Harrogate Theatre has a tradition of presenting one of the best pantomimes in the region and after watching this joyful production of Dick Whittington, the theatre can rightly claim that accolade yet again.
Whilst this pantomime might not have the big budget associated with some of those in other theatres in Yorkshire, it more than makes up for this with a show that successfully treads the fine line between appealing to both children and adults. The jokes feel fresh without having to resort to innuendo, the actual story of Dick Whittington never gets lost in the raucous panto theatricality as is sometimes the case, and it is all buoyed along with a talented cast.
Dick Whittington: London calling to the faraway towns
Tim Stedman, in his 23rd Harrogate pantomime appearance takes the mantle of everyone’s best friend as ‘Idle Jack’. A word of warning though – do not sit on the front row if you are of a retiring nature, you might find yourself being chosen to participate at various parts during the show!
Stedman’s years of experience treading the boards shines through, though for every good guy, there has to be a bad guy, and Michael Lambourne as ‘King Rat’ is devilish, devious and darn right dangerous. As well as being villainously captivating in his role, writers David Bown and Phil Lowe have given Lambourne some appropriate songs to perform such as London Calling by The Clash, whereas Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell became fittingly, ‘Rat out of Hell’.
Naail Ishaq plays Dick Whittington with an endearing boyish charm, whilst Faye Weerasinghe as Alice Fitzwarren is charming and plays her role with an amiable innocence. Shannon Rewcroft as ‘Fairy Bow-Bells’ brings charismatic sparkle with a touch of convivial sweetness to the proceedings, her dual role as Billie Ocean is superbly orchestrated as she sings the Billie Eilish hit, Ocean Eyes. Special mention too, goes to Anna Campkin who is playfully intrepid as ‘Tammy The Cat’.
Harry Wyatt surprises with a delightfully dotty version of ‘Sarah the Cook’. The writers have snuck into the show a few references to this year’s critically acclaimed Barbie movie with Wyatt arriving on stage by way of a Barbie box. Even some of the songs from the movie make their way into this highly entertaining show – another well-integrated touch that renders this panto such a memorable one.
A riotous festive treat
Add to that the glorious surreality of a giant tap-dancing jelly fish, plenty of audience participation including water gun antics and an energetic cast scooting up and down the aisles to the delight of the audience and you have all the ingredients for a great winter pick-me-up. After last year’s exceptional show, the production team at the Harrogate Theatre has come up with a riotous festive treat to enthral and entertain young’uns and old’uns, alike.
Runs until Sunday 14 January 2024.