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Panto season is just about upon us - oh yes it is!

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 17:25 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

It's become the tradition for soap stars to tread the boards at Christmas but I was a bit surprised to see that Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood is starring in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.

As he's cast as the bad guy judge in Strictly I suppose it's no shock to learn that he's playing the Wicked Queen in the panto - which opens on 14 December - alongside Eurovision finalist Mark Evans

Stand by for a lot of Strictly in jokes and catchphrases - fab-u-lous dahling etc - but I was quite cheered to see that the show only runs till early January. The pattern that seems to have been established in many other theatres is of the panto grinding on till Christmas is a dim and distant memory but I always think it's a show you need to see while the tinsel's still up!

I'm hoping to take my four year old godson to the pantomime in Cardiff to see Robin Hood. Failing that, I'll be going with my teenage daughter as she's a huge fan of the actor heading the cast this year, John Barrowman. We saw him in Jack & the Beanstalk at the theatre in 2006/7 and he was brilliant. It was a million miles away from the role that brought him TV fame, Captain Jack in Torchwood but proved that Mr Barrowman is a great all-round entertainer.

He can act, sing, dance and (most importantly for panto) has an instinctive rapport with the audience. Having recently been in London in La Cage aux Folles, he'll be quite used to dressing in tights and perhaps he'll be glad to swap the sparkly frocks for doublet and hose.

As Robin Hood's on in Cardiff till 24 January I might even break my own rule and go to see it after the Christmas decorations are down and the sales are in full swing.

Oh, we'll be all a-quiver - sorry about that, but it is panto pun time!


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