BOTH the cast and the audience played their part in making the Norbury Theatre’s Dick Whittington a very enjoyable and entertaining evening – it was the most raucous crowd I’ve seen this season (and I’ve reviewed five pantos).
Jesse Dutton as King Rat and Emma Waters as Fairy Bowbells put in solid performances as the ‘good and evil’ characters and their duet on ‘Loathing’ was among the musical highlights.
Jimmy Hill as Dick Whittington and Jack Gandy as Idle Jack acted fantastically in their respective roles and were firm favourites with the crowd.
Jimmy also did well on the musical numbers – it was unfortunate the ship’s mast blocked the audience’s full view of him for his Daydream Believer solo.
And he had the unenviable task of dueting with unbelievably talented singer Lauren Bough (Alice Fitzwarren) who was pitch-perfect throughout.
She also proved her acting prowess as well and was strong in her role.
Tom Collen was one of the less outrageous and more laid back dames I’ve seen but, with his (her) northern accent it worked really well and won the biggest laugh of the evening with a cheeky riposte to a heckler in the second act.
The performance of the night went to the versatile Paul Steele who played three very different parts – Fitzwarren, Captain Horatio and the camel-riding Emperor – and you could see he relished every one and gave it his all. All three parts got him plenty of laughs and the scene where the emperor’s mischievous camel’s head kept popping up between the characters was the funniest of the night. Even the actors were struggling to keep straight faces.
Big shout out to Tim Radford for his excellent portrayal as Tommy the Cat. He was a natural. I don’t know if Tim has a cat but his nonchalant feline mannerisms were spot on as his character well and truly won the hearts of the audience.
And while we are on the subject of youngsters, the junior dancers also gave the show the extra ‘awww’ factor, especially during the dances on board the Boaty McBoatface and as the King’s Guards.
If you’re missing the festive season, want to banish those winter blues or just have a good laugh, Dick Whittington runs until next Saturday, January 25.
The final performances take place at 7.30pm Thursday to Saturday, January 23 to 25, and there is a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets, at £12 (£10 concessions), are available from the theatre, at norburytheatre.co.uk or by calling 01905 770154.
Lauren Bough (Alice Fitzwarren) and Jack Gandy (Idle Jack) joined us earlier in the month for our Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard Podcast. Click below to hear our interview.