STEPHEN PULLINGER Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston
> Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston
“Brilliant” was how our eight-year-old Paige summed it up when the curtain came down on the first performance of Dick Whittington at the Pavilion Theatre.
And it was clear from the roars of laughter that Saturday's show was a hit with kids of all ages.
Director Desmond Barrit said that his launch of Ohyesitiz Productions with former Anglia star Helen McDermott and scenery designer Ian Westbrook had been an initiative to keep theatre alive at small venues.
By the reaction to their first show, one can only conclude that this patient is very much alive and well.
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The fast-moving pace does not give time for even the youngest children to get bored and our two-year-old Fay was endlessly fascinated by Dick's agile cat (played by Lee McCallion).
The quality of the production is strikingly good compared with a panto I saw at the same theatre some years ago – the bright costumes and scenery add to the fairytale enchantment.
Emma Munro Wilson, in the role of Dick, and Rebecca Wicking, playing shopkeeper's daughter Alice Fitzwarren, both impress with their vocal quality, and the songs in the show are varied and upbeat.
Helen McDermott plays a humorous Fairy Bow Bells and is the perfect foil for the dastardly King Rat (Paul Barnes).
An impressively large cast includes fine dancers, the younger ones supplied by the June Glennie Dancers.
The audience noticeably warms to the consummate dame – Sarah the Cook – played by Steve Ace.
All in all, 10 out of 10 on a boos and cheers rating, and a must-see over the festive period.