Emily Taylor reports back from this year's pantomime: Goldilocks and the Three Bears at The Customs House, which runs until January 4, 2000.

Nothing kicks off Christmas quite like The Customs House pantomime and this year's seasonal offering was just what I needed to put me in the festive spirit.

Bearing little resemblance to the traditional tale, Dame Dotty and her son Tommy are struggling to revive a flagging circus until their adopted Goldilocks comes across three talented bears. But the evil Barron has other plans for the cuddly crowd pullers.

Tyne Tees boss Graeme Thompson has teamed up with Customs House boss and panto favourite Ray Spencer for a second time for script writing duties, packing in plenty of fun and frolics, with topical gags and music, outrageous costumes and a wonderful set to boot.

She's got no whiskers on her chinnegan
When she goes to Edinburgh I'll bet she'll win-again
Funny girl Sarah Millican (begin-again)

Sometimes I crack myself up... don't you just love blogs?

Aladdin, Gala Theatre Durham

By Reviews on Dec 5, 08 04:10 PM

Neil McKay revisits the wonder of pantomime, taking in Aladdin at the Gala Theatre Durham, which plays until January 3.

I must admit I was sceptical when asked to review Aladdin at my local theatre.

Not being able to remember the last time I saw a pantomime - it must have been when the daughter was small, and she's 24 now - I had forgotten what to expect.

But after being thoroughly entertained for more than two and a half hours, any doubts were dispelled.

Kings of Leon, Metro Radio Arena

By Reviews on Dec 5, 08 04:10 PM

Daniel Bird offers his opinion on rock big hitters, Kings of Leon at the Metro Radio Arena

From music's best-kept secret to one of the great modern day arena bands - The Kings of Leon have come a long way.

After selling out the O2 arena in under an hour, headlining Glastonbury and receiving three Grammy nominations - the band have had a year that has elevated them to music's elite.

Simple Minds, Metro Radio Arena

By Reviews on Dec 5, 08 04:10 PM

Ron Clarke attends the 30th anniversary celebrations of Simple Minds at the Metro Radio Arena.
This was a birthday bash where the guests left a little too early and the party never really got going.
Although billed as a celebration of three decades of Simple Minds on tour it seemed to fall between a tribute and a comeback, leaving a packed audience picking up mixed messages.

David Whetstone reviews Robinson Crusoe & the Caribbean Pirates at Newcastle Theatre Royal. The show plays until January 17.

Kevin Keegan, when he last flitted through Newcastle, intimated that theatre-going was a southern pastime.

Tell that to the Theatre Royal staff.

Their 2009 pantomime, Cinderella, went on sale the other day and they've already taken £250,000 in advance bookings.

We can't believe it's arrived so quickly but TONIGHT is opening night for our mystical pantomime, Aladdin! It's been so exciting to watch out glittering, Oriental set being built. Everyone keeps catching bits of rehearsals as they walk through the auditorium and, although we don't want to spoil it for ourselves by stopping to watch, we can't help but have a sneak peak.

Some lucky children from Sandhill View School and Sunderland City Council's Every School Day Counts project are getting an exclusive preview of the panto today as they've been invited to watch the final dress rehearsal before the premiere performance tonight!

Paul Michael Glaser, who is amazing as the perfect panto baddie, already has fans waiting at the stage door for his autograph and I'm sure Sheila Ferguson and Anthony Kavanagh are going to receive tons of audience support (lots of cheering and he's behind you's I think!) as The Genie and Aladdin!

Aladdin opens at the Sunderland Empire tonight (5th December, 7pm) Altogether now..."Oh no it doesn't, Oh yes it does!"

We're in the Theatre now. When I say in the Theatre I mean the set is being put on to the stage.

This set is HUGE and it was originally built for Les Dawson.

Today is my second wedding anniversary so I'm picking the song that me and Mrs GP had for our first dance.

I picked God Only Knows because (a) it is a wonderfully romantic piece of music and (b) it's short: only two minutes and 43 seconds of having to dance in front of people.

I love the idea of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney spending most of the 1960s spurring each other onto better things, resulting in Pet Sounds (from which this comes) and Sgt Pepper. You can't really see The Fratellis and, err, the Pigeon Detectives doing the same...

Nostalgia city

By Culture Team on Dec 3, 08 02:38 PM

Sam Wonfor reporting for Culture desk updating duty.

We've been flashing back to the eighties on the Culture desk this week.

Following a preview interview a couple of weeks ago, Barbara went to see former Spandau Ballet frontman, Tony Hadley at The Sage and returned with a broad smile.

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