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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

Kevin Kennedy will forever be best known as Coronation Street’s loveable loser Curly Watts, but he is also a stage star. His latest role is an all-star musical version of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends, which allows him to rekindle his love of this region.

Fresh from being ravaged by hunger and sand-flies on Channel 4’s Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, Shazia Mirza returns with a show about lies and truth - or are they the same thing these days?

The 80s are officially back, with Fame The Musical coming to the Ipswich Regent later this year.

The cast of new musical An Officer and a Gentleman has been revealed, featuring top West End talent.

Taj Mahal chef Sayid swaps the kitchen for the stage in The Chef Show, part of PULSE presents.

Crazy for You at the Ipswich Regent, all week until Saturday.

Energetic and intense, dynamic and diverse; it’s a fast paced musical and lyrical journey for Teddy and his young girlfriend Josie.

They say never work with children or animals but Norwell Lapley Productions do both very well in bringing Rod Campbell’s timeless children’s book Dear Zoo to life on stage, writes MICHAEL STEWARD.

Known best perhaps for playing Brookside’s Lindsey Corkhill, Claire Sweeney’s causing just as much trouble as bridezilla Irene in the classic musical Crazy For You, at the Ipswich Regent from Tuesday.

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