The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
Body Double, 27th to 30th September at The Haymarket
By Mark Carey. In Body Double the actors are actors, the set is a set and the play being rehearsed mirrors the life of those rehearsing a play-within-a-play. Eventually everyone starts to lose track of what is real and what is simply being 'acted out'. So, when one of the characters tries to take on the life of another this leads, inevitably, to deadly consequences.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 3rd October, 14:00 and 19:30 at The Haymarket
By Robert Louis Stevenson. 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.
AnimAlphabet, 8th October, 14:00 at The Haymarket
Treble Clef Island is a wonderful land of music, song and dance, but there’s a problem. Calando the dastardly duck has escaped and is threatening to steal sound forever. Join Colin the Cockatoo on a quest to find the island animals and thwart Calando’s plans. A Waltzing Elephant, a Reggae Frog and a Geordie Jazz Giraffe are just some of the musical-misfits Cockatoo meets along the way. Enjoy colourful characters, great puppets and catchy songs written by Al and Sam of The Hoosiers.
The Gruffalo, 13th to 15th October, daytimes at The Haymarket
Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in this magical, musical book adaptation. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party-mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there?
It Runs in the Family, 18th to 21st October at The Haymarket
By Ray Cooney. Dr David Mortimore, renowned neurologist, is about to deliver the most important lecture of his life. A knighthood is certainly within reach. When into his hospital sanctuary comes Jane Tate – ex-nurse and ex-girlfriend – with shocking news as to why she departed so hastily 16 years and nine months ago. Not only is Dr Mortimore the father of her son Leslie, but the strapping teenager is now in reception baying to see his long lost parent! Trying to hold both his career and marriage together, there is only one solution for Dr Mortimore – send for faithful friend Dr Bonney. What ensues is a dangerous web of expanding lies and manic cover-ups as the duo improvise at breath-taking speed in a near faultless piece of theatrical invention with the inevitable hilarious consequences.
The Three Musketeers, 25th October, 14:00 at The Haymarket
All for Fun – and Fun for All! Chaos, mayhem and stupidity reign supreme as the Three Half Pints swish their swords, buff their boots and flourish their feathers in their most ridiculous adventure yet!
Waiting for Gateaux, 8th to 11th November at The Haymarket
By Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood. The health club where you can have your cake and eat it! Mo-tivators is the worst health and fitness club in the country. Run by Maureen, a ‘big-boned’ fifty-something widow at a small hall in the middle of nowhere, it only attracts clientele who have nothing better to do. Jackie comes to get away from her philandering husband and she’s started to bring her younger sister Whitney along to keep her out of trouble. Donald comes because he secretly loves Maureen. He’s lost 12 stone so far – if he doesn’t ask her out soon there’ll be nothing left of him! Things seem to be on the up when Sophie, a researcher for a reality TV programme, comes to check out the club but when a snowstorm arrives it brings with it revelations which will change their lives forever in this comedy about friendship, frostbite and French fries.
The Ghost's Touch!, 29th November to 2nd December at The Haymarket
By Wilkie Collins. Widower Stephen Rayburn’s young daughter Lucy runs back to him from the woods in Kensington Gardens. He can see that she’s frightened. “Is it the dog?” he asks. “It’s not the dog,” she answers. “It’s the lady... I think she might be mad!” The ghostly woman Stephen meets leads him into a web of lust and revenge that reaches out from beyond the grave. ...but who will feel the ghost’s touch?
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!
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)