Gloucestershire’s hometown hero Dick Whittington (Cleve September) ventures to London to seek his fortune in the Everyman Theatre’s most exciting pantomime adventure ever. Joined by everyone’s favourite clown as his Cat Tweedy; Dick’s faithful feline sidekick.
Also featuring Sam Holmes as Fairy Bow Bells; Kevin Brewis as Sarah The Cook and Phoebe Samuel-Gray as Alice Fitzwarren.
This post contains spoilers!!!
Review of Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy
We were invited along to press night of our local panto Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy. Familiar with the elements that make up a panto we were ready to see how The Everyman Cheltenham would deliver.
Elements that Make a Panto in Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy
Here are some of the elements that make up a panto and whether we found them at Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy.
Good Vs Bad
There’s always someone there to guide the hero against the evil villain we all love to boo and hiss. Yes Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy can tick the box with the magical Fairy Bowl Bells against Queen Rat (Lara Denning).
Next of course there’s always romance. Again yes, we have Dick Whittington fall for our fair maiden Alice Fitzwarren (Phoebe Samuel-Gray).
Gender role reversal
As well as having a “fairy” and all that goes with that, we did also have gender role reversal. Our Panto Dame was Sarah the Cook (Kevin Brewis), who played the part superbly. Not only wearing the fantastic array of dresses and shoes, but delivering all the fantastic jokes!
Comedy with Tweedy Cat
This brings us onto the comedy. Of course with Tweedy being a clown there was lots of this! Some of my favourite Tweedy moments include the balancing on giant ball, juggling, and zooming around in a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe! Furthermore, I loved how the traditional cream pie scene had a twist with being on the boat! Not forgetting the parts with Tweedy’s sausage!
Tweedy Cat Plugs
Not forgetting the way Tweedy kept plugging himself – with saying and Tweedy the Cat after the musical recording of Dick Whittington.
Plus there were plugs for Tweedy’s Musical Mayhem and the next panto at the Everyman Theatre Mother Goose. As well as for the sponsors. But I do wonder if they ever did get a discount at The Ivy!
Talking of plugs we should mention that Tweedy also had help from his iron Keef!
Panto is meant to appeal to adults and children alike. Some jokes are meant to go over children’s heads – like when they played “Come on Eileen music” for example. Others the children think that they are meant to not know but do, so it makes them feel all grown up. However, then there’s the jokes that you think oh my, that’s taking it a bit far!
As you can imagine a story about Richard and his pussy is bound to have a few adult references!! There was the rugby hooker, and the question something beginning with D that you play with in the bath (asked to a man) for instance.
Of course there were topical jokes such as about the cost of heating. Notably that the cost of a ticket was cheaper than putting the heating on at home! In addition the prizes for a game of Heat or Eat were a pack of cheesy balls or hand warmers!
Then there were various digs at certain members of the Conservative party (and their family members)!
Colourful, eccentric costumes
The costumes really were something else! Notably I loved how Fairy Bow Bells sparkled in theirs; the clever tails for Tweedy the Cat and of course the wonderful dresses for Sarah the Cook.
Of course they got us booing and cheering. The shouting out to Tweedy when he came on stage. Of course having things we could join in with – such as the games and encouraging Tweedy to get the audience member with the pie foam! But also the adaptation of things we know – such as “We are Going on A Rat Hunt” – so it was easy for us to sing along!
The props, lighting effects and scenery were fantastic. Particularly for me the use of video at the start, the on board the ship and the switch between scenes. The later also had some good gags to help these along. For instance saying that audience member Dan was only brought up so that they could change the scenes.
Singing and Dancing
The singing and dancing was fantastic. With some complicated and impressive moves and fantastic choreography, it was clear to see that they are professional dancers. It would come as no surprise considering that some of the Ensemble have credits to their names such as Core Barbie and Dancer in Barbie (2023) and Dancer for Dua Lipa and Camila Cabello and finalist in So You Think You Can Dance – just to name a couple!
Besides I am always impressed when they dance in stiletto type heels as opposed to flats!
Of course the music and sound effects were also brilliant.
Of course there’s always the local links. Dick Whittington is Gloucestershire based, but there was mentions of Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Stroud to make us locals feel more at home. Not to mention particular local places too.
Conclusion of Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy
Cheltenham Everyman Theatre with itsprestigious architecture was always going to be a fantastic venue. A good mix of those on the stage and those behind the scenes made Dick Whittington and His Cat Tweedy fantastic to watch. Really enjoyable for the whole family.
We were greeted with not only Christmas décor but carol singers and “reindeer” outside. These were the ponies from St James City Farm & Riding School, one of the Panto’s charities. Adding to the fact that a Panto really does help get everyone into the spirit of Christmas.
Cheltenham Everyman Theatre does a great job of being inclusive for all. This is not only reflected in their additional performances (see below) but in the balance of the cast (in terms of gender, sexuality and race).
Running Now Until Sunday 8th January 2023
- AUDIO DESCRIPTION: on Friday 16th December at 2pm
- BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: on Monday 2nd January at 2pm
- RELAXED PERFORMANCES: on Wednesday 4th January at 10.30am and 4.30pm.
Everyman Theatre are raising £20,000 to donate to their pantomime charities St James City Farm & Riding School and Scrubditch Care Farm. For more information and to make a donation click here. https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/dickwhittingtoncharitywalk2022?invite=true
Investec – Panto Sponsor and Principal Partner of The Everyman Theatre
With thanks to: Rotary club of Cheltenham North, Queens Hotel, Hotel du Vin, Superdry, National Star College, Giffords Circus, Dunkertons Cider, The Antique Barn, Cheeseworks, Mark Blake Hair, CakeAlchemist, Bill’s Restaurant, Sky Williams, Miranda Cameron, Lucy Reed and Oops a daisy!
Opening in October 1891, Everyman Theatre is a theatre based in Regent Street, Cheltenham. There are two audtoria in the building – the 675 seat main auditorium and the 60 seat Studio Theatre, originally named The Ralph Richardson Studio after Ralph Richardson.
Address: 7, Everyman Theatre, 10 Regent St, Cheltenham GL50 1HQ
Box Office: https://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/box-office/