There is a fine line between maintaining fondly remembered traditions and rehashing a tired format.
Marking the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s 125th anniversary, this strictly by-the-numbers Dick Whittington trots out all the familiar tropes but lacks a necessary spark of mischief. Instead, writer, director, and veteran dame Ian Adams fills this production with dated puns, running gags about Elvis, and charmless risqué asides.
Julie Paton – who also provides the show’s tight, airy choreography – gets to demonstrate a powerful singing voice as Fairy Bow Bells, belting out the show’s best, biggest inspirational number towards the end of Act I.
Su Pollard’s scrappy Queen Rat struts aggressively about the space twirling a whip-like tail, clearly having great fun menacing her former Hi-De-Hi co-star Jeffrey Holland, who appears here as a suitably stuffy Alderman Fitzwarren.
Jordan Ginger makes a charming Cat, tumbling and bounding acrobatically about, even channelling enough charisma to carry an intrinsically cringey rap segment.
Beside him, Ryan Thomas’ aspiring lord mayor Whittington spends much of the show being rendered unconscious by magical spells, or just drifting off of his own volition, but he manages to be warm and affable when he’s awake.