Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Happy Family Recommended Pantomimes.

Our choice of the pantomimes this year - in no particular order.

Such a huge choice, so many different kinds of show..

Comedy based, music based, small cast, large cast. With special effect or without. This year we have ventured as far as Dumfries in Scotland, ideal if you live within 50 miles. We will also be going to one of the largest in the country -  The Hippodrome -  Birmingham. Milton Keynes pantomime has traditionally featured great music, whilst Northampton -  Royal and Derngate has gone for emphasis on comedy. Always worth visiting both.

Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury -  Cinderella


You know this is going to be a wonderful show from the very start. No expense has been spared.

The Waterside Theatre is a beautiful place and the seats are extremely comfortable for those who worry about spending a long time sitting down.

The Royal and Derngate, Northampton - Peter Pan.

Best crocodile appearance in a pantomime ever. Forget the West End, the special effects are excellent in this production starring Joe Pasquale. Everyone on stage seemed to be having a great time and the emphasis was on comedy. If you want to see people flying around the stage -  there are plenty of aerial thrills in this.


Merlin for all the family -  aged 7 upwards. (not a pantomime but too good to leave out)

Recommended -  the story is simple and centres on a young Arthur, Merlin and Gwen. Not the story we are used to but equally absorbing. Although not recommended for under 7, my 5 year old was immersed in it. The magic was handled in a very clever but effective way and the cast were all superb. Some music, but it felt very much like an older dramatic play with the right amount of humour.

Aladdin is on in Coventry at the Belgrade. (More to come)

Milton Keynes Theatre - Peter Pan. (20 miles from London - more to come)

Let's face it, we go back to where we know we will see a good show but we have widened  our field this year. I never use to be a fan of pantomimes but now I can't seem to get enough of them. Despite being the same in so many ways, they are all different, just like a fingerprint. This year I am joined not only by a critical five year old but also by a grand-mother over 80.

Peter Pan - Dumfries - Easterbrook hall. -  Excellent small cast pantomime. Seating is limited though so so be quick and grab some seats.

They may not have the big budget, but they do have a good cast. The script is much fuller than a pantomime normally has and there are some ingenious ideas in this show. Traditionally the part of Peter Pan was played by a lady, unusual these days. It was good to go back to an old fashioned pantomime with more than a few twists.

Seats for limited dates up to 30 December. Call 01387 70 2020

Next update: 21st Dec

Fantastic Pantomime at Easterbrook Hall

How far to travel for a good pantomime can be a difficult call -  but if you are within travelling distance of Dumfries -  you can't go wrong if you visit Easterbrook Hall for this year's pantomime -  Peter Pan.

A small cast with a tight script and  good songs, witty interaction with the audience and a show that captivates both young and old.

Easterbrook Hall is situated on the Crichton site, located approximately 2km south of Dumfries town centre. It is bounded to the east and west by Bankend Road and the B725 Glencaple Road, respectively

01387 70 20 20 

Adults = £12.50
Children & Concessions = £10.00
Schools = £7.50
Family ticket = £40.00 (2 adults & 2 children)

World Premiere Northampton

Magical new take on the world of Arthurian legend this Christmas

This Christmas the Royal stage is transformed into the mythical world of Camelot and Arthurian legends, with the world premiere of Ella Hickson’s Merlin. A co-production with Nuffield, Southampton, this delightful family show brings Royal & Derngate’s Made In Northampton 2014 season to a festive conclusion from Wednesday 26 November to Sunday 4 January.


From the writer of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2013 Christmas show, Wendy and Peter Pan, Ella Hickson’s magical new take on Merlin sees three childhood friends embark on an action-packed adventure. For Prince Arthur, turning sixteen means becoming a knight, but he is torn between a duty to his country and to his friends. His young squire Merlin is struggling to keep his extraordinary magic powers under control and the gutsy Princess Gwen proves that she might just be the bravest of them all.


Featuring some extraordinary and hilarious characters, from petulant princesses to vile villains and talking trees, this world premiere production tells the story behind one of the most famous legends of all time, combining exquisite storytelling with atmospheric new music, in what promises to be a real Christmas treat.


The music in this play with songs is composed by Jon Nicholls, whose many credits for Royal & Derngate include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Young America season, Spring Storm and Beyond the Horizon, which transferred to the National Theatre in London. Merlin is directed by multi-award-winning director Liam Steel, who was responsible for all the musical staging and choreography in the film version of hit musical Les Miserables.


Heading a talented ensemble cast of actor-musicians, Will Merrick, best known as Alo Creevey in E4 TV series Skins, takes the title role of the young Merlin.


This co-production of Merlin marks the start of a new partnership between Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and Nuffield, Southampton, which will see them collaboratively commission and produce annual adaptations of well-loved children’s titles which will play at both theatres across two Christmas seasons. Merlin will play at Nuffield Southampton next Christmas, while Nuffield’s 2014 Christmas show, The Snow Queen, by award-winning comedy writer Georgia Pritchett (Miranda, My Family, Not Going Out) will be re-staged in Northampton next year.


Merlin can be seen at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from Wednesday 26 November 2014 to Sunday 4 January 2015. Tickets priced from £9.50 to £24* can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at Merlin is recommended for ages 7 and upwards.

Opportunity for choirs to appear on the professional stage with a West End cast

Godspell, Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz’ legendary rock musical is set to tour the UK in 2015, including a performance at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Friday 3 July. The show’s producers have launched an exciting search, as for the first time in British theatre history, fully formed choirs from all over the country are being given the opportunity to take part in a professional touring musical production direct from the West End.

Choirs will be chosen to perform at a local venue across the country* as part of the ensemble cast. Working with a West End cast and creative team, each choir will be coached to their moment in the spotlight. Choirs will sing some of the most popular songs from the show - accompanied by the fantastic Godspell in Concert band.

Producers are looking for mixed-voice SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) choirs with an excellent musical and performance standard and choir members must be a minimum of 16 years of age.

Choirs at each performance venue will be comprised of 28 singers. Half the choir will be static and the other half will ‘move’ (not dance) and will be directed by a choreographer. Four dedicated West End performers will make each choir’s number up to 32 and either one choir in total or two choirs will be cast for each venue.

Each choir will receive the expert tutelage of Musical Director Russell Scott who is at the helm of the show’s spectacular new orchestration. Russell has worked in the music industry, professionally, for over 30 years working in the worlds of Classical and Musical Theatre.

The application process is simple – choirs can visit the show website and apply online. The closing date for applications is Friday 19th December and after this date shortlisted choirs will be invited to one of six regional auditions in January with a view to the successful choirs being informed at the end of that month.

The UK tour will feature a brand new, modern-day rock score packed to the heavens with favourites such as Light of the World, All Good Gifts and Day by Day.

This timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and love has touched the hearts of countless theatregoers all over the world - and now UK theatre fans can join in the celebration as a spectacular ensemble is set to stir souls and raise spirits, aided by a full live band.

Tickets for the performance at Northampton will go on sale 19 December, and will be bookable by visiting or calling Box Office on 01604 62481101604 624811.

Godspell is performed by permission of Stephen Schwartz - the Grammy® and Academy Award®- winning composer of Wicked and Pippin - Russell Scott and Mark Pettitt for Godspell in Concert UK Ltd will produce the 12 week UK tour. Kenneth Avery-Clark directs the production which was critically lauded at its London performance.

Full UK casting to be announced later in 2014.

Musical Director Russell Scott says of the recent announcement:

I have been working with choirs and ensembles for almost 15 years, varying in ages and standards. The great thing about singing is it makes people feel good and can change your mood in an instant. I am so thrilled choirs have been brought more into the public domain in recent years. Choirs are for everyone and I am passionate about working with them and bringing out their best.

I wanted to bring a choral element to Godspell and so reworked the score which is essentially written for 10 principles. I re-orchestrated the ensemble parts to encompass a choir and the result sounded incredible bringing out the true soul of the piece. There are some great songs to sing, and the addition of a choir just makes the sound even more exciting to listen to.  

My vision was to take Godspell In Concert on the road and to cast choirs from around the country to take part. Godspell was conceived as a community piece and what better idea than to bring communities together to sing in a professional UK touring production? It’s never been done before and I am thrilled to be undertaking this huge challenge to bring choirs together with our touring professionals and to give opportunities to singers all across the UK to take part in this unique production.

*where possible

Delticom: Winter tyres: Myth and reality

Nothing lasts as well, or as stubbornly as a prejudice. This also applies to getting the right winter tyres for your car. “Too noisy”, “too slow”, “increase fuel consumption”. Winter tyre moaners can be really creative in finding excuses why they shouldn’t move over to “winter specialists”. But what is actually the truth behind the most common winter tyre prejudices? Here’s a check list of 5 typical statements.

“Only use them in ice and snow”

Are winter tyres only of benefit on snowy or icy roads? Anyone who believes that is way off the mark. Due to their special rubber blend, cold weather tyres or winter tyres perform better than summer tyres in terms of grip even at temperatures of seven degrees Celsius and less. More grip means more safety and it also reduces braking distance.

“You don’t need them in the city”

It is common knowledge that the picturesque British winter of country landscapes covered in white powder like snow is not exactly the norm. This is why winter and cold weather tyres have an advantage over summer models, and not just when there is a good covering of snow. “Even if you’re only driving around town, you shouldn’t go without winter tyres. Just one day of snow fall can really reduce your mobility, particularly when you have to rely on your car”, explains Philip von Grolman from

“Winter tyres are really loud and increase fuel consumption”

Another widespread prejudice is that driving comfort suffers with winter tyres. Modern winter tyres are comfortable, and generally no louder than comparable summer tyres. Nor is there any loss of ride comfort compared to summer tyres. Motorists do not have to worry about increased fuel consumption; extra costs related to fuel consumption caused by tyres are a thing of the past.

“Winter tyres lead to high additional costs”

A widespread mistaken belief: some motorists calculate that changing from summer to winter tyres according to the seasons means having two sets of tyres, and so twice the costs. They’re forgetting one thing: The wear and tear of every kilometre you drive is spread over both sets of tyres, so that they wear down more slowly, and have to be changed less frequently. This is a clear advantage for the driver.

“Winter tyres are slow”

This one can also be put to bed very quickly. There is a wide variety of winter tyre models in many different designs which should also appeal to sporty drivers. You can tell the relevant maximum driving speed allowed by the index on the side of the tyre. “T” stands for a top speed of 190 kilometres per hour, “H” for 210 km/h, “V” for “240 km/h. However, it is strongly recommended that you adjust your speed according to the weather conditions. Motorists can get an overview of what models are suitable for their own car in online stores such as in just a few clicks of a mouse.

Buying tyres online is becoming more and more popular

New tyres in the click of a mouse: The automotive area was swept along by the online shopping boom a long time age. One quarter of all motorists surveyed have already bought tyres on the Internet, according to Delticom’s 2014 Report. More than 5,000 motorists in five European countries, including Great Britain, were surveyed as part of the study. British consumers in particular can see themselves buying their tyres online more and more in future on websites such as

Tyres are available at the online stores and, and Delticom online stores in other countries.

Online store for spare parts:

Other online stores in the UK:

For garages and dealers:

Motorcycle tyres:

Tyre test site:

For more information on the company, please visit:

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