dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Dick Whittington review at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford – ‘rollicking traditional panto’

Judy Cornwell and Georgie Leatherland in Dick Whittington at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. Photo: Bryan Allman Judy Cornwell and Georgie Leatherland in Dick Whittington at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. Photo: Bryan Allman

Here’s a clever invention: a ratnav. This gilded box both susses out vermin and bursts into song at the least hint: say “hello” and you invoke Lionel Richie.

Jamie Smith’s script is a mixture of originality, weary double entendres – especially (surprise!) “dick” and “pussy” – and groan-worthy puns, but he generally focuses on child rather than adult taste. He directs at a tremendous lick and the cast are clearly having fun. Some of the wild, energetic slapstick is familiar to the audience: when the giant water pistols came out, umbrellas were already up. An outsider feels like a stranger at a family party.

Peter Gordon, host of local breakfast radio and here for the twelfth year, is Sarah the Cook in some fabulous wigs, one topped with a puce octopus. Kit Hesketh-Harvey, King Rat, returns as a hissable villain and Jamie Brook as Idle Jack connects warmly with the children. Judy Cornwell makes a glittering if grounded, no-nonsense Fairy Bowbells, while Kane Verrall’s attractive Dick is stronger on comedy than voice.

As Alice, Natalie Turner sings charmingly and Georgie Leatherland is a lithe Tommy the Cat. Nick Barclay doubles as Alderman Fitzwarren and a surprisingly Geordie Sultan in an unapologetically non-PC Morocco. The costumes are gorgeous, the live band terrific and the ensemble – local schoolkids and students – exceptionally well-drilled. In short: a rollicking traditional panto.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Traditional, inventive, laugh-along panto featuring local talent, fun for children and adults
^