We have all been to pantomimes as children, I have many fond memories from my childhood going to several pantomimes over the years. This year our little one was finally at the age where we felt he was ready to enjoy the fun-filled experience of a panto! We were delighted to be invited back to Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds but this time to watch Dick Whittington and experience the excitement of a traditional panto.
Dick Whittington certainly didn’t disappoint! It was a fun-packed family pantomime, filled to the brim with one liners, well-known songs, innuendos, audience participation and dance routines. The characters were all as amazing as the next but certainly not as colourful as Dame Winona Whittington (Chris Clarkson) who simply brings the show to life.
The story follows Dick Whittington through his journey from rags to riches as he overcomes some obstacles, finally ending the story by falling in love with Alice (Tessa Kadler).
The brilliant cast was well put together with amazing on-stage chemistry. We had Jessica Spalis playing Dick Whittington who gave us a Suffolk take on the character and Corey Cross meowing his way through the show as the acrobatic Tommy the Cat.
This pantomime also delivered on the pantomime baddies by giving us two Rats who wanted London for themselves. Tom Roberts played the leader Reginald Ratfield with Nerine Skinner playing his sidekick, Nibbles. While Reginald Ratfield took (and enjoyed!) the boos, for me Nibbles stole the show with her naughty but hilarious take on the role.
Nerine Skinner and Chris Clarkson were my absolute highlights of the show!
There were two amazing scenes that I just adored! The first was the ‘daydream’ scene where Dick and Tommy the Cat’s vision came to life on stage, using special lighting, character-doubles and slow-motion acting. Then came the seabed scene which featured fluorescent sealife moving along to the song ‘The Sharkie Sings Tonight’.
This amazing family pantomime was an in-house production by Theatre Royal, it ran from December through to 14th January, during which they held a BSL interpreted performance as well as the relaxed performance that we attended. The relaxed performance was brilliant for families who wouldn’t be able to go to the usual showings. It allowed them the chance to relax and not have to worry about everything that they usually would. The music wasn’t as loud, the lighting wasn’t as harsh… overall it was a showing fit for everyone to enjoy!
It would have been great if the performance wasn’t on a weekday afternoon, so that school aged children could have enjoyed it as well, but I believe that the Theatre Royal are looking into this for next time.
Oh, and you may want to bring an umbrella!