Once again we returned for the annual tradition of the Christmas Panto at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury, and this year it is the turn of Dick Whittington. The Roses Theatre brings this traditional story to life with music, mayhem and exhilarating fun as Dick has adventures whilst making new friendships and dastardly foes.
Dick Whittington at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury Cast
Written and directed by Ben Crocker (for his seventh consecutive year of Panto at The Roses Theatre) the tale of how Dick Whittington (Amy Bridges) goes off to London to seek his fortune is brought to life in true Panto fashion. The marvellous Ben Eagle (who was Queen Dorothy in The Roses’ Sleeping Beauty last year and Friar Tuck in 2016’s Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood) returns as our hilarious Panto Dame as Sarah The Cook. His outstanding performances always make me laugh so much but my highlight from this year’s Panto has to be when he came into the audience and had their sweets from them! Also joined by Michael Watson-Gray as Idle Jack, who also gave a comical performance in Sleeping Beauty and again puts on a side-splitting performance in the sidekick role Idle Jack. Of course the pair do one of my favourite tradition scenes of the pies in the kitchen – which end up all over their faces!
I love it when the penny drops that one actor is playing several parts and this year it is Simon Spencer-Hyde who is back to perform the roles of Alderman Fitzwarren / Captain Horatio / The Emperor or Morocco. It is actually rather funny the way the rest of the cast make comments about each character being just off stage where they can see them, to give the costume changes time to occur.
The remaining cast include: Laura Barnard as Alice Fitzwarren / Fairy Bowbells – who I felt was really good in how she really changed her accent to sound like indeed two completely different characters (disappointed that she wore the same shoes mind); Derek Frood as King Rat (who has recently appeared in BBC’s Poldark) – a villain with a real air of Shakespeare in his performance and it is not surprising as his recent theatre credits including Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night and Priscilla Osegie as Tommy the Cat – her debut panto and what a fantastic job she did – my favourite part being when she discovered she had a voice, and how beautiful it is too – just disappointed I didn’t hear it more (she could only miaow the rest of it).
There has been a change to the usual Chorus this year, with instead of auditions being held the chorus has been made up of two teams from local dance schools (one from Amy Flynn School of Dance and the other from Studio B Performing Arts Centre). It is clear what an amazing opportunity the chorus have had once again this year – with them been fully involved in the production from start to finish. It was fantastic to see that the choreography (by last year’s villain Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty Lucy Jane Adcock) had been designed so that the children were much more seen. There were also a lot more talking parts – including a reserve fairy (for when Alice also needed to be on stage).
Thoughts on Dick Whittington Roses Theatre
Dick Whittington was everything we have come to expect from a Panto at the Roses Theatre and so much more. As well as the usual mix of great songs (LOVED that the song everyone would know and sing along to this year was none other than BABY SHARK); stunning costumes (with impressive changes – I particularly loved Alice’s dress change when she was ship-wrecked; fantastic sets (some even glittered in a way to make it feel like it was water moving) and of course very talented cast (great audience participation) – there was magic and a UV light show!
Dick Whittington at the Roses Theatre is definitely a Christmas tradition to be had by the whole family. We ranged from 9-84 years and we all loved it for different reasons. Our eleven year was particularly amused by the double entendres (be rude not to with a name like Dick right!) and even our teen loved the quote from Romeo and Juliet “Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch. Marry, ’tis enough” – when Tom Cat kills King Rat (he even discussed the clever connections).
Sponsored by one of Gloucestershire’s leading independent estate agents Peter Ball & Co. (which of course was comically added into an act).
- Box Office: 01684 295074
- Sun Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 5NX
Running from Saturday 1st December 2018 until Saturday 5th January 2019
Saturday 8th December 2018 at 11am is a relaxed performance.
Prices range from £10 to £25, with discounts for concessions, families and groups. Free for carers – proof of eligibility may be required.
I was invited to Press Night of Dick Whittington at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury all opinions are honest and my own.