Goodbye to Robin, and it’s hello again to Jack as pint-sized pantos do battle with the big boys

Limelight Theatre panto team, December 2013

Limelight Theatre panto team, December 2013

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There may be big names up in lights just down the road but the teams who put together pantos on a budget reckon that their productions are just as much fun.

So while former EastEnders star Anita Dobson puts in an icily evil performance in Sleeping Beauty at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre, smaller venues are counting on punters who prefer the knockabout fun – and the family-friendly ticket prices – available elsewhere.

The team at Tring’s Court Theatre won’t be hitting their panto stride until after Christmas, but it will be all systems go when the run of Jack And The Beanstalk starts on Saturday night.

A spokesman for the venue proudly boasted that there won’t be a soap star to be seen speaking Ian Gower and Nick Russon’s lines.

But as they look to build on the sellout success of last year’s Dick Whittington, they know what their audiences want.

Pre-panto publicity puts the focus on experience: “This pantomime features an abundance of local talent with more than 40 years experience producing traditional family pantomimes.

“Boo and hiss the baddies as they try to spoil Jack’s plans to find true love and cheer on our heroes to ensure that good triumphs over evil.

“As a stunning finale, everyone that wants to, gets to join the cast on stage for a sing song, something the kids will never forget.”

The show runs until Sunday, January 5 – visit www. courttheatre.co.uk or call 07543 560 478 to check availability.

Tickets are £10 for adults and £6 for children, and you can also pick them up from Beechwood Fine Foods in Frogmore Street, Tring (cash or cheque only).

Even closer to the Waterside’s big budget show, the team at Aylesbury’s pint-sized Limelight Theatre have been performing Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, written and directed by local hairdresser, pianist and flower arranger, Neil Gurney.

It’s a real community production drawing on the talents of volunteers and students, but the final performances will be this weekend.

Tickets are £12.50 (£8.50 concessions ) and £6.50 children, or £28 for a family of two adults and two children.

Visit www.qpc.org to check availability, or call 01296 424332.