REVIEW: Sheringham panto Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington

Sheringham Little Theatre

Cool is not always a word associated with pantomime, with its traditional mix of corny jokes, singalong songs and larger-than-life cross-dressing dames.

But this version of a show first staged nearly 200 years ago is bang up to date and 'down with the kids.'

Sheringham Little Theatre, forging a new link with London's Lyric Theatre which

premiered this new-look production of a classic tale last year, has added its own local gags and flavour to the well-trodden tale of seeking fame and fortune.

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Yes there is time-honoured slapstick cake-mixing, plenty of audience participation, rat baddies, and a happy-ever-after ending.

But the cat (Nathan Bryon) is a street-wise urban rapper, who antics and songs make him a big hit with the youngsters. And love interest Alice Fitzwarren (Suzanna Kempner) has a feisty edge under her pretty frocks.

Add in music from Lady Gaga Cee Lo Green and Jessie J and this show sets out its stall to be a bit different.

Aaron White in the title role combines a good singing voice with bags of personality and an expressive face. Russel Hicken's return to the venue as dame Sarah the Cook sees him freshly baking some stale old jokes as well as stirring up the audience, while Jonathan Metcalf is a delightfully dark and dim King Rat.

The professional cast is completed by David Davies doubling up as a Alderman Fitzwarren and an Elvis lookalike Prince, with Paston College student Georgina Goodson ably filling in the final principal role as rat Scaramouche.

Teams of youngsters make up the chorus line, and some imaginative staging provides some of the highlights - watch out for the underwater antics in the storm scene.

Parents and grandparents will enjoy the usual nuggets of topical references and double entendres that sail over the children's heads but may find some of the dialogue and music incomprehensible and too 'shouty.'

However the energy, pace, modern music and 'youth speak' is likely to be a big hit with the younger members of the audience, who are the ones that really matter, both for this show and as a future generation of live theatre-goers. Oh yes they are.

The show runs until Monday, January 2. For more information or tickets call 01263 822347.

Richard Batson

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