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Theatre & Dance
Terry Molloy (left) and Colin Baker
Review: Dick Whittington
By Lyn McKinney
A panto that doesn't disappoint and is spectacular in every way. Traditional family pantomime fun as Colin Baker, Richard Gauntlett and Terry Molloy head up the cast in the Norwich Theatre Royal's production of Dick Whittington.
If you're looking for a seasonal show to take the children to that has the WOW factor, then go no further than Norwich Theatre Royal.
In the year that has seen the theatre re-born as a venue fit for the 21st century, here is a panto that doesn't disappoint and is spectacular in every way.
Colourful, tightly performed and choreographed, it follows the story with little delay and has every feature one would expect - from a slapstick kitchen scene to loud audience participation.
Panto gets better each year
I think the regional panto gets better each year and that could be because the Norwich Theatre Royal team gets better at knowing what goes down well.
We've all grown up with the story of how the lad from nowhere goes to seek his fortune in London. He ends up marrying Alderman Fitzwarren's daughter and becoming Lord Mayor of London.
Ali James (left) and Nicky Adams
Nicky Adams is a confident actress and singer, clearly very much at home in Dick Whittington's thigh-high boots. Sweet-faced Alice Fitzwarren - Ali James - is no less confident and is an ideal partner.
The show has again been penned and directed by the highly talented Richard Gauntlett.
He also stars as Sarah The Cook, with each change of costume more outrageous than the last. I particularly like the colanders doubling as boobs at the beginning!
The big performances for me are those of former Doctor Who adversaries Colin Baker (The Doctor) as King Rat and Terry Molloy (Davros) as Alice's father.
Colin Baker warms to his theme, becoming more power-crazed and horrid by the minute. Clearly relishing every boo and hiss he keeps just enough twinkle in his eye not to scare the smallest child.
Molloy's interpretation of Alderman Fitzwarren shows that he doesn't have to be played as a doddery old man.
Feline fans will welcome the appearance of Tommy the Cat (with attitude).
Faultless performances from the dancers, who carry out a splendid tap-dancing routine just before they board the HMS Armadillo, and the red Set from the Central School Of Dancing And Performing Arts provided the younger group the night I attended.
Five-year-old Florence plays her part to perfection, giving us all a chance to go ah, when she appears as a white whiskered rat among her greyer friends.
Finally, a round of applause for the beautifully drawn 'pen and ink' sets, nicely muted in colour which show off the kaleidoscope of colours in the costumes.
The pantomime features no gladiators from TV and no big-named stars hogging the limelight and the story, just plenty of stardust and zing.
A fitting show for a new era for the Theatre Royal in Norfolk.
Dick Whittington runs until Saturday, 20 January, 2008. For more details call 01603 630000.
last updated: 28/12/2007 at 17:59