For many months it didn’t look as if any theatres in the UK would be able to stage their annual pantomimes. Fortunately, just in time, the fairy godmother waved her magic wand – apparently it’s near the magic money tree – and so we’re finally able to indulge in this most fabulous art form.
Above The Stag Theatre has a reputation for delivering great panto. I’m delighted to say that despite everything that has been thrown at 2020, this year is no exception. In a perfectly safe, secure and beautifully managed environment, Dick Whittington is a full-on, ballsy adult show. Written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, the traditional story of a young man seeking his fortune in the bright lights of London is the perfect vehicle for a gay reimagining of this tale as old as time.
In the safe hands of director Andrew Beckett, the excellent cast draws out every last laugh – and there are laughs a-plenty, many proper belly ones – and every last drop of innuendo. The imaginative and creative set, designed by David Shields, ensures that the action licks on at pace and keeps the characters COVID safe.
It’s a genuine ensemble piece with each of the five-strong cast putting in wonderfully crafted performances. Anthony Rickman’s eponymous Dick delivers the perfect balance of cutesy cheek and doe-eyed endearment. Tom Mann gives an energetic and engaging Alex Fitzwarren, and possesses a wonderful tenor voice. Briony Rawle as Queen Rat is superb. Beautifully evil and able to handle the smuttiest of one-liners with absolute ease. Matthew Baldwin’s Sarah is a joyous tour-de-force. One of the finest, most perfectly understated panto dames I’ve had the pleasure of watching perform. Outstanding. And Chris Lane tops off his assured performances sic as Fitzwarren with one of the funniest, slickest scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
Book a ticket. Now. Go on, what are you waiting for?