Oxford Playhouse - Dick Whittington
30th November 2012 to 13th January 2013.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Joyful and triumphant
'A great panto' directed by Peter Duncan at the Oxford Playhouse
Dick Whittington, at the Oxford Playhouse, until January 13
The Oxford Playhouse pantomime, Dick Whittington, directed by Peter Duncan, is a traditional, family show with plenty of high quality performances.
It is noticeable in this, Duncan's seventh production for the Playhouse, just how strong the cast is. The knock-out performance is from Leon Craig as the Dame, Doris Donut: a genuinely funny man with a wardrobe to match his outsized personality (designer Amanda Hambleton).
Nearly every character has a northern accent - Dick (Ashley Emerson) should really become the mayor of Leeds and not London. Dick and his love, Alice (Laurie Scarth, recently prominent in Sister Act and Hairspray) perform some excellent pop numbers while their enemy King Rat (the excellent Australian cabaret artist Reuben Kaye) excels in numbers such as Goldfinger.
There's some exciting aerial work by the show's own Cats tribute, Tigerbilly (Tori Moone). Creation theatre company favourite Richard Kidd has fun as a dictator in North Africa whose decree runs to Hollywood musicals, whilst returnee Deborah Crowe as Fairy Bow Bells muses philosophically on the contrast between fate and destiny.
There's even an inflatable octopus. Lovely stuff.
Grace writes: Wow! What a panto - lots of music, singing and dancing and even fireworks! I liked the bits where King Rat and Fairy Bow Bells were on stage recounting the events and moving the story on.
I liked all of Dame Doris Donut's dresses - especially the dress she wore to get onto the boat. It was very brightly-coloured with fruit - with pineapples, oranges and bananas on it. All of the costumes and colours were feel-good because they made all the audience feel happy and laugh. The colours wouldn't usually work but the way they were put together made it work.
The very best song was The 12 Days of Christmas - five loo rolls ha, ha - and 12 pints of water in a water pistol got my mum wet hehe. Very funny and had the audience in fits of laughter, especially when the Dame kicked the flowers off the stage and Dick had to sprint to get them.
A great panto that will have you in stitches.
There are reviews in The Public Reviews ("this panto really is well worth the money" - 4 stars), British Theatre Guide ("a pantomime full of energy and fun... the ensemble deliver performances worthy of the West End stage. A rib-tickling pantomime delight, this is certainly one wonderful Whittington"), the Oxford Mail ("The cat’s whiskers. A bundle of fun. A ringing success... magical festive production" - 5 stars), WhatsOnStage ("an excellent show... this year’s music and dance is the best that we’ve ever seen at a Playhouse Panto... a comic triumph of theatrical spectacle" - 4 stars), Daily Info ("full of spectacle and comedy") and The Stage ("a real heart-warmer... there really is something for everybody here").