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101 Dalmatians review at Gateway Chester

The number of dalmatians on stage may fall short of 101 but no-one is going to feel short changed by this absolutely gorgeous production.

For a start it looks wonderful. Janey Gardiner’s sixties design is a riot of op art. Then there’s the movement – chases, falls, slapstick, choreography (by Lorelei Lynn) and gymnastics (by Ceri Sass). This could be wearing but isn’t thanks to the ebullient skills of the adult cast and the children playing the puppies.

It was an inspiration to start with a routine involving walking the dog, quickly introducing the audience to the actors as both humans and dogs. Duncan MacInnes and Janine Hales are a delight as Pongo and Missis, despairing of training their human pets, splendid Justin Brett and Jo Castleton. Basienka Blake’s Cruella de Vil is an immensely stylish villain, not easy when the whole role is played on stilts.

Ian Jervis and James Malcolm are a hoot as female cook and butler. They, like many of the others, also successfully play other roles. Jo Castleton does a lovely ‘Allo ‘Allo! parody as Lieutenant Cat. There are delicious jokes, both verbal and visual, to cap one of the most delightfully good humoured Christmas shows I’ve ever seen.

Production Information

Gateway, Chester, December 3-January 8

Dodie Smith adapted by Glyn Robbins
Richard Williams
Chester Gateway
Cast includes
Basienka Blake, Duncan MacInnes, Janine Hales, Jo Castleton
Running time

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