Christmas is the perfect time for families to head to the theatre — oh yes it is! As part of our top 10s for Christmas series, SIMON PARKIN highlights 10 great festive shows in Norfolk.

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Jack and the Beanstalk

Sheringham Little Theatre, December 5-January 5, £16.50-£15.50, £11.50-£10.50 under-16s, £52-£48 family, 01263 822347, www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Sheringham Little Theatre is well known for pulling out all the stops for its shows and this panto is set to be one of the best yet. Full of surprises, singing, dancing, professionals including Russel Hicken as Dame Molly Coddle and young performers, it’s been written by Killian Donnelly, who plays Raoul in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

Aladdin

Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, December 7-31, £17.50-£15.50, £58 family, www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

Grange Hill and EastEnders star Todd Carty is the evil Abanazar desperate to steal the magic lamp at the Corn Exchange, with Ian Marr as panto treasure Widow Twankey. He’s directing this year’s show once more and promising masses of singing and dancing, lots of giggles and a fabulous set. Watch out for that magic carpet ride too!

Mother Goose

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre, December 12-January 5, £12.50 (£10 cons), under-15s £9, £40 family, www.gorlestonpavilion.co.uk/

Mother Goose is in danger of having to leave home because she cannot pay the rent. Luckily, just in time, along comes a new friend, the goose who lays the golden eggs. One of the oldest pantomime stories brought to the Gorleston stage with a cast including Emmerdale’s Tony Howes, Radio Norfolk’s Helen McDermott and the June Glennie School of Dance.

Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show

Hippodrome, St George’s Road, Great Yarmouth, December 15-January 13, £19-£13 (£15 cons), £12.50-£10 under-14s, 01493 844172, www.hippodromecircus.co.uk

Yarmouth Hippodrome celebrates its 12th Christmas Spectacular with dancers, tumblers, exciting acts, and the return of the dare-devil Globe of Death bikers from Bulgaria performing hair-raising stunts. The hit of the WOW Factor Summer 2011 Circus, the bikers return for this special edition of the Christmas show.

Jack and the Beanstalk

St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, December 15, £8 (£6 cons), 01493 331484, www.stgeorgestheatre.com

The local young people of the Dragon’s Stage School bring their fifth annual pantomime to St. George’s Theatre for one night only. A true family show with all your favourite characters, more than 40 cast members and masses of musical hits from the 1970s and 80s.

Aladdin

Norwich Theatre Royal, December 18–January 19, £18-£5.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Humour, slapstick comedy, family fun and great songs and sets — all part of the always hugely popular traditional Theatre Royal panto, which this year is also perhaps the best known of all pantomime tales. Hollyoaks’ Lucy Dixon and popular The Bill star Graham Cole head the cast along with popular panto dame Richard Gauntlett this Christmas. Lucy is Aladdin, while Graham is the villainous Abanazar.

Aladdin,

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, December 18-January 6, £18.50-£7, 01502 533200, or visit marinatheatre.co.uk

Aladdin really is a favourite for our region this Christmas and there’s another chance to join the magical world at Lowestoft too. A mystical show from award-winning producers Paul Holman Associates brings the wonderful Aladdin, the superhero genie, the beautiufl princess, our favourite dame Widow Twankey and of course the nasty one of the ngiht, Abanazar.

The Railway Children

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, December 19-January 5, £14-£10, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are forced to move from London to Yorkshire after their father is taken away from them in mysterious circumstances. In the country, the children meet some extraordinary people and discover exciting places to play – the railway station soon becomes their favourite haunt. This classic tale remains faithful to E Nesbit’s touching 1906 children’s story and is a great alternative to pantomime.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Atrium, North Walsham High School, December 19-22, £10 (£7 cons), £30 family, 01692 400080, www.theatrium.org.uk

Four young evacuees stumble upon the enchanted wardrobe and step into the magical world of Narnia where it always snows and Christmas never comes. Soon our heroes discover they hold the key to hope for all the talking animals that have survived the curse. This new version of the much-loved classic from C.S. Lewis is North Walsham’s own Christmas show.

Sleeping Beauty

Fisher Theatre, Broad Street, Bungay, December 22-January 1, £11 (£10 cons), 01986 897130, www.fishertheatre.org

Powerful sorceress Vestra wasn’t invited to baby Aurora’s big party and she’s really rather upset. The gatecrashing fairy casts a wicked spell and all latecomer Fairy Nuff can do is lessen the impact and wish her a 100 year’s sleep. Who will wake her? Lots of singing, dancing, jokes and music at this well loved theatre panto.

HAVE YOU SEEN ONE OF THE SHOWS MENTIONED HERE? LEAVE YOUR REVIEW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.

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