Take the international TV and musical theatre star John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow) and the comedy legends The Krankies, a magical 3D underwater journey and Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer and you have all the ingredients for the perfect pantomime, Dick Whittington.
A spectacle on par with any West End show in terms of scale and production values. Audiences can expect plenty of laughs, outrageous costumes, breath-taking special effects and hilarious entertainment for all the family when they join our hero Dick Whittington (and his faithful feline pal) as he seeks fame, fortune and happiness to become Lord Mayor of London.
Lindsay Harris and her daughter, Neve, went to review Dick Whittington for us on Tuesday 12th December 2017 at the Opera House, Manchester. This is what they had to say about this year’s panto in Manchester…
I love a pantomime and was really looking forward to seeing Dick Whittington, we’ve seen it in a panto a few times but the big draw if I’m honest was John Barrowman. I’m a bit of a fan and to quote the programme “he’s an entertainer with a capital E” so we knew we were going to get a good show. When I saw The Krankies were in at as well –am I allowed to be honest here?- I thought “are they still at it, I saw them in Panto when I was about 9 and they’re not my cup of tea.” But The Krankies stole the show!
Neve at 13 thought she was too old for it and was coming to keep me company, she wouldn’t join in with the booing at King Rat when he first appeared. But I’m delighted to report that at the first scene change she whispered over to me ‘It’s amazing, so funny!’
It opened with King Rat and then John Barrowman and a big popular number with talented dancers and a bold, colourful set. The audience quickly joined in with the obligatory Boo’s, cheers and clapping and the children were having a great time.
The 3D screen, I have seen before in panto and while it always feels a little random the 3D effects on this one were so good it was worth seeing. I did hear a couple of smaller children that seemed scared of it so maybe just be mindful of that. There were some great animatronics too, but I won’t spoilt that.
Jeanette Krankie is an absolute wonder, she’s 70 years old and they were throwing her about the stage like a doll, her energy is astounding and she was absolutely hilarious. The audience were in stitches laughing at her jokes, even the ones we’d all heard a few times before were delivered with such skill we were all laughing. I challenge anyone to go and see this and not to be impressed with the duo. They got a bigger cheer than John Barrowman at the end.
John Barrowman was cheeky and funny and his singing and dancing was as expected spot on.
The rest of the cast, the ensemble and the babes were all clearly talented and added to magic of the panto experience.
I can’t not bring up the debate that hit the pages of the press and several of the national talk shows, is it too rude?
If I’m honest it was very rude. I’m very rarely shocked and not easily offended but there was once or twice when I thought ‘they’re not going to go there? Oh they did!!!’ Neve is nearly 13 and she unfortunately did understand a lot of it, probably heard worse at school I know but it was a bit uncomfortable. Panto is traditionally full of cheeky innuendos but some of these jokes were a little more blatant and were definitely pushing the line a little. Maybe it’s not for the easily offended but the general consensus of opinion of the people of differing ages around me was that it was very very funny.
Having said that, I’ve told everyone that will listen that this really was the best pantomime I’ve seen. Lots of laughs, great talent and some lovely unexpected surprises. Go and see it before it finishes, adults and children will all enjoy it. It’s the perfect panto and you will still be laughing a couple of days later.
I’m struggling to score this, I think panto deserves its own rating system because it’s so different to other genres and as a panto it was a very good but I do think the crude humour ruined it a little. We enjoyed it but tone it down a bit!
Score 5/10 **
Lindsay Harris (Mum) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Dick Whittington was brilliant and although the jokes sometimes weren’t suitable for young ages it was ok because the amazing dancing, storyline and 3D scene made it really good for children.
The Krankies, who I had never heard of before were hilarious and the dancers from Stalder dance school were incredible also John was great in his role and had tons of energy, he was really funny and a good singer and dancer.
The best bits were when things started to go wrong and the cast couldn’t stop laughing. A little boy in the audience was trying to tell everyone that King Rat was the thief and it was really funny how the cast tried to ignore it.
This is a great pantomime, the best one I’ve seen and you should definitely go and see it. I think it was too rude in places.
Score 6/10 ***
Neve Harris (Daughter) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Mother’s Score – 5/10
Daughter’s Score – 6/10
Total Score – 11/20 **
Dick Whittington is on in Manchester until January 7th 2018. You can still purchase tickets by clicking on the link below:
BOOK DICK WHITTINGTON TICKETS