What do you get if you cross a slinky suited rat man, a larger than life ginger tom cat, a deaf fairy, a butch cook, a boy from the streets and some aliens obsessed with cheese?
Why, this year’s pantomime at Theatre Royal Stratford East, of course. Regular writing duo Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman are back after a year’s hiatus with a brilliantly anarchic offering that takes what’s happening in the world around us, scrunches it up, adds a lot of sparkle, fabulous songs, some mad fantasy and lobs it right back at you.
The duo give the story of the boy who becomes mayor of London a hefty modern tug: there’s economic misery, homelessness, unemployment, gangs and poverty all happening in ‘Lowdown town’. So when sassy boy of the streets Dick arrives, it’s up to him to realise his potential and become the mayor everyone needs.
Jenny Tiramani and Harriet Barsby’s magnificent set and costume designs shine throughout, from the quiff-haired baddy Rat King – played with a nice dose of tongue-in-cheek by Michael Bertenshaw – to a gloriously fuzzy life-sized ginger costume for Cool Cat – Tony Jayawardena, who gives Antonio Banderas’s Puss from ‘Shrek’ a run for his money in the feisty sidekick stakes. Everything, especially the spiky, cheesy alien world of the second half, looks as bright and as weird as it possibly could.
In Kerry Michael’s tight, spunky production, the line-up of loveable oddball characters are given the chance to sing the hell out of songs which mix samba, rap, grunge, power ballads and rock ‘n’ roll. And, of course, there’s much cheeky audience interaction, including suitably puerile jokes for the adults – like the hilarious moment the audience find themselves chanting ‘We want Dick’ at the tops of their voices. Londoners, take note: I know where my vote lies for this year’s lord mayor of panto.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell
Average User Rating
3.8 / 5
- 5 star:7
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BRILLIANT!!!!! I love the way they encouraged the audience to join in. Also it was a modern dick whittington. Great time for the family.
The worst 'pantomine' I have ever seen. I've seen numerous pantomines over the years, usually at Barking Broadway or Queens Hornchurch and was looking forward to going to a new venue but was massively disappointed. No Christmas atmosphere and not even remotely like the Dick Whittington story. Not worth the money or journey!
Fantastic! Loved the staging, the songs, the gusto, the contemporary edge and the fact that the talented cast seemed to be enjoying themslves enormously. Outstanding panto, fun for all!
Absolutely fantastic! Would highly recommend. Probably the best panto I've ever seen. Scenery & costumes were amazing. Brilliant script & super acting. A really great time was had by all the family.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant production with a good twist to the original. Set is fantastic and the kids were in awe during the rocket scene. Adults and kids 5+ will love it.
Great show must see with all the family young and old will have you laughing all night, then singing the tunes all the way home……well done
One off the best pantos I’ve seen in a while, My 5 year old daughter and wife loved it and have been talking about it for several days. Fully recommend it once of the best in London well done Theatre Royal Stratford
I watched Dick Whittington last night at the Theatre Royal Stratford East with the children and it was fantastic! I'm in my fifties so I have seen dozens of pantomimes over the years and this was easily the best. My 11 and 16 year old children loved it too. The staging is quirky, very funny and original. Dame Delroy Atkinson's set piece song brought the house down - what a diva! The audience were crying with laughter. It was worth the price of the ticket on its own. We had a great night out. I have never been to the same pantomime twice - but seriously considering going again it really was that good.
I just thought it was tedious with non of the fun and slapstick I associate with panto. I thought the cast did what they could with the material - but frankly it was more like a slightly smutty play than a panto. Disappointed!
Disappointed with this years pantomine. I have been for the last three years and found that this performance was not suitable for the primary school children who attended. The context was really sexualised and sometimes distasteful. It took me by surprise, because when I go to watch a film in the cinema there is an age restriction. Therefore I will be prepared for some of the content to some extent, but the theatre productions do not have any age limits, so you would assume the content should be appropriate. I appreciate that every production will have it's own twist and most pantos have suggestive innuendos, but I felt this was a bit over the top, particulary for school children. We have too much of this stuff in the media. I had hoped we would have been spared this during the panto season aimed at children.