The Haymarket and The Anvil, Basingstoke
Performances are at The Haymarket unless another location is given.
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 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)