Panto Review: Dick Whittington - New Wimbledon Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Dick Whittington

New Wimbledon Theatre

13th December 2016: Well it's that time of year again folks, theatres around the UK are filled with glitz, glamour, glow sticks and glorious sets for the annual Pantomime. New Wimbledon Theatre has a steep tradition for booking big name stars in its Christmas offering, and this year we have... wait for it... Tim Vine - possibly one of the best castings in Panto for a long time.

The joys of watching Tim Vine as Idle Jack are second to none, and with a fabulously witty script this year with jokes firing off from all angles, he is in his element... as are the audience. Along with the usual panto jokes which we all know and love,  theres a few thrown in for the more mature in the audience. And this is where Matthew Kelly steps in as Sarah the Cook. Vine and Kelly bounce off each other splendidly, jokes coming thick and fast, it is a delight to watch.

Making her Pantomime debut this year, Arlene Phillips plays Fairy Bowbells with style and panache, a script full of rhyming couplets, she gives it a jolly good bash! With the odd dance sequence here and there and getting the audience involved, the crowd were on their feet dancing away, and warming to Arlene's presence throughout.

The role of Dick is portrayed by Sam Hallion, who has a fine voice on him for the singing numbers, and when paired up with Grace Chapman as Alice Fitzwarren, the two of them sound rather remarkable in the duets they sing.

Matt Harrop's fiendish King Rat gives us the boos and jeers along the way, and Paul Baker has some good comic timing as Alderman Fitzwarren. The ensemble of dancers are slick and energetic, and this is what the show needs and let's not forget Tommy the Cat, who gets rid of the rats in some nice choreographed fight scenes.

The show seems to be missing something though, and for me its a big rousing number! An old Take That song didn't really do it for me, it needs to be more current. And the kitchen scene could of done with a slapstick take on it instead of reeling off lots of jokes.

But overall, a very entertaining show which sounds and looks good, and has lots of laughs for all the family by the way of a great script from Eric Potts under the direction of Ian Talbot.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Dick Whittington runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until 15 January 2017