Monday, 20 January 2020

Village pantos are just getting started

Village pantos are just getting started

PANTO season may be drawing to a close as far as the bigger theatres are concerned, but a number of more locally based groups are just getting started, writes Matthew Wilson.

Next Thursday (January 16) is the opening night of the Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group’s production of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, as adapted by Stuart Paterson.

The show, at Loddon Hall, is running until Saturday, January 18. Performances start at 7.45pm on the Thursday and Friday and 2pm and 7pm on the Saturday.

Tickets are priced £10 or £9, depending on proximity to the stage. For more information and to book, visit

At the Corn Exchange in Wallingford, the Sinodun Players are deep in rehearsals for their 72nd annual pantomime.

Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood by Alan P Frayn runs from Friday, January 17, to Saturday, February 1.

A Sinodun Players spokesman said: “This traditional tale of bravery and intrigue set deep in the Forest of Sherwood in mediaeval middle-England tells the story in song, dance, poetry and prose.

“Once again, the society is particularly pleased to welcome some 25 members of the Sinodun Players’ junior branch, Encore, who join forces with as many senior players to deliver the usual mix of nonsense and laughter, with perhaps the odd surprise lurking deep in the woods. Don’t miss it.”

Tickets are £12 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and £15 on Fridays and Saturdays, with children £8 for all performances.

For more information, call (01491) 825000 or visit

Panto specialist Alan P Frayn is also the author of this year’s Wargrave Theatre Workshop production.

Directed by Linda Daman, Anastasia the Pantomime is playing from January 22 to 26 at the Woodclyffe Hall in the High Street.

A spokesman said: “Anastasia follows the story of the lost Russian princess — one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century. Against the background of the Russian Revolution our plot combines high drama with all the usual over the top pantomime characters who muddle their way through to a successful conclusion. Don’t miss this feast of entertainment, singing, dancing and silliness.”

Evening performances take place at 8pm on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. There are three shows on the Saturday at 1pm, 4pm and 8pm, followed by a Sunday matinée at 1pm.

The Shiplake and Dunsden Dramatic Organisation, aka SHADDO, are also getting in on the panto act.

Aladdin by Ben Crocker is playing at Shiplake Memorial Hall from January 23 to 25.

Tickets are on sale from outlets including Shiplake Corner Shop and Binfield Heath Post Office.

For more information, visit

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