Review : Dick Whittington Panto,Regent Theatre, Stoke

dickYou know when you get the Christmas decs out of the loft and it makes you feel all fuzzy and festive inside? I reckon seeing Jonathan Wilkes in panto at the Regent Theatre in Stoke gives you a similar buzz – it’s familiar, you know Christmas isn’t far away and you’re in for a treat!

This year’s festive serving of Dick Whittington sees the Stokie hero return alongside Christian Patterson, playing Sarah the Cook – and as in recent year’s when the two have been paired on stage, they look like they’re having the time of their lives!

The two bounce off each – the hardest part of their job appears to be fighting the urge to collapse in fits of laughter every five minutes. And for the audience, this kind of enjoyment and hilarity is infectious.

The show is fun-filled from start to finish, with some fabulous singing courtesy not just of Jonathan, but his leading lady, Louise Dearman, fresh from the West End. ┬áIt’s plain to see what made her such a hit in the musical Wicked.

Kai Owen of Torchwood fame, puts in a solid performance and keeps the boos coming as panto baddie King Rat, and it’s fair to say it’s a terrifically hard-working cast all round, with plenty of action from start to finish.

I enjoyed the introduction of a big screen this year, which brought some filmed footage into the production, and a really funny and touching look at some of Stoke’s most famous and loved characters.

But the highlight for me, as in previous years, has to be the adaptation of the 12 days of Christmas, which sees Dick, Sarah and the Mayor desperately rushing about the stage as they sing about bowls of lobby and oatcakes, and bring in some fantastic audience participation.

It’s a blast – go and see it before, like the decorations, it gets packed away for another year! You have until Sunday, January 4.