Leeds City Varieties
Five Stars If there were Oscars for pantomime then the Dick Whittington would scoop the board in every category.
It’s a gutsy, well thought out production that travels at high speed full of sparkle, vitality, in your face comedy, innuendos and audience participation and its everything traditional pantomime should be.
But what sets this production apart is the multi-talented cast who slip seamlessly between their dual roles as actors and musicians providing the live accompaniment. Laced with hits from Tutti Fruitti, Uptown Girl and Band of Gold to Walkin On Sunshine, its success lies in the fact that the music is never allowed to eclipse or interfere with the plot.
Director Paul Hart and writer Peter Rowe have succeeded in bringing out the traits of the different characters in the slick dialogue and I particularly liked the melodramatic touches and skilful use of the two level set.
As Sarah the Cook, Simon Nock is brash, raucous and a master of irreverent repartee whilst Kenny Davies as Billy Bungalow has boundless energy, great comedy timing and a wonderful penchant for local humour.
|Liz Singleton as Alice is one of the best principal girls I have seen for a long time. She’s feisty yet sweet and blends beautifully, especially in the vocals, with a dashing and totally believable Tom Milner as Dick Whittington.
As the villain you love to hate David Heywood is a Dickensian style King Rat with a great acting talent and a believable cockney accent and he’s not too scary for the tiny tots. Teamed with a sparkling fairy in the guise of Hollie Cassar the pair make a formidable duo.
Completing the cast is the purr-fect feline Claire McGarahan as Taffeta the Cat and there’s some great character acting from Jamie Baughan as Alderman Fitzwarren.
Dick Whittington has a great feel good factor element and hits that have both young and old dancing in the aisles. There’s no wonder its tipped to become the best panto in town!
Runs to January 11th