The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
Oliver!, 2nd to 4th August, 19:30 and 14:30 on Saturday at The Haymarket
Consider yourself at home with Lionel Bart's musical based on Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist. Widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike, this tale will go down in history as one of the greats. The streets of Victorian England come to life as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. He escapes to London and finds acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly Fagin. When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, the benevolent victim, Mr Brownlow takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, Fagin employs the sinister Bill Sikes and the sympathetic Nancy to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family. Will Oliver get a happy ending?
The Scarlet Pimpernel, 26th to 29th September, 19:30 and 14:00 on Thursday and Saturday at The Haymarket
Against the background of the French Revolution and Madame la Guillotine, the 'cleverest woman in Europe' Marguerite St Just is torn between three men, her husband, her brother and the power-hungry, aristocrat-hating Chauvelin. As the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel swashbuckles his way through Paris, will he be in time to save the life of yet another innocent victim? Or will Marguerite's past come back to haunt her and snatch her from her new life as the wife of the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney – to the guillotine?
The Gruffalo's Child, 11th to 14th October, daytimes at The Haymarket
Just how brave is she? Find out for yourselves! The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood... One wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist... does he? Tall Stories returns, bringing Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel to life in this magical, musical adaptation.
Peppa Pig's Adventure, 24th to 25th October, daytimes at The Anvil
Join Peppa as she gets ready to go on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her school friends, including Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. With lunch-boxes packed and Daddy Pig driving the bus, Peppa and friends are excited about their outdoor adventure, full of games, laughter and live music! The happy campers soon settle down to sleep and listen to the gentle pitter patter of rain. Safe and warm inside their tents the excited group can look forward to morning, when there will be lots of muddy puddles to play in!
Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four, 1st to 3rd November, 19:30 and 14:00 on Saturday at The Haymarket
When Mary Morstan arrives at 221B, Baker Street to request help with the mystery of her missing father, Holmes takes the case. Together with his companion Dr Watson he enters a murky world of deception and trickery, unravelling a complex plot involving murder, corruption and stolen jewels. Original live music, stylish theatricality and magical story-telling combine for an unforgettable theatrical experience. The game’s afoot!
How to Hide a Lion, 9th to 10th November, daytimes at The Haymarket
When a lion is chased out of town, a little girl, Iris, helps him to find somewhere to hide. Iris embarks on a mission to squash her new friend into a variety of sneaky tight spots, as the misinformed town folk try and track him down. Helen Stephens’ magical book, How to Hide a Lion, comes to life with playful humour, dazzling puppets and jazz. This is not one to miss!
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!
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)