Put down those shopping bags and laugh off holiday stress at a Christmas pantomime. With catchy songs, audience participation and outrageous costumes, Christmas pantomimes never fail to boost holiday spirits. Here are London’s top ten Christmas pantomimes.

1. Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime

What: The fabulous pantomime dame, Clive Rowe, is reason enough to see this panto, but add in a breakdancing cow and a singing harp and there’s no excuse to miss it.

When: Nov 27, 2010 – Jan 9, 2011
: Hackney Empire
291 Mare Street E8 1EJ
Tube: Hackney Central / Hackney Downs
Tickets: £9.50-£24.50
Get more info: hackneyempire.co.uk
Book online here

2. Robin Hood pantomime

What: Men in tights, ridiculous audience participation and rousing musical numbers make this boutique pantomime a favourite. The whole family will enjoy it, but the extra-smutty adult only nights are not to be missed.

When: Dec 10, 2010 – Jan 9. 2011
Adult-only nights: Dec 18 & 31, Jan 7 & 9
Where: Rosemary Branch Theatre
2 Shepperton Road N1 3DT
Tube: Old Street
Tickets: £16 / £13 (conc.)
Matinees: £10 Under Fives: £5
Get more info: rosemarybranch.co.uk
Book online here

3. Peter Pan pantomime

What: Starring hottie David Hasselhoff as Captain Hook and Louie Spence of “Pineapple Dance Studios” as the cabin boy, this panto at the New Wimbledon Theatre is a classic for the young and the young at heart.

When: Dec 10, 2010 – Jan 16, 2011
Where:New Wimbledon Theatre
93 The Broadway SW19 1QG
Tube: Wimbledon
Tickets: £15- £27
Get more info: ambassadortickets.com/New-Wimbledon-Theatre
Buy tickets here

4. The Snowman pantomime

What: A heart-warming story, popular with families and about everyone else. See the favourite song “Walking in the Air” performed at The Peacock Theatre near Holborn.
When: Dec 1, 2010 – Jan 9, 2011
Where: The Peacock Theatre
Portugal St WC2A 2HT
Tube: Holborn
Tickets: £12 – £32
Get more info: peacock-theatre.com
Buy tickets here

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5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomim

What: See Madeline Duggan from EastEnders as Snow White and Nicole Farada from Bad Girls as the Wicked Queen in this fairy tale classic at the Shaw Theatre.

When: Dec 13, 2010 – Jan 3, 2011
Where: Shaw Theatre
100-110, Euston Road NW1 2AJ
Tube: Euston/ King’s Cross St. Pancras
Tickets: £13 – £17
Get more info: shaw-theatre.com
Buy tickets here

6. Potted Panto

What: Probably the best deal around, Potted Panto is seven classic pantos in eighty minutes. It’s hosted by Jeff and Dan of CBBC and is a West End festive tradition.

When: Dec 10, 2010 – Jan 9, 2011
Where: Vaudeville Theatre
404 Strand WC2R 0NH
Tube: Charing Cross
Tickets: £20 -£25
Get more info: pottedpanto.com
Buy tickets here

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7. A Christmas Carol pantomime

What: There’s no one like Tiny Tim and the gang to get you in
the Christmas spirit, and the hilarious spin and new carols breathe
life into the Dickens classic.

When: Dec 7, 2010 – Jan 15, 2011
Where: The Lion and Unicorn Theatre
42-44 Gaisford Street NW5 2ED
Tube: Kentish Town
Tickets: £10-£15
Get more info: giantolive.com
Buy tickets here.

8. The Gruffalo

What: While it’s a bit more of a children’s classic than a pantomime, this show about a mouse and a gruffalo is a crowd pleaser at the Garrick Theatre. 

When: Nov 24, 2010 – Jan 16, 2011
Where: Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0HH
Tube: Charing Cross/Leicester Square
Tickets: £13 – £16
Get more info: garrick-theatre.co.uk
Buy tickets here

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9. The Night Before Christmas pantomime

What: Join Father Christmas and his helpers as they celebrate the Christmas season with songs, stories and poems.  It’s aimed at the young ones, but everyone can enjoy it.

When: Dec 7 – Dec 24, 2010
Where: Ambassadors Theatre
West St WC2H 9ND
Tube: Leicester Square/ Covent Garden
Tickets: £12.50 – £15.00
Get more info: theambassadorstheatre.co.uk
Buy tickets here

10. Anastasia pantomime

What: It’s a brand new pantomime at the New Players Theatre starring John Triggs as Olga and includes a special appearance by professional goofball Mr. Bean.

When: Dec 28, 2010 – Jan 8, 2011
Where: New Players Theatre
10 The Arches WC2N 6NG
Tube: Charing Cross
Tickets: £10 – £14.50
Get more info: newplayerstheatre.com
Buy tickets here