Bound-out-of-your-seat for a boogie, boo and hiss the baddie and sing-along to the ballads during the non-stop action at the Roses Theatre’s Dick Whittington – pure panto entertainment!
Telling the well-trodden tale of local lad Dick and his quest for fame and fortune in the capital city, Amy Bridges played the title role with wide-eyed, thigh-slapping enthusiasm and excellent vocals. While ‘his’ cat Tommy, played by Priscilla Osegie stole the kids’ hearts and who’s lack of lines was more than compensated by energetic physical acting – proving the purr-fect sidekick.
King Rat, played by Derek Frood, looked a cross between King Lear and a cult leader, and played the part of baddie with dramatic, Shakespearean aplomb! Evil enough to get those boos and hisses echoing through the theatre, but not so scary the little ones cried!
Providing a perfect antidote to the despicable rat, Laura Barnard played Alice Fitzwarren, a sweet girl with a beautiful singing voice – and doubled as a cockney fairy. With her dad, Alderman Fitzwarren, played by Simon Spencer-Hyde, also interchanging into several characters that suspiciously looked ‘very similar’ with impressive stamina and comical results.
Idle Jack, played by Michael Watson-Gray, got a fair share of laughs with his silly slapstick comedy, cream pies, and dubious dance moves. The chorus of young dancers, meanwhile, were a delight and the adorable ‘rat pack’ of mini minions made for biggest awws of the night.
While picking a personal favourite was a challenge – Sarah the Cook, played by Ben Eagle, with ‘her’ northern brogue was absolutely hilarious. Her interaction with the audience was unmatched and the ad-libbing was a highlight. And she definitely had the best costumes too – even the bikini!
Written and directed by Ben Crocker, from the streets of London town to the shores of Morocco (all stunningly depicted with beautiful painted scenery), one of the most memorable highlights of Dick Whittington at The Roses was the high-energy song numbers woven throughout the storyline.
Energetic encouragement to clap- and sing-along to big group numbers including ‘We Predict a Riot’, ‘Go West’ and ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ was delightful.
While ‘Everything is Awesome’ appealed to our Lego-loving little ones, with some flossing and Baby Shark also causing shrieks of excitement.
Cream pie-splatting, a raucous chorus of ‘he’s behind you’, loads of gags to crack the kids up and jokes that made the grown-ups smirk for all the wrong reasons too – Dick Whittington at the Roses Theatre proved a fun, feel-good family-friendly pantomime, perfect for the festive season.
Despite a few fumbles on press night, it all added to the classic panto chaos and made the live event fun to be part of.
Dick Whittington is undoubtedly the best Roses Theatre pantomime we’ve seen – and we have been going for ten years!
The audience interaction: from rock-throwing and sweet-grabbing from cast members invading the auditorium, to the chance bob our knees to the infectious ‘My Bonnie’ – with the chance for a few very lucky children to go on stage making it a rare treat.
Book now! There are performances on until Saturday 5 January 2019 and while many tickets have been snapped-up, there is still some availability for a treat during the Christmas holidays.
By Michelle Fyrne
Friday 14 December 2018
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