Theatre Review: Dick Whittington & His Cat

11 Jan

Plot: Dick Whittington & His Cat is a tale of a poor boy from Gloucester who goes to London, with his cat, to seek his fortune as he believes the streets are paved with gold. He is not initially successful but in time becomes the Lord Mayor of London and marries his master’s daughter.

I have never seen a pantomime ever. For the unenlightened, just what is a pantomime? From Pantomimes are fun, family theater with stories loosely based on children’s fairy tales. Pantos are suitable for adults too as there is always plenty of slapstick comedy. Expect plenty of audience participation by calling out, “It’s behind you!” and “Oh, no it isn’t” and “Oh, yes it is” as well as plenty more phrases for each character. Enter into the spirit of things and you’ll have a great time.

Since I am trying to see a lot more theatre performances, I was advised to at least catch one panto, revel in the fun that it offers and that should do it. So this week, bored to wits waiting for the weekend, I was deciding whether to catch the Old Vic’s Cinderella written by Stephen Fry or perhaps just go local at the Hackney Empire where their playing a successful run of Susie McKenna’s Dick Whittington & His Cat. I obviously went for the latter, and boy, did I have a fabulous time!

First off, Dick Whittington & His Cat is a HOOT of a show! If all pantos were even half as fun as this -apparently the Empire has been dishing out great pantos each year, I’ve just been completely ignorant of it- then boy oh boy, I’ll be there for Mother Goose come December 08!

Now where do I start? The cast is absolutely brilliant, from the moment you see Fairy Bowbells (Tameka Empson) flying onstage with her umbrella I knew I would have a fun evening ahead. And the athletic but sexy Puss (Mike Denman) is purringly charming. Dick Whittington was played by Hannah Jane-Fox fresh from her West End stint of We Will Rock You had such great stamina and a powerful voice. King Rat was wickedly portrayed by David Ashley, and Idle Jack (Kat) was such a good comic relief. Oh, and The Cool Cat Chat in the end was a blast!

The star of the show though is definitely Clive Rowe who played Sarah the Cook and hailed as London’s premiere dame, her musical exploits included a parody of Barbra Streisand’s Don’t Rain on My Parade and Jennifer Hudson’s And I Am Telling You. There were potshots about Primark, M&S, the coming 2012 Olympics, and Simon Cowell. I’ve never had so much fun in the theatre before, will definitely come back next year.

If the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Sylvester McCoy and Barbara Windsor were at the Hackney Empire stalls jiggying it and doing The Cool Cat Chat, so where were you?

Dick Whittington & His Cat: 5/5

One Response to “Theatre Review: Dick Whittington & His Cat”

  1. eddie January 22, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    Next time, ask me to join you please?

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