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Aylesbury
Waterside Theatre

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Aylesbury Waterside Theatre was officially opened on
12th October 2010 by Cilla Black.

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Panto history at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

2010: Cinderella
2011: Dick Whittington
2012: Peter Pan
2013: Sleeping Beauty
2014: Cinderella 
2015: Dick Whittington 
2016: Aladdin
2017: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
2018: Peter Pan
2019: Beauty and the Beast
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2021: Cinderella
2022: Aladdin
2023: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2024: 
The furthers adventures of Peter Pan: The return of Captain Hook

 
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2010: Cinderella

10th December 2010 - 9th January 2011

Cast

Cilla Black (Fairy Godmother), Gary Lucy (Prince Charming), Billy Boyle (Baron Hardup), 

Nicola Brazil (Cinderella), Andy Collins (Buttons), Richard Reynard (Dandini), 

Chris Dennis (Peaches - Ugly sister), Nick Richards (Pixie)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

2011: Dick Whittington

9th December 2011 - 31st December 2011

Cast

Jonathan Wilkes (Dick), Gillian Wright (Fairy Bowbells), Chrisian Patterson (Sarah the Cook), 

Steve Serlin (King Rat), Suzzanne Carley (Alice Fitzwarren)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

2012: Peter Pan

8th December 2013 - 30th December 2014

Cast

Russell Grant (Roger the Cabin Boy), Steve Serlin (Captain Hook), Andy Collins (Smee), 

Adam Pettigrew (Peter Pan), Holly Brewer (Wendy Darling), Jasmine Kerr (Tiger Lily)

This production ran from

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

2013: Sleeping Beauty

13th December 2013 - 5th January 2014

Cast

Anita Dobson (Carabosse), Andy Collins (Chester the Jester), Holly Brewer (Beauty), 

Christian Lund (Prince Antonio), Graham Kent (Nurse Molly Coddle), David Whitworth (King)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

2014: Cinderella

12th December 2014 - 4th January 2015

Cast

Russell Grant (Baron Hardup), Suzanne Shaw (Fairy Godmother), Andy Collins (Buttons), 

Andrew Derbyshire (Prince Charming), Dave Lynn (Wicked Stepmother, 

Holly Brewer (Cinderella), Chris Nelson (Dandini)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

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2015: Dick Whittington

13th December 2015 - 3rd January 2016

Cast

Sam Bailey (Fairy Bowbells), Melanie Masson (Queen Rat), Andy Collins (Silly Billy)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

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2016: Aladdin

9th December 2016 - 31st December 2017

Cast

Michelle Collins (Slave of the Ring), Andy Collins (Wishee Washee), Jasmine Walia (Princess), 

Danny Colligan (Aladdin), La Voix "Gareth Joyner" (as Widow Twankey)

A First Family Entertainment pantomime

2017: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

8th December 2017 - 31st December 2017

Cast

Su Pollard (as Wicked Queen), Andy Collins (as Muddles), La Voix "Gareth Joyner" (as Nurse), 

Jon Moses (as Prince)

A UK Productions pantomime

Video: Behind the scenes

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2018: Peter Pan

7th December 2018 - 31st December 2018

Cast

Andy Collins (Smee), La Voix "Gareth Joyner" (Miss Smee), John Michie (Captain Hook), 

Holly Atterton (Tinker Bell)

UK Productions

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2019: Beauty and the Beast

6th December 2019 - 5th January 2020

Cast

Danny Walters, Andy Collins, La Voix "Gareth Joyner", Michael Quinn, Amelia Adams-Pearce

UK Productions

 

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2021: Cinderella

3rd December 2021 - 2nd January 2022

 

Cast

Andy Collins (as Buttons)La Voix "Gareth Joyner" (as Fairy Godmother), 

Mark Rhodes (as Dandini), Gemma Naylor (as Cinderella), Chris Nelson, Kris Milnes, 

Regan Burke, Nick Harris

UK Productions

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2022: Aladdin

2nd December 2022 - 2nd January 2023

Cast

Andy Collins (as Wishee Washee), La Voix "Chris Dennis" (as Widow Twankey), 

Davood Ghadami (as Abanazar)

UK Productions

2023/24 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

1st December 2023 - 4th January 2024

Cast

James Bye, Andy Collins

UK Productions

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2021

2022

2023

2024

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2024/25 The furthers adventures of Peter Pan: The return of Captain Hook

6th December 2024 - 5th January 2025

Cast

Andy Collins

UK Productions

Brochures 

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Promotional Videos

Posters not used for main season

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2010: Cinderella

2010

As the first pantomime in Aylesbury's new £45 million Waterside theatre, Cinderella has multiple roles to fill - as a clear delineation from productions at the now deceased Civic Centre, as justification for the expense of the theatre build, and ultimately as a fun family panto experience. Thankfully, it succeeds on all three counts.

The casting of Cilla Black as Fairy Godmother shapes the whole show. Not only does her self-deprecating humour carry through to other aspects of the production, but by concentrating the musical numbers on her back catalogue, there's an element of class that is missing from shows which rely solely on contemporary songs.

The quality is visible throughout, not only from the sumptuous set designs but with a strong cast and a coherent dance ensemble. As Buttons, Andy Collins drives the comedy and audience interaction, working hard to make it look effortless. Ugly sisters Chris Dennis and Nick Richards are lewd and crude, and although their outfits don't always live up to the gaudy splendour of their opening attire, their performance is consistently good.

With such an emphasis on comic roles (further supplemented by Billy Boyle's Baron Hardup and Richard Reynard's Dandini), the title character risks getting overwhelmed. Thankfully, Nicola Brazil's spirited Cinderella makes that impossible, delivering a strong vocal performance that shines.

There are some weak points - Cinderella's transformation suffers from a ball outfit that doesn't differ sufficiently from her pre-change hood and cloak combo for example - but overall this is a fine production to establish the Waterside's reputation in the local area.

2011: Dick Whittington

2011

GLORIOUS sets, fantastic musical numbers and (almost) as many jokes as a Jimmy Carr gig – Dick Whittington is pantomime heaven.

The Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s second slapstick shindig is everything you could want in a panto – its rip-roaring fun, has spectacular set-pieces and is just a brilliant night out for people of all ages.

What it may lack in star power, it more than makes up with a stellar display of wonderful set-pieces, great performances and a genuinely funny script.

There’s something for everyone – for the adults, the jokes walk right up to the line of political correctness and innuendo acceptable for a family show, but never over-steps the mark.

And the kids will love the traditional and silly ‘it’s behind you’ moments.

Robbie Williams’ best mate Jonathan Wilkes is the headliner and plays a cheeky and charming Dick Whittington.

But it is Christian Patterson who steals the show as panto dame Sarah the Cook.

His over-the-top costumes, delivery and impromptu gags had the audience – and Wilkes – literally rolling with laughter.

They feed off each other on the stage and their chemistry is a joy to behold.

Traditionally, the panto dame is usually a banker for some belly laughs and the children love to cheer for the hero – but a good pantomime is nothing without a great villain, and Steven Serlin is a truly great panto villain.

There are also solid performances from EastEnders star Gillian Wright as Fairy Bow Bell and Suzanne Carley, who plays Alice.

But this pantomime belongs to the before mentioned comedy-trio – and the backstage team for some truly wonderful production work.

The sets are glorious - taking the audience through cobbled streets and onboard a storm-hit pirate ship before whisking them away to a Moroccan palace.

And the musical set-pieces are spectacular - including a rendition of the Disney singalong classic Under The Sea, featuring bubbles and glow in the dark fish. Clever stuff and beautifully executed.

The panto’s storyline says our hero comes to Aylesbury because the streets are paved with gold.

Well, in that case, Dick Whittington the pantomime must be encrusted with diamonds because it sparkles from start to finish.

A must-see family event.

2012: Peter Pan

2012

PACKED full of jokes and fantastic musical numbers, Peter Pan is a Christmas cracker of a panto – but it lacks the sparkle of its predecessor.

Astrologer-turned-Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant is the Aylesbury Waterside’s big name, playing the role of Roger the Cabin Boy (steady!) who answers to an advert for a new crewman aboard Captain Hook’s ship.

Grant shimmies his way through the show as the second comic turn, with Andy Collins’ Smee leading the slapstick interaction with the audience.

But it’s Steven Serlin whose star shines the brightest as the evil Captain Hook, picking up his own baton from last year’s star-turn as Dick Whittington’s nemesis King Rat.

Serlin’s banter with the crowd, his stage presence and incredible vocal talents stole the show hands (or should that be hook) down.

Two other created characters, the divas played by Bobbie Gordon and Ngozi Ugoh, were a fantastic addition, adding a sassy swagger to the show as they beautifully performed a number of Motown and chart hits.

The sets are stunning and some of the special effects are excellent.

But the show’s protagonist, Peter Pan (Adam Pettigrew), is relegated to a bit-part character to allow the production’s bigger named actors to showcase their talents, which stifles the ever popular J.M. Barrie story.

And Holly Brewer, who plays Wendy Darling, is also only given a single slot at the start of the second act to unleash her singing abilities.

While Dick Whittington was tailored to both adults and the children, Peter Pan is more for the youngsters, who were amazed by the flying stunts, the Tinkerbell special effects and the silly slapstick comedy.

The adults weren’t left out entirely with jokes about Strictly, X-Factor, High Speed 2 and, of course, a few innuendo-laden quips thrown in – but whether it was first night glitches, a spark was missing at times.

Overall, Peter Pan is fun, has fantastic set pieces and brilliant vocal performances – if you have children, it’s the perfect pantomime for them.

But while Dick Whittington ticked every box, Peter Pan feels like it could do with a sprinkling of its own magical fairy dust for it to fly past last year’s panto spectacular.

2013: Sleeping Beauty

2013

AYLESBURY panto has all the right elements for the traditional pantomime with upbeat songs, hammy one-liners and elaborate costumes- but for me it fell just a bit flat.

That is not saying the show wasn't well done and for a pantomime for all the family it probably hits the nail on the head.

But at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre last night the atmosphere didn't seem as buzzing as at other pantos I have been to.

The show started off a bit slowly and there were not too many songs in the first part, which I think was lacking. However it did kick off with a good dance routine to Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's Good Time, which had me tapping my toes.

Former Eastenders star, Anita Dobson, plays the wicked fairy, Carabosse. She is clearly a very talented actress and the children loved to boo her when she came on stage. She revelled in her role and played up to being the baddie with ease.

She did a number of different voices, which I didn't get, but perhaps that was more for the children in the audience.

The comedy duo of Chester the Jester, played by Andy Collins, and Graham Kent, who played Nurse Molly Coddle, were a good pairing.

Andy Collins interacted really well with the audience and soon had everyone doing jazz hands.

The best scene was when Beauty's toys came out to protect her against Carabosse to Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). It was great choreography and made me laugh to see a big teddy stomping around the stage. It was actually a bit strange as I couldn't quite put my finger on why there wasn't as much excitement in the room.

At other pantos I have been to there were kids who just couldn't stay in their seats and dancing around with excitement. I didn't see so much of that last night but yet the show seemed more geared towards children, than adults.

Christian Lund played Prince Antonio- he had a great voice and sung A Thousand Years amazingly and Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing.

Beauty was played by Holly Brewer, who has starred in the theatre's pantomime before and really came into her own during the last song in the show.

Rolling on the River. David Whitworth played the deaf King very well and Linda Bardell was good as the bossy Queen.

The ensemble were excellent and they made the stage come alive when they were on-stage so deserve a mention- Frankie Armitage, Gemma Buckingham, Naoimh Morgan, Leslie Garcia Bowman, Ben Gillett and Helen Penn.

The children from The Musical Kidz Company were also brilliant and very professional for their age.

Sleeping Beauty is a very polished pantomime with a talented cast. My deputy editor loved the show and if you are looking for a traditional pantomime then this could be the one for you.

Sleeping Beauty is at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until January 5. Tickets range from £10 to £29.50. To book call 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury

2014: Cinderella

2014

There's a catastrophe at the very beginning of Aylesbury's Cinderella as the actress playing Fairy Godmother is 'injured'. Fortunately, a first aider is on hand, bearing a remarkable resemblance to performer Suzanne Shaw, who is willing to step into her sparkly shoes at the last minute.

This scenario is pursued in the early stages of Act I to allow Shaw to enjoy a bit of banter with the audience as she steps in and out of her fairy character. Fortunately, it is left aside in the most magical Frozen-influenced sequence of the evening, when Shaw and Holly Brewer's sweet Cinderella prepare for the royal ball, and belt out Let It Go in the process.

Director Chris Nelson, who also appears as Dandini, ensures this traditional fare rocks along at a swift pace and showcases the talents of a strong ensemble. Tim Hudson and Dave Lynn are a top notch pair of conniving Ugly Sisters and Andrew Derbyshire, in the role of Prince Charming, impresses vocally throughout Russell Grant pops in as Baron Hardup, but it's almost a cameo.

Best of all is the bundle of energy that is Andy Collins' Buttons, whose rapport with the young volunteers during the pre-finale singsong had the audience in stitches.

2015: Dick Whittington

2015

At its best, panto is an ensemble affair and each member of this Aylesbury cast contributes to a slick and feel-good production.

Every ingredient has been thrown into the mix – from Dick Whittington defeating the Queen Rat in a lip-sync battle to a UV under-the-sea light show – but director Chris Nelson (also playing Alderman Fitzwarren and the Sultan) and nifty choreographer Nikki Wilkes keep the action flowing at an incredible pace.

One or two of the musical numbers could be cut, but it’s easy to see why Nelson wanted to show off the vocals of X Factor divas Sam Bailey and Melanie Masson. When Bailey’s feisty Fairy Bowbells goes up against Masson’s convincingly dastardly Queen Rat, vocal fireworks fly.

There’s also a little bit of magic during the Act I finale, when Dick dreams of being the lord mayor of London against a golden tableau of church bells ringing.

Elsewhere, Rachael Louise Miller and Kristopher Milnes, as Alice Fitzwarren and Dick, create the central love story in a charming fashion, and Jason Sutton’s Sarah the Cook has great fun with an innuendo-laden script.

Keeping the energy high, and providing the lion’s share of the laughs, is Aylesbury’s own Andy Collins, a favourite with the audience – and it’s not difficult to see why.

2016: Aladdin

2016

Andy Collins’ Wishee Washee is a gem with exceptional timing, rapport and warmth in this enjoyable Aladdin. He might even be too much of a good thing because at two and a half hours this show is 30 minutes too long and you feel he’s overused.

Michelle Collins works convincingly as the Genie of the Ring with frequent references to her TV persona – particularly in Albert Square. But every time her namesake, Andy, comes on he steals it. Director Chris Nelson – himself an appealing PC Pong – knows he’s on to a good thing with Wishee so all manner of diverting routines go his way – two especially in the first half had us all in tears.

But these diversions keep coming, the plot is left to wither and by the end – with a mock ballet with balloons – we just want them to get on with it.

The show isn’t all Andy Collins: there’s fine singing from La Voix’s Twankey, Jasmin Walia’s Jasmine and especially Danny Colligan’s Aladdin; the songs are delivered expertly and Leanne Pinder’s choreography makes good use of a big stage and a scarily acrobatic Genie Of the Lamp in Joel Ekperigin.

It’s all delivered against a regularly shifting backdrop of appropriate colour and scale made even more vivid by some effective lighting from Bob Bustance

2017: Snow White

2017
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