It's pantomime season. "Oh no it isn't". "Oh yes it is". Well yes, it actually is, so here's a round up some of the best pantos to see this Christmas in London.
Cinderella at Lyric Hammersmith
Despite hitting all the expected notes (glass slippers, wicked stepmother, fairy godmothers, etc.), this is not your average Cinderella. Our protagonist is reimagined as a scientist who's only going to the ball to get a good view of the night sky, something she can't do in her light-polluted city home. You get the idea, but don't worry, they haven't done away with the audience participation.
Cinderella, Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, W6 0QL, £10-£46. Until 5 January.
Dick Whittington and his Cat at Hackney Empire
The most London-y of pantos comes to the Big Smoke in one form or another every year. Just to make it a bit more London-y, the play's been given a "Hackney re-imagining", as young Dick is now an immigrant from Jamaica who arrives in London on the Empire Windrush.
Dick Whittington and his Cat, Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ, £10-£42.50. Until 5 January.
Dick Whittington and his Cat at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Just a little way further east, there's another version of Dick and his feline friend. This one's a more traditional take — although we doubt it will include the real Dick Whittington's greatest achievement: his massive toilet. A sprinkle of snow is promised, which will conclude a magical evening.
Dick Whittington and his Cat, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, E15 1BN, £10. Until 11 January.
Sleeping Beauty at Greenwich Theatre
It's the 50th anniversary of the reopening of Greenwich Theatre, a fact of which this production of Sleeping Beauty is well aware. Expect lots of references to other things that happened in 1969, and the theatre's varied past.
Sleeping Beauty, Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, SE10 8ES, £15-£30. Until 12 January.
Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders at The Vaults
It'd be a disservice to call Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders a pure panto. But there are certainly dollops of the genre served alongside an actual meal, as you wine and dine your way through this immersive theatre piece. The food aspect isn't the only change from usual proceedings — the story has also been given a full drag makeover.
Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders, The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN, £30-£75. Until 15 January.
Cinderella The Rockin' Panto at Arts Depot
Both new and old rock and pop classics like Get Lucky, It's Raining Men, Moves Like Jagger and more are seamlessly (we're sure) blended into the story of Cinderella, at Finchley's ArtsDepot. With ridiculous character names like Baron Hardup and Rubella De Zees, how much more do you really need to know.
Cinderella The Rockin' Panto, ArtsDepot, 5 Nether Street, N12 0GA, £18-£32. 30 November-5 January.
Jack and the Beanstalk at Theatre Peckham
Fee-fi-fo-fum I smell the blood of an Englishman. An Englishman from Peckham to be more specific. Set on a south London estate, and featuring a rapper named Shot the Poet, this is another panto that is aimed specifically from locals. Not that out-of-towners won't have fun too (we hear they might even allow those from north of the river in...).
Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, SE5 7SD, £12-£15. 4-22 December,
Snow White at Richmond Theatre
Comedian Jo Brand stars in this new production of Snow White. Not as the eponymous hero, but rather as the Wicked Queen — who should maybe rebrand as the dour queen with Brand in the role. Also included are seven dwarves, a magical mirror and a handsome prince. And audience participation. Plenty of it.
Snow White, Richmond Theatre, 1 Little Green, TW9 1QH, £12-£52.50. 7 December-12 January.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears at London Palladium
The West End tends to steer clear of pantos. However, there's one big exception to that rule at the London Palladium, which is being transformed into a magical circus for just five weeks. It tells the story of Dame Betty Barnum and her daughter Goldilocks, whose big top is under threat. What else could you need to know? Oh alright then. Paul O'Grady stars.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, W1F 7TF, £22.50-£169.50. 7 December-12 January.
Pinocchio on Ice at Alexandra Palace
The best panto to take the littl'uns to if you're trying to convince them never to tell lies. And to make sure they don't lose interest, the whole thing is done on ice. We hear some of the performers themselves are just tiny tots, which will make you feel especially jealous when they land a triple axel and you spent an hour at Somerset House clutching onto the side for dear life. Finally: *insert joke about lead actor/skater being a bit wooden here*.
Pinocchio on Ice, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY, £13-£15.50. 13-16 December.