REVIEW: Dick Whittington pulls out all the stops

Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward. Photo by Keith Pattison.
Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward. Photo by Keith Pattison.
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There’s nothing better for getting you into the Christmas spirit than a traditional, thigh-slapping panto with all the trimmings.

And Newcastle Theatre Royal’s panto offering of Dick Whittington really pulls out all the stops to make sure it’s nothing short of purrr-fect for all the family.

Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale's Val Pollard) as Spirit of the Tyne. Picture by Keith Pattison.

Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale's Val Pollard) as Spirit of the Tyne. Picture by Keith Pattison.

For the past 11 years father and son comedy duo Danny Adams and Clive Webb have turned the annual panto into an event far greater than a simple show and it’s not hard to see why audiences keep demanding the duo’s return.

Having witnessed previous years’ shows I would have thought it impossible to top what had gone before, but last night I was very much proved wrong, as the show had everything thrown at it – spectacular effects, a 3D screen, two enormous – and genuinely quite terrifying – monsters, magic, stunts, and of course the inimitable humour of the star of the show Danny Adams.

But aside from the high-tech added extras, this is still a traditional panto at its heart, designed to entertain and enthral people of all ages.

Danny plays Dick Whittington who heads off to Newcastle to rid the town of a plague of rats led by Steve Arnott’s King Rat.

And Emmerdale Geordie Charlie Hardwick brings the glamour in the form of the Spirit of the Tyne, to help Dick out along the way.

The former Byker Grove star shone with an expertly written script that will have you learning Geordie in no time.

Peter Peverley does a remarkable job as Dick’s cat Little Bobby, and panto regular Chris Hayward completes the line-up as Dame Rita Fitzfenwick in an ever amazing array of outfits.

Huge credit must also go to Captian Birdsey - Phil Seaman – for a hugely impressive trampoline act, and the village idiot, Michael Potts, whose performance was nothing short of ‘epic’.

This simply was a spectacular show and it’s not hard to see why it broke records to become the fastest selling show.

From the opening scene including an hilarious cameo from a Strictly Come Dancing star, the audience is hooked, and for youngsters enjoying their first taste of pantomime, there is simply no better one than Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, even if some of the moments may have been a little frightening even for a grown woman such as myself.

There was plenty of comedy slapstick for the younger ones that we’ve come to know and love from Danny and Clive, and Wallsend writer, producer and director Michael Harrison deserves more than a mention for his slick script that made for a face-achingly funny show with lots of laughs for mums, dads and grandparents too.

It all adds up to a real Christmas treat.

Dick Whittington runs at The Theatre Royal in Newcastle until Sunday, January 17.

Tickets are available from £12.50 and are available by calling the box office on 08448 11 21 21 or online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk