A review of the festive season’s offerings

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Christmas seems to start earlier every year. While I may get a bit fed up with ads and sparkles in the shops from September, at least it gives you time to book tickets, or give tickets as presents for our North West theatres.

Of course I must start with pantomime. Try to see a panto this Christmas, a uniquely British tradition. My favourite is always the Oldham Coliseum. How many years have I shouted and cheered in this wonderful theatre, which produces the customary tales with all the usual favourite elements. This year it is Mother Goose with FineTime Fontayne as the Dame and other regulars.

The Royal Exchange is putting on Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods. A baker and his wife, desperate for a child venture into the woods to find ingredients to reverse a witch’s curse. There they encounter a host of fabled characters in a darkly comic exploration of well-known fairy tales.

The Bolton Octagon are giving us The BFG. This theatre has a history of excellent productions of Roald Dahl’s wonderful children’s stories.

HOME is presenting Inkheart, adapted from Cornelia Funke’s best-selling fantasy novel where the world is full of dark magic and ferocious villains, where Maggie finds herself in the middle of adventures she has only read about in books.

The Lowry has The Sound of Music. Yes the hills will be alive, together with Mr Popper’s Penguins and iconic children’s writer Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather.

Our own Grand has got lots of great music and on December 21st, The Night Before Christmas from the Saltmine Theatre Company.

Have a great time this festive season.

Pippa Munro Hebden