Dick Whittington review at the Gatehouse, Stafford – ‘sensational songs, limp script’
The rock and roll panto format as become a seasonal fixture at the Stafford Gatehouse. This year’s offering is as pop-tastic as ever.
Musically, the show is sensational, with a fabulous collection of rock and pop hits from decades gone by delivered superbly by a talented cast of actor/singers who somehow interweave the traditional tale of Dick Whittington around the golden oldies.
But while it ostensibly a family pantomime, a lot of the comedy is aimed squarely at adults, with an over-reliance on “Dick” jokes and tired and cliched puns that soar over the heads of the younger audience members.
The star of the show is Laura Sillett as Alice Fitzwarren who belts out hit after hit while tackling her role with seeming ease. Peter Manchester works tirelessly too as the dame Sarah the Cook, as do Guy Freeman and Tomas Wolstenholme as Silly Billy and King Rat, but capable as the performances are the script is not the strongest and often lets them down. It’s a great looking show though. Debbie Mingham’s set design for old London town looks amazing and, despite some duff writing, this is a generally enjoyable production.