. Award-winning theatre company Proteus present a highly physical re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a corporate thriller which explores the pressures faced by first generation British-born children of immigrants, set against the background of the ‘greed is good’ corporate landscape of 1980s Britain.
Made In Dagenham, 19th to 23rd March at The Haymarket
Through powerful, modern songs and humorous action, Made in Dagenham tells the story of the conflict at Ford’s Dagenham car plant in 1968. Be inspired as ordinary Essex wife and mum, Rita O’Grady, leads the girls in the stitching room in a battle against the might of Ford and the corruption of the Union. How will the men around them react? Will they gain the support of politicians and the TUC? Can Rita keep up the fight and the happy home she’s worked so hard for? A BAOS production.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt, 28th to 31st March, daytimes at The Haymarket
Join our intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear; as they wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes, plenty of adventure and a few surprises along the way. Based on the much-loved book picture by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, this mischievous celebration of play is the perfect treat for families with children aged 3 and up.
Turn of the Screw, 2nd to 6th April at The Haymarket
1840. A young governess agrees to look after two orphaned children in Bly, a seemingly idyllic country house. But shortly after her arrival, she realises that they are not alone. There are others – the ghosts of Bly’s troubled past. The Governess will risk everything to keep the children safe, even if it means giving herself up to The Others. Years later, confronted by the past she is compelled to account for what actually happened to her and the innocents under her protection.
The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog with Julia Donaldson, 7th to 9th April, daytimes at The Haymarket
Following a sell-out season at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the UK's best-selling author Julia Donaldson presents a show featuring six of her books, including The Gruffalo, The Ugly Five and the newly-released The Cook and the King. The cast of five, including Julia’s guitar-playing husband Malcolm, bring Julia's stories to life with songs, puppetry and a touch of magic.
Peter Pan, 9th April, daytimes at The Anvil
Join the boy who never grows up… Peter Pan and take part in his adventures with Wendy as they fly off to Neverland and meet some fantastical characters along the way; Tinker Bell, the Lost Children, Tiger Lily, Nana the dog, Pirates, Smee, and of course, Captain Hook.
The Long Walk Back, 10th April, 19:30 at The Haymarket
Based on real life events The Long Walk Back tells the epic story of an international sporting star’s catastrophic fall from grace. England cricketing all-rounder Chris Lewis enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the 1990s; playing 85 Tests and One Day Internationals for England he seemed on the verge of greatness when he was named England’s International Cricketer of The Year in 1994. Within months of his cricketing career ending, however, his life lay in ruins when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for smuggling cocaine into the UK. Beginning with his arrest at Gatwick Airport in 2008 and an attempted suicide on his first night in custody The Long Walk Back dramatises the extraordinary journey that took Chris from the brink of despair to a profound moral awakening. But there is far more to this captivating drama than at first meets the eye; set in the cell that Chris occupies alone throughout his sentence, who is the stranger in the room?
The Trials of Oscar Wilde, 17th to 18th April at The Haymarket
Thursday 14 February 1895 was the triumphant opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest and the zenith of Wilde's career. Less than 100 days later, he found himself a common prisoner sentenced to two years hard labour. So what happened during the trials and what did Wilde say? Was he persecuted or the author of his own downfall? Using the actual words spoken in court, we can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius - as this less than ideal husband is suddenly reduced to a man of no importance.
ANiMALCOLM, 27th April, daytimes at The Haymarket
Malcolm doesn’t like animals, which is a problem because his family love them, in fact, they’re wild about them. Their house is full of pets of all shapes and sizes, but what it’s NOT full of is stuff Malcolm likes. Such as the laptop he wanted for his birthday. The only bright spot on the horizon is the Year Six school trip, which Malcolm never thought his parents would pay for. And yet there he is, on the bus, heading to… a farm. What follows is a school trip like no other, where Malcolm begins to understand animals more deeply than anyone. But will he end up the same as before? Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is yourself.
Crimes on the Nile, 2nd to 4th May at The Haymarket
Belgian detective extraordinaire, Artemis Arinae, is enjoying a cruise along the Nile when tragedy strikes again. The passengers and staff are suspects, the murder count is growing, will Arinae’s little grey cells identify the murderer in time? A cast of just four perform multiple outrageous characters, inventive set pieces and whisk the plot along in a romp in this Christie-inspired comedy thriller.
Mindgame, 20th to 22nd May at The Haymarket
Mark Styler, a writer of glossy ‘true crime’ paperbacks, has no idea what he’s walking into when he tries to get an interview with Easterman, a notorious serial killer. First he has to get past Dr Farquhar, the quixotic head of Fairfields – the asylum where Easterman is kept. But soon he discovers that nothing is what it seems. Who is the mysterious Borson? Where did he get the meat in the fridge? And why isn’t the skeleton in the closet?
Zog, 29th to 30th May, daytimes at The Haymarket
Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet… a duel with Gadabout the Great!
Reviews of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
13th December 2018 to 6th January 2019
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Heigh-ho silver lining!
Snow White wins her prince in a sparkling, fun-filled show
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until January 6
"Heigh-Ho, Heigh-ho, it's off to The Anvil you go" to see this year's glittering pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This family-friendly show is tremendous fun and filled with magical moments that the spirited audience loved and joined in wholeheartedly.
Dani Harmer – CBBC's Tracy Beaker – makes a delightful Snow White, looked after by her evil stepmother, who treats her like a slave rather than a princess.
Kirsty Sparks excelled as the wicked Queen, with a powerful singing voice and command of the stage. The audience took great pleasure in booing her at every opportunity… and they were loud.
We met the Queen's servant Muddles, so called because he gets his words all muddled up. Chris Pizzey, who also directs, was our quintessential gang leader with a superb charismatic rapport with the kids. He certainly knows how to work the audience and gave a masterclass in clowning.
Jamie Steen as Nurse Dolly, our Dame, gave an outstanding performance, wearing the most outrageous costumes that got sillier with each entrance.
The chemistry between these two actors was a joy to watch and they seemed to be having as much fun as the audience were.
The jokes came fast and furious and some, although groan-making, were really funny, such as "Which Spice Girl can hold the most petrol? Jerry can" – well, it was that sort of a show.
Chris Warner Drake made a charming Prince, summoned to court by the Queen, with the intention of marrying him… but first she has to get rid of Snow White.
Poor Muddles was bewitched by the Queen to kill Snow White and took her into the forest where she met the seven dwarfs, who all gave strong and engaging performances.
All the traditional elements of panto are here, including a hilarious, if exhausting, rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas – but watch out for the 12 water pistols and the soaking coming your way.
There was also a charming woodland scene with small animals and a riotous ghost sketch to the song of Ghostbusters.
It all does end happily, with Snow White winning her Prince and the Queen being trapped in the mirror for ever.
With energetic choreography by Sarah Louise Day, the ensemble danced with verve, ably assisted by youngsters from Basingstoke Academy of Dancing on the night I saw the performance.
Martyn Cooper once again led the band and a special mention for Stephen Holroyd's lighting design.
A lively glittering panto – don't miss it.
There are reviews from The Stage ("cracking second half breathes life into this panto after its lacklustre start" - 3 stars), the Basingstoke Gazette ("for a fun filled night, make sure you don’t miss Snow White, but prepared to get a little bit wet").
Reviews of previous productions
Peter Pan (December 2017)
Sleeping Beauty (December 2016)
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)