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Review: Dick Whittington – The Pantomime, The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 13:05 06 December 2017

Dick Whittington - The Panto: Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona.

Dick Whittington - The Panto: Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona.


Robert Wright throughly enjoys Dick Whittington, this year’s panto offering at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal

There is something for everyone in this fun-packed and extremely entertaining family pantomime. It is packed with great music ranging from Queen’s We are the Champions to the odd sea shanty or two, a bit of Take That with Greatest Day and so much more. These will keep your toes tapping and hands clapping.

The characters are not only colourful - especially of course the outrageous Dame - but are very well cast and the stage chemistry is magical. Talking of which, it was left to Sarah Lawn in the guise of Fairy Pearl to keep the magical and reality together.

Chris Clarkson was a natural Dame and soon warmed to the audience, with one guy finding he had a lap full whether he liked it or not.

A clear hero was Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat who meowed his way through the show in seamless manner. Jessica Spalis proved an excellent Dick Whittington and provided a local Suffolk take on this character.

Now you normally have the one baddie but this panto provides you with two. Tom Roberts as the self-appointed evil Reginald Ratfield revelled in the boos and hisses that are customary with the role. However, his cheeky sidekick Nibbles (Nerine Skinner) was naughty, in a nice and definitely hilarious way.

Love came in the form of Dick falling for (well it was pretty mutual) Alice (Tessa Kadler).After a slight hiccup of major proportions which they overcame in true pantomime tradition, the couple went on to greater things.

I adored the Seabed scene with fluorescent marine life mingling in the dark depths with the shipwrecked cast to the music ‘The Sharkie Sings Tonight’.

An umbrella might be useful if you are in the stooge seats but - heigh-ho - that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it? The musical conductor wisely came suitably prepared with a colourful number which proved water pistol-proof.

So there are plenty of puns and innuendos but nothing to offend. And what a great way to get into the festive spirit.

Dick Whittington - The Panto continues until January 14

Miss Saigon star Ashley Gilmour - who plays American GI Chris - looks forward to playing every new venue on the musical’s mega tour - but Norfolk will be particularly special: it’s the place he calls home.

When the creator of smash 1970s sit-com Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em comes to see you bring it to life on the stage 13 times, you know you’re doing something right says Joe Pasquale.

It’s been 45 or so years since Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em blessed us with the complete daftness and hilarity of Michael Crawford’s Frank Spencer. He played a uniquely disastrous individual character that cannot be forgotten. Now imagine that today... on a live stage.

Suffolk’s Royal Ballet star Gary Avis receives an MBE “for services to Dance, and to charity in Suffolk”.

A two night stop at the Regent Theatre may not be the most rock ‘n’ roll sounding affair, but Bill Bailey brought the house down with his raucous brand of music-infused comedy.

Audiences will be going wild as X Factor winner Matt Terry will be starring in Madagascar the Musical, which comes to the Ipswich Regent from October 16-20.

An enthusiastic audience welcomed Strictly Come Dancing stars, Kevin and Karen Clifton, to the Ipswich Regent for their live show and goodness me, they were in for a treat.

Donning the famous green dress Amelia Lily is heading to the region to play Princess Fiona in the musical Shrek. The former X Factor singer tells Simon Parkin about her unconventional audition, being away from her beloved dogs.

Cast illness has forced the last-minute cancellation of a show at an Ipswich theatre.

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