The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 14th to 24th November, 19:30 and 14:30 on Saturday at The Haymarket
Based on the smash-hit 1994 movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is the heart warming, uplifting adventure of three friends, Tick, Bernadette and Adam, a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback They hop aboard a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) searching for dreams and friendship – but discover much more… With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dance floor favourites including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Boogie Wonderland, Go West, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Finally, this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS! A Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society production.
Dad's Army Radio Hour, 27th November, 19:30 at The Haymarket
Two actors play 25 characters in this brilliant staging of radio scripts based on favourite episodes from the original TV series. Celebrating 50 years of Croft and Perry's quintessential sitcom, which won the Best One-Liner accolade in a poll of comedians conducted earlier this year by Gold, with the immortal words "Don't tell him, Pike".
The Eleventh Hour, 28th November to 1st December, 19:30 and 14:00 on Thursday and Saturday at The Haymarket
Although signed and agreed at 5am on the 11th of November 1918, the ceasefire is set at 11am to allow notice to be delivered to all fronts… and while his mother and father, wife Emmie and young son Billy are celebrating news of the end of the war back home in England, Private Harry Furber and his friend Charlie Juster are sent on one last mission into No Man's Land. From the striking reality of the trenches to the exuberant celebrations on the home front, this play marks the centenary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War One.
Santa's Christmas Party, 7th to 9th December, daytimes at The Haymarket
Christmas is the busiest time of year at the North Pole. It's when Father Christmas makes presents to deliver across the world, and when everyone gets ready for Santa’s Christmas Party! But this year somebody has been up to mischief… Dotty the Elf’s decorations have gone missing, Dasher the Reindeer’s party games are broken, and what has happened to Pompom the Penguin’s Christmas music? It looks as though somebody wants to stop Santa’s Christmas Party - and that someone is Jack Frost! Help things get back on track in a fun-filled interactive adventure.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 13th December to 6th January at The Anvil
Join the Wicked Queen, handsome Prince, seven mischievous dwarfs, and of course, Snow White herself, for festive fun packed full of glittering costumes, sumptuous sets, catchy songs and heaps of audience participation. Mirror mirror on the wall, this is the must-see panto of them all!
Peter Bedpan, 12th January at The Haymarket
Will Peter BedPan defeat Captain Hook? Will Wendy and her brothers make it back to the hospital? Come along and see your local hospital consultants, doctors, nurses and other hospital employees take to the stage once again for an afternoon/evening of fun and laughter.
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 Peter Pan
14th December 2017 to 7th January 2018
Review from the British Theatre Guide.
Peter Pan at The Anvil in Basingstoke is a lavish, spectacular pantomime that has the audience ‘hooked’ from the very start. It is a vibrant, swashbuckling evening’s entertainment for all the family and the enthusiastic Basingstoke audience absolutely loved it.
This classic story of the boy who is determined not to grow up and lives with his gang of Lost Boys in Never Never Land is given a modern twist in director Pete Hillier’s vivacious, high-energy production.
There is oodles of audience participation, stunning sets and costumes, great special effects with pyrotechnics and some dashing sword fights in this high quality production.
Amanda Salmon is terrific as the roller-skating chav Tinkerbell who is always causing mischief, and Pete Hillier keeps the momentum moving as the cheerful Smee who quickly establishes a warm rapport with the audience.
The Darling family lives in a large house in London with the children looked after by their Nana, a loveable dog (Freddie Mason). The young children, confidently played by Reuben Overton as John and Benjamin Macken as Michael, are preparing for bed.
Zara Warren is the delightful Wendy who has trapped Peter’s shadow in the window and eventually travels to Never Never Land to be the Lost Boys’ mother.
There is some inspirational casting of Ben-Ryan Davies as Peter, whom many will know from his appearance in Waterloo Road. He perfectly captures the playfulness, cheekiness and the ‘spirit of adventure’ of the character in an enthusiastic convincing performance.
The flying sequences are truly magical as the children soar over the London skyline and Peter glides above the audience to the back of the theatre.
Gary Turner is very impressive as the evil Captain Hook, who deliciously deserves all the boos from the audience as he seeks revenge on poor Peter for losing his hand to the crocodile.
He is ably assisted by his motley pirate crew (Andy Rothwell, Paul Cox and Freddie Mason) who also give an outstanding, knockabout, acrobatic display.
Shireen Jordan is convincing as Tiger Lilly with her band of Indian squaws but she is captured by Hook and tied up in Mermaids Lagoon waiting for the tide to rise and drown her.
Peter rescues her with the help of the Welsh Mermaid, a lovely cameo performance by Julia J Nagle who also plays Mrs Darling.
There is some sterling choreography (Sarah Louise Day) with good support from The Basingstoke Academy of Dancing and Kelly Hopkins Theatre Arts, and The Lost Boys, too many to mention by name, were having great fun in their roles.
With some lively, well-chosen music under the direction of Martyn Cooper, this spirited Peter Pan is not to be missed. Highly recommended.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Truly traditional panto
Peter Pan, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until Sunday, January 7
JM Barrie the author never really grew up. At least he tried not to and although he married relatively late in life, never had any children. So he wrote a book about Peter Pan, a little boy who never grew up.
In true pantomime tradition, Peter Pan was played by a girl, not a boy, and Jessica Punch had fun with her jokes and chatter and flying in through a window and across the stage. At one point she flew right out over the auditorium, high above us and disappeared somewhere at the back of the theatre. So although Peter Pan is perhaps not thought of in the list of top traditional pantos, this production was presented in true traditional style with the old routines in place, including the grinning person behind somebody not being seen; oh yes he was…
This production was, in the best sense, big, lavish, loud and very nearly lewd. It began with a great explosion of colour and sound; music filling the theatre and if there were only a very few musicians, with the help of electronics they sounded like a huge great orchestra.
Sarah Louise Day was a warm Mrs Darling and this actor was also the mermaid and choreographer for the show, producing some stunning dance sequences. Gary Turner was a sinister Captain Hook, in true panto style, of course, and there were bright, skilled performances by Helen Petrovna as Tinker Bell, Laura Harrison as Tiger Lily and Jenny Huxley-Golden as Wendy.
All parts were played with real gusto throughout, including Theatre For Kids and the JG Dance Troup. The pirate crew headed by Jack Horner produced a wild acrobatic routine. Andrew Agnew excelled as both Smee, general joker and comedian, linking most of the comedy sequences and song coordinator and as director he gave us a spectacular panto.
Captain Hook was offered a wooden leg as his Christmas present, but it wasn't his main one, just a stocking filler.
Well, panto jokes don't get better – they get worse though. The difference between a piano and a fish? You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish, boom boom.
One point – the part of Nana the dog was played with lots of quaint movement and business, but not credited. He or she in the doggie costume should have had a credit; it was definitely a K9 performance.
All money paid to put on this show will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick children – as JM Barrie stipulated in his bequest.
There are reviews from The Stage ("one of the most pyrotechnically spectacular and high energy pantos I’ve seen... a thoroughly entertaining take on JM Barrie’s classic" - 4 stars), the Basingstoke Gazette ("it is an adventure like no other... a great modern adaptation... a fun filled night").
Reviews of previous productions
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)