From colourful pantomime to sacred delights, there's plenty to enjoy...
Sleeping Beauty, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, December 8 to January 2
Dunstable is getting ready to wake up to panto season as Sleeping Beauty takes to the stage at the Grove Theatre. The festive spectacular will star John Partridge, who is best known for his role as Christian Clarke in EastEnders but has become a West End star in his own right. John has worked with several rock and pop acts, including U2 and the Pet Shop Boys, and he was invited to judge Lloyd Webber’s TV show, Over The Rainbow. He appeared in La Cage Aux Folles, A Chorus Line and Chicago, and will be turning on the charm as the Prince, having originally trained in ballet at the Royal Ballet Lower School. Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street, will take no nonsense as the wicked fairy godmother Carabosse. Sally has starred on screen in series including Mount Pleasant, Open All Hours and Scott & Bailey, as well as appearing as a regular panellist on Loose Women. Bringing wholesome goodness to the stage will be CBeebies presenter Rebecca Keatley as Fairy Moonbeam. Rebecca is best known for her energetic and bubbly role in CBeebies’ Justin’s House and Swashbuckle, but more recently CBeebies fans will be watching her on the hit children’s TV show Let’s Play.
Dick Whittington, Harpenden Public Halls, December 9 to 22
Two stars from children’s TV will be taking to the stage in Harpenden when the Public Halls hosts its annual pantomime. This year’s show is Dick Whittington and tells the story of the boy who travels to London in search of fame and fortune. The panto stars Jen Pringle, from Channel 5’s Milkshake, as Fairy Bowbells. Jen is also a voice on Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and Peppa Pig.
Luke Roberts, from TV’s Hi-5, returns as Idle Jack. Luke is well known from the hit TV show and spent this summer performing twice daily at Butlins resorts across the UK. From BBC Three Counties Radio, Ernie Almond returns to the Harpenden stage as the Sultan of Morocco, while Alissa King-Underwood, 2016’s Miss Cambridgeshire, will play the part of Alice. Musical theatre performer Kane Coxall takes the lead role of Dick Whittington.
Christmas Gala Concert, St Mary’s church, West Street, Dunstable, December 10
Visitors are promised a delightful evening of Christmas songs and carols performed by Caritas Harmony. They will be led by musical director Margaret Blenkin, with the singers performing every song from memory. The evening will be hosted by Radio Verulam’s Nick Hazell and will also include a performance of Christmas music given by the accomp
lished Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy Flute Ensemble. The concert will raise money for three charities chosen by Dunstable mayor Councillor Gloria Martin: Hospice at Home Volunteers, South Beds Dial-A-Ride and Dunstable and District Scout Council.
Christmas Concert,St Mary’s church, Luton, December 11
Rufus Frowde, organist and assistant director of music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, returns to the Music on Mondays series with a special Christmas concert sung by The Hampton Court Royal Consort of Voices accompanied by the harpist Daniel de Fry. The music is conceived around the seven Antiphons of Advent and features Britten’s evergreen A Ceremony of Carols. Music from John Rutter, James MacMillan, Rufus Frowde, Henryk Górecki, Andrew Carter, Bob Chilcott, Thomas Tallis, Benjamin Britten and Jonathan Dove also features, with many traditional seasonal sacred pieces. This special concert is being offered as a memorial to Maggie Cole, a long-standing member of Luton Music who died in November. She received wonderful care at the Keech Hospice, for which there will be a retiring collection.
Happy Shark Comedy Club, Bear Club, Luton, December 13
‘The Voice of Love Island’, Iain Stirling, headlines a night of laughter at the Bear Club.