Reviewed by Phil Preece
Well it’s that time of year again.
Oh no it isn’t!
Oh yes it is!
(Stop this – Ed.)
Well actually it is, and I have to report that this year’s Garrick panto is not only bigger, better, funnier and more charming than ever before, and that really is saying something, given that for the last few years this marvellous company have been tickling ribs that have never even been touched before but frankly without this glittering show you’d have to travel a fair way and pay far higher prices to see anything nearly as good.
And on this fab outfit’s return to the Garrick a packed first night audience welcomed back some favourite players plus fresh new faces. Katrina Bryan of CBeebies’ Nina and the Neurons is a marvellous Fairy Bowbells while Joanne Heywood makes a deliciously evil Queen Rat. Ashley Emerson is a suitably handsome Dick Whittington with the lovely Beccy Lane as his love interest Alice Fitzwarren while Ieuan Rhys is appropriately dad-like as her pop Alderman Fitzwarren. But it’s Ben Thornton as Billy and the marvellous Sam Rabone as Dolly the Cook (he directs it as well!) who really steal the show and with good reason.
I can’t tell you very much more without spoiling the many spectacular treats here on offer including an up to the minute 3D sequence but the hair-raising slippery scene on board a dangerously listing ship during a storm is one of the funniest things I’ve seen on a stage in years, and I’m told the plucky cast have real bruises to prove it.
I’d love to slip in one last time before it finishes but I’m warned it’s already selling so well I might not be able to get a seat. But do try and get yours, if you still can. To be frank this marvellously fresh show is a sure-fire hit easily worthy of a much bigger venue. Just remember – you heard it here first!
Dick Whittington runs at the Lichfield Garrick until the 5th of January 2019 (already!)