“We are all Londonratis!” exclaim the twirling characters - half Punjabi, half Gujarati - in the fabulous Dick Whittington Goes Bollywood, sweeping their audience up in a moment of inclusive elation. It is festive feeling that lasts all evening in Jatinder Verma’s exuberant production.
Here Dick is Dikra, a good Gujarati boy (played by a plucky Krupa Pattani), while his cat is a Punjabi puss called Billi (a delicious Deven Modha sporting an Elvis quiff and pelvis thrust to match). Villain, Sir Rattan Singh Chuaa (the flamboyant Sam Kordbacheh), is a wannabe town hall plutocrat who wears golfing socks beneath upturned silk slippers with a panache that would make Boris Johnson jealous. His cook, Antony Bunsee is an electric and elastic dame while Caroline Kilpatrick’s serene fairy godmother is painted blue and has four arms.
Singer Sohini Alam provides the angelic voice for this lip-synching cast. Together with Danyal Dhondy on keyboard and percussionist Camilo Tirado, Alam creates a transcendent soundscape that taps as much into the spirituality as the silliness of this time of year.
The intimate setting, far from hampering the scope of Verma’s staging, only encourages the rather thrilling sense that we are all in it together. This is a chance to get up close and personal with one of the best pantos in town.