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Review: Dick Whittington, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until Sunday, January 13

PUBLISHED: 08:42 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 06 December 2017

Jess Spalis as Dick Whittington, Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat and Tessa Kadler as Alice Fitzwarren. Picture: TONY KELLY

Jess Spalis as Dick Whittington, Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat and Tessa Kadler as Alice Fitzwarren. Picture: TONY KELLY

Cockney fun Fairy Pearl promised us she would take us to “a world of pure imagination”.

Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona Whittington. Picture: TONY KELLY Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona Whittington. Picture: TONY KELLY

And she was true to her word with this year’s Theatre Royal pantomime which had everything to ensure a great time was had by all.

From piddling and pooping to the stinkiest, smelliest rat of them all and from plenty of sing-along songs to big surprises on the way it ensured it was pure family entertainment.

Add in an acrobatic cat, a pantomime dame who had more costume changes than scenes, a stormy sea trip which ended in the crew and passengers ending up washed ashore on a desert island, to encountering a giant man-eating rat, the imagination ran riot.

The adventure sees the hero travel all the way from Boring St Yawning, in Suffolk, via rat-infested London town to Love Island aboard the Good Ship Leaking Lizzie to back home and becoming the mayor of the capital.

Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat. Picture: TONY KELLY Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat. Picture: TONY KELLY

Along the way many well know songs, dance routines and costume changes were interspersed with classic one line jokes with the audience participation featuring high on the agenda … and there’s even a shower in store from water pistols for those sitting close to the stage.

The cast are magnificent with the alluring widow Dame Winona Whittington (Chris Clarkson) having much of the limelight as Dick’s mother.

But the leaders of the rodent regiment, Sir Reginald Ratfiend (Tom Roberts) and his fabulous sidekick Nibbles (Nerine Skinner), steal the show with their dastardly deeds and perfectly timed comedy as they endeavour to plunder Paris and conquer Calcutta along the way.

The lead character of Dick (Jessica Spalls) along with her spring-jumping cat Tommy (Corey Cross) help to banish the fiendish fuzzball rats from London and Dick ends up grabbing the hand in marriage of Alice Fitzwarren (Tessa Kadler) while Alice’s father Francis Fitzwarren (Nigel Lister) proposes to, yes, you’ve guessed it … Dame Winona.

Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona. Picture: TONY KELLY Chris Clarkson as Dame Winona. Picture: TONY KELLY

And Fairy Pearl (Sarah Lawn), who doubles up as the captain of the Leaking Lizzie, becomes the slapstick victim.

It’s a wonderful story line and there’s lots of funny twists and turns along the way... and it’s pure panto.

RUSSELL COOK

Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat and Tessa Kadler as Alice Fitzwarren. Picture: TONY KELLY Corey Cross as Tommy the Cat and Tessa Kadler as Alice Fitzwarren. Picture: TONY KELLY

If you haven’t sent Santa your Christmas list yet, pop tickets for this festive-fuelled fairytale on it first.

It’s not Christmas without a visit to Red Rose Chain’s The Avenue Theatre. We spoke to writer and director Joanna Carrick and actors Emma Swan, Darren Latham and Ryan Penny about The Elves and The Shoemaker.

A great panto starts from the moment the audience enters the auditorium and starts looking at the set laid out before it. Arts editor Andrew Clarke talks to designer David Shields about the art of creating a larger-than-life panto world

DanceEast is staging the premiere of a new dance-theatre production of the children’s classic The Borrowers. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to director Jane Hackett about putting dancers in the middle of an animated world

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis says Greg Davies, live in Ipswich as part of the You Magnificent Beast tour, is one of the funniest stand-ups she’s seen.

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

Cockney fun Fairy Pearl promised us she would take us to “a world of pure imagination”.

The Colchester Mercury clearly know that they have got a pair of panto superstars in the infectiously funny Dale Superville and Dame Antony Stuart-Hicks and have harnessed their talent for comic mayhem for another Yuletide adventure.

A pantomime being put on in a north Essex village is bringing members of the community together – and raising money for charity.

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