By Theresa Hopwood

A cold, grey December evening calls for something special to brighten it up, and Mr H and I found just that in Swindon on Tuesday evening.

Arriving late afternoon we were just in time to have a browse around Swindon’s compact Christmas Market, located in the middle of the main shopping streets. Wooden chalets offer a variety of gift ideas and treats, and the smell from the sausage chalet were extremely tempting. The town’s attractive seasonal decorations and variety of shops make it a great place to do some Christmas shopping, particularly when combined with a visit to the Swindon Designer Outlet.

Shopping was not our main reason for visiting on this occasion, however, the pantomime was calling!  Our children now being rather too old to take along to boo and hiss at villains, we took along Paddington Bear, currently on holiday in Wiltshire!

The Wyvern Theatre, close to the town centre is a venue we have enjoyed visiting on many occasions to see some of their varied productions, but this was our first pantomime there. It is a really well designed theatre where we have always had a good view of the stage, with easy access and great facilities. The Great British café in the foyer is a great place to eat and is also open for drinks in the interval.

The pantomime this year is Dick Whittington, starring Nigel Havers as King Rat. Whilst featuring all the family favourites, booing, hissing, sing-alongs and a few surprises, noisily and excitedly appreciated by the children in the audience, there is also plenty to keep the adults entertained, with double entendres, current affair references, Swindon relevant jokes, and a nod to Nigel Havers’ previous roles! Not to mention a contemporary image for Tommy Jones the Cat… you will have to go along to find out more! The set and young ensemble were glittering in all ways, and provided the perfect backing to some memorable performances from the main cast. Nigel Havers, as you would expect, commanded attention, but I was also really impressed by Lewis Barnshaw, as Simple Simon, and definitely not forgetting Barnaby Hughes as Tommy Jones. The little girl sitting next to me ensured I joined in with all singing, shouting and booing, but in reality I didn’t need much encouragement, you can’t help but get caught up in the infectious atmosphere of a very excited audience.

I can certainly confirm that grey and cold evening was brightened up by our visit to Swindon and Mr H and I are now full of Christmas cheer!!



Wyvern Theatre
Wyvern Theatre

The Wyvern Theatre offers a mixed programme of concerts, comedy, dance, drama, musical theatre and local amateur productions. The theatre was opened by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip in September 1971.



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