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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

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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