Our pick of this season’s gay pantos
It’s panto season again! Oh yes it is! Oh no…actually, this doesn’t really work written down, so let’s just cut to the chase.
The pantomime is one of the last British traditions we can actually be proud of, along with our long history of producing barnstorming girl groups and Celia Imrie. They’re camp, they’re naff, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. A bit like QX, actually. Perhaps that’s why we love them!
London’s got a great range of adult pantos on this season; some traditional, some a little alternative. We look ahead at some of festive highlights!
Goosed at Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Goosed is this year’s RVT offering and promises to be another sell-out success! Written by the team behind PopHorror’s creatively gory club nights, Paul Joseph and Tim Benzie, it tells the story of the Goose Tavern, which is being threatened by closure due to the arrival of a brand new AmerikeeLand Embassy. It’s a rip-roaring romp of risqué jokes, sharp song parodies, and some dazzling turns from familiar faces from the London drag circuit, including Topsie Redfern as the cackling Kelly-Anne Con-Witch!
Two Petite Pantos at The Drayton Arms, SW5
This one’s a little different. Firstly, it starts when most pantos are calling it a day in mid-January, and secondly, it’s two separate shows played back-to-back rather than just the one. The first act is a take on the classic Dick Whittington, while the second half is a live election where audience members get to elect the next President of Panto Land. Writer and director Robert Pearce thinks that panto doesn’t have to just be smut and ‘he’s behind you’ routines (although there will, of course, be that), but can be an intelligent satire of the world around us! Plus, it stars 90s pop sensation Lolly! Yeah, bet you hadn’t thought of her for a while.
Two Petite Pantos runs between 9th-13th January, tickets £14/16 from thedraytonarmstheatre.co.uk
Snow White and the Seven Poofs at Karma Sanctum Hotel
You may know Simon Gross as Mr Showbiz or for his stint on Big Brother, but he’s been putting for pantos for yonks and knows his way around a double entendre. He’s bringing back his Snow White show to the Karma Sanctum Hotel in Soho, making it bigger, bolder, and ruder than ever before! He personally stars in it as Queen Showbiz, alongside Vicki Vivacious as the titular heroine.
Snow White and the Seven Poofs runs 15th December-7th January, tickets £20 from ticketsource.co.uk/snow7poofs
Snow White, Rotten to the Core at Above the Stag
London’s only LGBT+ theatre is no stranger to a bit of high campery and their pantomimes have it in abundance! This year’s also gives the story of Snow White a decidedly naughty twist and is set in the rogue state (and former London borough) of Lumley-by-Gosh, ruled over by an evil queen. This one is always madly popular and there are only a couple of dates with tickets still available. If you want to catch it, you better book quickly. Like, NOW.
Snow White, Rotten to the Core runs over various dates between 30th November-13th January, tickets £21 from abovethestag.ticketsolve.com
Dick! and his Pussy at Her Upstairs
Camden queer hub Her Upstairs have had a pretty fab 2017 by all accounts, putting on a range of inventive and diverse nights, as well as expanding out to Them Downstairs as well. They’re crowning this year with their debut panto, written by Gareth Joyner, the man behind the painfully funny Myra Dubois. As you can tell by the title, this isn’t one for fans of subtlety or good taste, but it’s got a strong cast of some of London’s best alternative cabaret stars, including Tracey Barlow, Tayce, Cheryl Hole, Mynxie Monroe, Herr, Ruby Wednesday, and LoiUs CYfer.
Dick! and his Pussy runs on various dates between 6th-20th December, tickets from £9 at skiddle.com
Xnto Panto 2: Christmas Cracked in London at The Glory
Xnthony is one of the make-up smeared nutbags in residence at The Glory, putting on his Irish cabaret night and getting tattooed live on stage at his weekly bingo show. He’s what some would describe as ‘a bit of a one’. Anyway, this December, he’s putting on a sequel to the alternative panto he put on last year. It follows his quest to reach Christmas Number 1 and will be jampacked with original songs, special guests, and festive mayhem. Glory to the newborn king!
Xnto Panto 2: Christmas Cracked in London is on December 15th & 16th, tickets £8 from outsavvy.com
King Tut – A Pyramid Panto
The King’s Head Theatre is a bit of a gem. It’s a cosy little pub, with an intimate theatre in the back, putting on exciting new shows from up-and-coming writers year round, many with a decidedly queer strand. And in true style, their pantomime goes a little against the grain. King Tut sees them go back to ancient Egypt, whipping up an after-the-watershed medlee of mummies, magic, and musical numbers!
King Tut – A Pyramid Panto runs between 24th November- 6th January, tickets from £17.50 at kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com