2 December 2014 to 4 January 2015
Reviewed by Victoria Moore
On arrival at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent you’re whipped into a festive atmosphere with a real buzz of excitement from the crowd of families taking to their seats awaiting the cast’s arrival on the glittering stage.
The pantomime features lots of local references impressively built into rhyme and a bit of ‘oh no you’re not’ audience participation to start the show and get everyone warmed up. The quintessential good and bad characters, Fairy and King Rat setting the scene before Dick Whittington, comic principal boy, local star Jonathan Wilkes arrives initially by video around Stoke-on-Trent then circulates the stalls. As Jonathan takes to the stage you can tell he’s really enjoying himself and this continues to show throughout the whole performance as he runs around and interacts with the audience.
Lots of recognisable songs delivered excellently, Louise Dearman has a seriously powerful vocal range showcased in ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen. Having a west end start in the show really pays off, she shines in the character and adds the required princess element for all the little princesses in the audience to counter the constant stream of comedy from Dick and Sarah the Cook (Dame).
Fantastic costumes and well layered staging backdrops with both new and old features of slapstick comedy connected with Pantomimes.
The show is suitable for all ages, jam packed with lots of jokes for both kids and adults delivered at a seamlessly speedy pace, I challenge you to not be crying with laughter at the 12 days of Christmas. Christian Patterson is a hilarious dame and takes the chance on some cheeky double entendres associated with Mr Whittington which only the Dame could deliver.
Video footage is a new one for me to start a pantomime but worked well as was delivered in moderation letting the effervescent characters capture the audience’s attention. Top notch dance routines from junior and adult troops and acrobatic elements from Dick’s sidekick cat Tommy.
Pantomimes are a truly British tradition spanning the last 300 years which cause confusion when explained to anyone outside the UK, but has become a staple in many families festive celebrations. Dick Whittington at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent delivers a family friendly Stokified, truly hilarious outing not to be missed. It’s a delight to have such a high level of talent in a local theatre.
Tickets cost from £11.40 to £32.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Dick Whittington is at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent until 4 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649