Tag Archives: Christmas

Review: The Hertford Theatre’s Production of Rapunzel

Despite the constant rushing, holiday planning, and over indulging, I do love December. There’s just so much on for families during the Christmas season and especially in Hertfordshire.  Rapunzel_header_for_web2

One of the things we also look forward to each year is the Hertford Theatre’s Pantomime – their wonderful musical theatre comedy production that takes place over Christmas and New Year. This was our family’s third trip to the Hertford Theatre Panto in as many years and we love the experience each time we go.

As with many of the pantomimes, the theme is usually fairy-tale in nature. It’s family-friendly (mostly) and the children can anticipate the general plot quite easily. So as a mum of two girls, we jumped at the chance to check out this year’s long-haired panto, Rapunzel.  

As with previous years, Rapunzel also didn’t disappoint. It was brought by the same team that produced “Hansel and Gretel” and last year’s “Little Red Riding Hood.” So we knew we were in for a treat.

After a drink and some free face-painting (for the kids), we were called to take our seats. The theatre itself is intimate, so a perfect setting for the pantomime interaction (boo!..no!…look out!) and every comfortable seat has a great view…even for the little ones.

The stage, set, and production value is also always on mark. Upon entering the theatre, you immediately appreciate the stage creative design detail and the work involved to produce such an event.  

And then the panto begins. The costumes, props, musical score and accompanying musicians were fantastic; and the performers’ voices, acting, dancing, and of course, the comedic enthusiasm were also of the highest quality. It all certainly solidifies the enjoyment of spending a Saturday night at the Hertford theatre.

So, as with every holiday season, there are many pantomimes and productions on offer; but Mumsnet Herts certainly can’t recommend the Hertford Theatre productions enough. Check it out with your family this December.

For more information or to book tickets: http://www.hertfordtheatre.com/events/detail/1707/rapunzel-2nd-dec-1st-jan   

Erin Anderson tech content writer Mumsnet EditorErin Anderson is a mum-of-two and the Editor of Mumsnet Hertfordshire, Barnet, and Enfield. She is also a freelance tech growth marketer and content writer. Previous career stops include London and San Francisco-based roles at Google, GPJ, and various start-up ventures.


The Hertford Theatre Does it Again in the Panto Department   

I always thoroughly enjoy the Hertford Theatre productions and this year’s pantomime, Little Red Riding Hood, is no different. With the intertwining fairytales of the Three Little Pigs and Little Red, the storyline keeps engaging interest for all ages.


It starts with simple Simon, the pig farmer, and his friendship with Little Red. They’re each on their own journeys with Simon searching for his lost little pigs and Red on a journey to deliver some meds to her ill grannie. The trip to grannie’s humble abode has Little Red wandering from set to colourful set meeting many full-of-life characters and most of them are the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As with any pantomime, there’s the interjection of fun and poppy music. With a play on many pop culture ditties, the journey of tunes carries you from the recurring theme song of Friends, to Coldplay favourites, and some Mary Poppins standards. Familiar songs kept the audience toe tapping, interactively singing, and cast supportive throughout.


Which brings us to the cast…The following words come to mind: magnificent chemistry, quality acting and choreography, and superb vocals. One of the best panto lineups the Hertford Theatre’s produced.


For the two hour and twenty minute runtime, the combination of story, music, and interactivity kept my almost six-year old and me thoroughly entertained. It’s a wonderful Christmas treat for 2016 and we’re looking forward to next year’s production.

Little Red Riding Hood is running at the Hertford Theatre until 1 January so get your tickets fast:



Summer seems like yesterday, but Santa’s here today! Yes, it’s finally December. The twinkle-y lights are all up, wreathes on doors, and the spirit is filling the air. Christmas time is here; and Christmas with young believing children means Santa is on his way. Hertfordshire is a big stop on Santa’s map. There are many, many grottos about this time of year; and families have many opportunities to meet the merry, red-suited, bearded man. Santa can be spotted in malls, busy town centres, and seasonal Christmas markets; but there is only one place Santa stops with his REAL REINDEER and that is at our very own local Whipsnade Zoo (though technically in Bedfordshire).

Whipsnade Christmas (c)ZSL (11)

Our family is already a big fan of Whipsnade, the setting, the type of animals, the talks,  the indoor and outdoor play areas, and especially their hot chocolates. So, for us, getting asked to experience and review a visit with Father Christmas at the zoo was a no-brainer. The Whipsnade folks do such a nice job on so many other aspects within the zoo that we shared the same positive expectation for seeing Santa. Our expectations were delightfully exceeded this year. Santa’s Grotto is now situated within the lovely Lookout Lodge setting overlooking some beautiful landscape and gives the feeling of truly entering a warm, wooded world where Santa and his merry little elves are staying.  There are also REAL, well-fed reindeer (and educational reindeer talks) located in their own pen outside the grotto clearly resting-up for the big night. Whipsnade Christmas (c)ZSL (13)

Within the village itself, each lodge is festively decorated and functions, as you would imagine, as the Elves’ bedrooms, shop (where you can purchase gifts), and kitchen (where you can warm-up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine) and of course Santa’s cosy quarters.  There are also a couple lodges set-up for the kiddos to create some Christmas crafts while awaiting the big moment. It’s a lovely set-up to  wander around and they’ve also intelligently limited the number of families allowed within the grotto to enhance the overall experience. Whipsnade Christmas (c)ZSL (9)

The last thing you want during a visit with Santa is a crowded space or children fighting over seats at the craft table. Whipsnade really thought this one out and planned the overall experience quite well.

Well, the moment arrived, our family’s name was called. It was time to tell the big man in red what we wanted for Christmas.  An elf greeted us and we began our annual tradition. In our case, the tradition is our children slightly on edge and not quite convinced of this jolly old soul bellowing Ho-Ho-Ho’s and asking if they’ve been naughty or nice. Despite my children’s perceptions, Santa was friendly, chatted easily, and gave a nice little gift. We also had our family picture taken for keepsake (for an extra fee, which we purchased) and we were on our way.

Whipsnade Christmas (c)ZSL (14)

The things I really liked about the Whipsnade Meet Santa experience is that we didn’t feel rushed, cramped, hurried, or stressed. So much about Christmas can be slightly traumatic and this set-up is relaxing, decorated, and designed with thoughtful detail for the whole family.  Plus, you can combine the visit with all the benefits the rest of the zoo environment offers.  It’s a winner any way you look at it.

Meet Santa experience

Meet Santa will run from  10:15am – 3:45pm at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on weekends from 22 November and then daily from 19 – 24 December.

  • 22-23 November
  • 29-30 November
  • 6-7 December
  • 13-14 December
  • Daily 19-24 December


Tickets are available to book online in advance. Tickets for Meet Santa are included as part of the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo admission price for children. Adults will gain entry to the experience for free with their general zoo entry ticket.

  • Child ticket including zoo admission (3-10 years): £24.18
  • Under 3s: £8
  • ZSL Child Member: £8

For more details on how to book a session with Whipsnade Santa, click here: http://local.mumsnet.com/hertfordshire/christmas/390204-meet-santa-and-real-reindeer