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Dick Whittington review at the Mayflower, Southampton – ‘Bobby Davro’s star turn’

Andrew Ryan, Joe McElderry and Suzanne Shaw in Dick Whittington at the Mayflower, Southampton

London’s streets might be paved in gold, but this lavish Dick Whittington is worth its glittering weight in it.

The Mayflower, celebrating its 90th birthday, and Qdos Entertainment have pulled out all the stops to deliver a visually spectacular show. This Dick is real corker: dazzling costumes, spangled sets, stunning lighting, energetic dance routines and a fabulous dame. Andrew Wright’s production simply fizzes along.

Alan McHugh’s script may be short on plot but it’s full of set pieces and still feels fresh. The show is raucously funny and contains some genuine wow moments, like the giant animatronic rat that gets the show rolling and the flying double-decker bus that returns Dick to London.

Bobby Davro in Dick Whittington at Mayflower, Southampton

We are putty in the hands of panto veterans Andrew Ryan as Sarah the Cook and an anarchic Bobby Davro as Idle Jack, but it is without doubt Davro’s show. Some of what he does appears a little spur of the moment until you realise the skill and years of experience – Davro says this is his 37th – it takes to make it look this easy.

Former The X-Factor winner Joe McElderry is on fine vocal form as Dick. He and Suzanne Shaw’s scrumptious Alice make a sparky couple with Josh Baker as an acrobatic Kitty Kat. Steve McFadden doesn’t need to play on his EastEnders persona as Phil Mitchell to convince that he is a truly heinous King Rat. Sheila Ferguson’s Spirit of the Bells is a tad shaky on her lines and on the stairs, but she can belt out a song diva-style and that’s what counts.


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Sumptuous panto with an anarchic star turn from Bobby Davro