The important thing to remember if you’re planning to catch a panto show at Hitchin’s Market Theatre this year is to make sure you double check what time you’re going.

The Comet: Sean HughesSean Hughes (Image: Archant)

That’s because the team at the pint-sized Sun Street venue are presenting not one, but two, shows – for very different audiences.

The curtain goes up on Thursday night for the theatre’s traditional adult panto, Aladdin Trouble.

It’s the familiar story – also the choice for the area’s biggest mainstream panto at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre, which opened on Friday – but given a raunchy makeover with corny jokes, adult plots and blatant sexual innuendo.

If you can’t get to see it before Christmas you can make a New Year resolution to catch the show – in runs until April.

Theatre manager Glyn Doggett said: “We did some research last year and we are pretty confident we have the longest-running pantomime in the world.”

But the theatre is also staging its own version of the magical fairy tale Hansel & Gretel, and this production is aimed at children aged four to nine. promising plenty of panto magic and audience participation. Glyn said: “It’s always exciting when we reach this time of the year, there is a real buzz at the theatre as we prepare for the Christmas run.

“We are welcoming back some of our regular performers as well as introducing some new faces that we auditioned in the summer.”

Tickets for both shows are £14, and they can be booked on 01462 433553 or

The venue’s next Mostly Comedy bill next Thursday, December 11, features Sean Hughes, still best known for being the youngest-ever winner of Edinburgh’s fabled Perrier Award and one of the original team captains in TV’s long-running Never Mind The Buzzcocks music panel game.

But that’s all in the past – now as well as a novelist and straight actor he’s a mature, reflective and sometimes splenetic stand-up of rare skill, and host of the comedy insider’s Under The Radar podcast.

He’s joined on the bill by Luke Benson, and although the gig is already a sellout there might be returns – you can put your name on the list on the door from 8.30pm. More details online at