After a hiatus of almost a decade, Dick Whittington makes a welcome return to the Civic Theatre, with inventive Simon Aylin once again at the helm.
With boos every panto villain’s applause, Kivan Dene warrants his standing condemnation, generating the response you’d get if you ridiculed One Direction. Whilst Dene’s vile vermin King Rat spits bile at his animated audience throughout, swaggering Waylon Jacobs purrs, with his mellow Rastamouse accent giving majestic moggie Tommy Jones the miaow factor.
Hovering above on a crescent moon, Jenny-Ann Topham’s Fairy Bowbells brings some fun-loving ‘whoop-whoop’ to the party and with more romantic chemistry than most pantos, Craig Rhys Barlow’s lightsaber-wielding Whittington woos Abigail Rosser’s Alice to charming effect.
Civic favourite Richard Earl adds Sarah the Cook to his repertoire of festive court jesters. Clad in make-up distributed by a toddler, Earl’s antics prove appropriate foil for Lewis Barnshaw’s Simple Simon and their confectionary sketch proves a Kinder Surprise.
The latest dance ensemble hot off the Laine Theatre Arts conveyor belt maintains expected high standards. Merge this showbiz male quartet with the core cast and juvenile chorus and Richard Peakman’s grand scale choreography has explosive results, executed to a myriad of tracks, past and present.
Having gained city status earlier in the year, Chelmsford delivers a panto to merit such prestige.