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Dick Whittington review at Nottingham Playhouse – ‘energetic panto’

Dick Whittington at Nottingham Playhouse. Photo: Robert Day Dick Whittington at Nottingham Playhouse. Photo: Robert Day

There’s been something of a cabinet reshuffle for the returning panto favourites at Nottingham Playhouse. This is Kenneth Alan Taylor’s 32nd consecutive show here and it’s goodbye to the thigh-slapping Principal Boy and hello to carnival time in Rio. The reworked Dick Whittington puts razzmatazz before plot in a bold departure from what has been a winning formula for the Nottingham Playhouse pantomime.

John Elkington’s arch Sarah the Cook is turned out as demurely as ever, perching on a chair painted on the backcloth and very funny in full cast numbers such Ole Ole. Tim Frater is an ebullient Dick. There’s an endearing quality about Rebecca Little’s Fairy Bowbells and Anthony Hoggard does his trademark quiver as a dotty Florrie Fitzwarren, tottering in a lobster pot skirt and shaking maracas with menace. Dancing rabbits are surreal and there’s a refreshing take on the pantomime cat in Jasmine White’s exquisitely sinuous and balletic Tallulah, in skin-tight black velvet.

For all these turns, the production has sacrificed some plot essentials; the absence of any real contest between good and evil creates a bit of a void. But the design is fantastic, but the show looks lovely, has good humour and heart, and the band, under John Morton’s direction, excels.

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Warm-hearted and energetic panto from Nottingham Playhouse favourites