Dick Whittington (Liverpool)
The multi talented cast sing, dance and play a variety of instruments, rocking the place with high-octane performances. This is a fast-paced fun-packed show, full of all you would expect of a great pantomime. There’s much sexual innuendo, quick-witted dialogue, misunderstandings, love interest, and goodies and baddies.
There’s a great deal of audience participation, some forced upon unwitting punters in the front row to great amusement of the rest of us. And many in the first few rows also got a soaking from mounted ‘museum’ artefacts that rise from beneath the stage, and as they slowly turn spurting out the wet stuff to squeals of surprise.
But then dame Dottie Doolittle, camped up superbly by Francis Tucker, runs into the audience with a giant water blaster and those who thought they’d got away – didn’t! It all added to the fun of what is a highly enjoyable evening.
The labyrinthine plot centres around a 3,000 year magic stone that has been secluded in the Egyptian underworld. Evil King Rat (Matthew Quinn) who attracts many hisses and boos, plans to take over the world with his wicked hordes, but is thwarted by Dick Whittington, (Joseph Attenborough), a fresh faced Liverpool lad who is enticed to go to London by Scout (Karen Paullada), Fairy Lights (Nicky Swift) and Purdy Cat (Sarah Vezmar).
It is essentially a tale of ‘good versus evil’ with love interest thrown in. Apart from the singing, dancing, and various forms of hilarious transport – including a large duck for Cleopatra’s barge – it’s the costumes that amaze. Nicky Swift has a dream of a dress, all white, silver, pink and real sparkly lights, whilst Dottie Doolittle wears a plethora of crazy gear, the best one in the finale where he/she sports a silver bubble outfit that’s a triumph of the wardrobe department.
However, the best parts go to Dottie and Warren (Adam East). As a mismatched love interest they camp up their parts to the hilt, giving sterling performances. But they are all stars. The whole cast – and there are only nine of them – make this show a great success. Written by Sarah Nixon with co-writer and director Mark Chatterton, this is one show you should not miss this Christmastide.
*Photograph taken by Helen Warner