Dick Whittington review at Key Theatre, Peterborough – ‘colourful and clever’
There’s no mistaking that young Dick is heading for London in this production: Fairy Bowbells (Helen Power) introduces the show with a strong cockney accent and a wand in the shape of a London underground roundel.
This is a traditional family panto in many ways but it’s unusual because instead of incorporating popular songs of the day, it has original music by its director Simon Egerton. Many of the cast play musical instruments during the production numbers, and a small group of musicians at the rear of the stage are often joined by Fairy Bowbells and others.
Dick Whittington (Rosalind Steele) and Alice Fitzwarren (Louisa Beadel) as the central characters are somewhat overwhelmed by frequent interruptions of the evil rodents led by King Rat (Robin Johnson), a truly booable villain. Emma Jane Morton as Tommy the Cat is an endearing character with lovely movement and Eddy York is a likeable Alderman Fitzwarren; Darren Machin as Sarah the Cook starts off fairly low key, but the costumes and headdresses become more and more outrageous as the plot develops, with a shipwreck leaving the cast stranded on the Scilly Islands (no, me neither.)
Natalia Stewart’s sets are colourful and clever, and audience participation works well, particularly with younger audience members who all join in the fun.