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Ricky Whittington And His Cat

  • Theatre, Comedy
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This witty, gritty panto offers a sparkling satire on the grimness of London

‘Fuck you, London!’ The acapella close to this spiky alt panto’s second number sums up the sentiment in Fight in the Dog Theatre’s brilliant ‘Ricky Whittington and His Cat’: a no-holds-barred attack on the worst of London life. 

Money-grabbing property magnates, crippling loneliness and the terribly misplaced sense of urban optimism that quickly turns to dread for every newcomer to London’s rat race are all in the dock here, with the audience relishing a close-to-the-bone comedy in which we can all, as long-suffering Londoners, see a little of ourselves. 

The rodent metaphor, embodied in the villainous Rat King – manufacturer of an impotent poison that causes infested neighbourhoods to be overrun, clearing the way for block after block of luxury flats – neatly transforms London’s dirtier side into fertile comic material. 

In the middle of it all, Ricky Whittington and his cat (‘Cat’) arrive from the northern town of Sadforth to ‘seek their fortune’ in the big city. In a parodic attack on the idea of social mobility, the lovably stupid northern lad, played by the fantastic Charlotte Ritchie (‘Fresh Meat’), goes from City Hall cleaner to Mayor of London in the blink of an eye. 

The show relies on easy tropes: the north-south divide, universal hatred of landlords and rags-to-riches sentimentality, but it’s got its tongue rammed firmly in its cheek. It’s devilishly intelligent, relentlessly metatheatrical and studded with genuine belly laughs, pitch-perfect original songs and puns to satisfy the purest of panto lovers. 

David Elms sparkles as the narrator/Ricky’s Mum Big Pam, opening the show with ten minutes of out-and-out stand up comedy, setting the tone for a mercurial production that lurches between comedy, theatre and surreal pandemonium.

The real plaudits though, go to Daran Johnson and Liam Williams, whose incisive writing is at once as painfully accurate and delightfully silly an account of London life as you’ll hear anywhere this year: ‘a panto for our times’, 

Written by
Josh Mcloughlin


£16, concs £15
Opening hours:
From Dec 12, Dec 10, 12-17, 20-23, Dec 27-31, Jan 3-7, 7.30pm, mats Dec 15, 17, 21-23, 31, Jan 7, 3.30pm, ends Jan 7
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