Review & Top Tips | Customs House Panto South Shields 2019

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Review & Top Tips | Customs House Panto South Shields 2019

Customs House Panto | Overview & tickets

This year's Christmas Panto is Snow White and runs from 27 November - 5 January. Tickets are available from £9.99 - £21.

Written and directed by Ray Spencer and Graeme Thompson, 'The Little Panto with the Big Heart' is award-winning (the panto's fashion and set designer Paul Shriek won Best Costume Design in The Great British Pantomime Awards 2018) and always lots of fun for the whole family.

This year marks the Customs House 25th Anniversary and I am sure it will be even better than ever.

Here is what they say about this year's show: 

Sounds Brilliant! 

Customs House Panto | Where to park 

The Customs House has it's own car park which is free of charge and buses stop right outside of the building. It's just a tiny stroll from the Nexus ferry terminal and the Metro Station is an easy 5-10 minute stroll.

You can travel free via Metro for two hours prior to and after the show too, simply show the inspector your theatre ticket. 

Review & Top Tips | Customs House Panto South Shields 2018

Customs House Panto | Where to eat

I'm not a regular visitor to South Tyneside but readers who are have recommended the Green Room Bistro (which is inside of the Custom's House),  Colmans/ Colmans Seafood Temple, Bravi, Turkuisine and Aneesas Buffet.

All are within easy walking distance of the Customs House and welcome children and families.

Do not do what we did and pop to Burger King on the way home. It was awful and the staff were swearing their heads off behind the counter as they ignored us. Never again! Now I know why we were their only customers while McDonalds next door had a queue.

Customs House Panto | Our 2019 Review

Review & Top Tips | Customs House Panto South Shields 2019

I will begin this review by saying that after watching a fair few pantos over the years, you can really feel that the Customs House lacks the budget of some of their bigger brothers and sisters. There is no live band, limited special effects and the stage and props are pretty basic. However, what it lacks in budget, it definitely makes up for in heart.

The Customs House panto is loved by many and really is at the heart of the community, most of the audience know what to shout without being asked and it is clear that the panto is a real favourite with those South of the Tyne. I loved all the local references and jokes.

There were no huge belly laughs for us this year but we all had a giggle and I especially enjoyed the Prince Andrew joke which I haven't heard elsewhere yet.

Ray Spencer is as always, a natural with the crowd and especially loved by the older crowd (the Customs House panto attracts groups of all ages) whereas Arbuthnot is loved by the children who always have his corner and cheer when he is on stage. The rapport between these two characters is always fantastic to watch with lots of silliness and they never take themselves too seriously.

Review & Top Tips | Customs House Panto South Shields 2019

Steven Lee Hamilton retains his crown as my favourite ever panto villain - he makes the best wicked Queen and I wish I could strut around a stage in stilettos like he does. I particularly enjoyed his rendition of Love is an Open Door with the magic mirror. Fabulous! If you love to hate a villain, this is the panto for you.

This year we see Charlie Raine return as Sniffy the signing Skunk along with Luke Maddison as Whiffy. Sniffy and Whiffy were adorable and a real crowd-pleaser. I would pay to see these two in their own show. So cute and lovely to see a panto being inclusive like this.

The cast is complete with Annie Guy as Snow White, Dale Jewitt as the Prince of the North (look out for lots of Game of Thrones references) and Bethan Amber as Minerva the Mirror - all fantastic and with beautiful singing voices.

As with last year, I do feel like there are around 5 too many songs in this panto, they really pack them in and it feels as if there is one song per scene. Some of the younger children do get a bit restless with all the singing and I think they would prefer to see more of Arbuthnot on stage.

Snow White tries to go against the grain when it comes to gender stereotypes but it kind of just feels like they shoehorn that in because they have to. Personally, I would prefer to just keep it true to the original story but I reckon that is just personal taste.

I asked the kids if they wanted to come again next year and they do - they had a brilliant night and especially loved the messy scene and the skunks. I always enjoy the silly sing-a-long at the end of the Customs House panto - it really feels like the start of Christmas.

This panto won't wow you but it will leave you with a lovely warm feeling inside and is brilliant option for the whole family who are looking for a proper family knees up with something for all ages. I kind of feel like the Customs House Panto is like sitting in your mam's front room on Christmas Day after Christmas dinner. It is cosy, familiar and filled with love. It is always a joy.

As a side note, parking is FREE, drinks prices are super reasonable (our round of soft drinks was £9.50 which is £5 cheaper than the Theatre Royal) and merchandise wasn't too expensive either. I also spotted that you can hire ear defenders for a refundable £5 deposit which is a nice touch.



  1. We've been coming to this panto for a good few years new between Xmas and new year and you're right it's great for the grandparents. Ray & Arbutnot are my faves like!


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