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Dick Whittington (Wimbledon)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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What, you might ask, is a star of global proportions such as Dame Edna Everage doing in Dick Whittington, this year's pantomime at the New Wimbledon Theatre? It's a question she ponders herself on stage. Whatever the answer, we should be grateful that she has decided to take on the "panto genre" (as she refers to it) for the first time in her career.

It's a strange thing to comment that a performer seems constrained by a script, but Dame Edna (the on-stage and television alter-ego of comedian Barry Humphries) appears most comfortable when commenting on rather than taking part in the Dick Whittington story.

In one delightful moment, having lost the thread of the not too over complicated plot, she pulls a member of the audience on stage to borrow the programme to try and establish where we've got to in the proceedings. Pure joy.

The put-downs are as rude, as sharp and as delightful as ever. The delivery still fabulous. Even if some of the Dame Edna sophistication is lost on the children in the audience, they seem to relish the adults having as great a time as they do themselves.

What works so well is that Dame Edna provides a wonderful frame for a near perfect pantomime. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" routine is a delight and the ever energetic Ben Goffe as Captain Titchmarsh has the audience shouting for more.

A particular highlight is the charming, cheeky and very winning Kev Orkian as Idle Jack whose rapport with writer and director Eric Potts (playing Sarah the Cook) is everything you could ask for.

The ship-wreck sequence involving Sam Attwater (Dick Whittington) swimming beneath the ocean is stunning and only topped by a spectacular 3D film sequence of underwater sea-life. This pantomime has something for everyone.

Dick Whittington is charming, and has a wit and sophistication provided by a true 'giga-star', Dame Edna herself.

- Elliot Davis


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