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Dick Whittington is on stage at Salisbury Playhouse until 7th January





BIG, bright and brilliantly festive, panto season has begun at Salisbury Playhouse, and this year’s show Dick Whittington – is an absolute Christmas cracker!

Written for the venue by last year’s award winning team Clare Plested, Adam Brown and Amanda Wilsher, the production was packed with local references, topical jokes and plenty of cheeky adult humour (cleverly written to sail straight over the heads of younger watchers).

Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse David Rumelle and Company. Photo: The Other Richard
Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse David Rumelle and Company. Photo: The Other Richard

Salisbury Playhouse is a lovely venue and the cast did an excellent job in engaging with the audience, frequently dancing off stage and out into the aisles to ensure viewers really felt like part of the show. Scenery and costumes were lavish but modern in design, with many of the characters donning brilliant cartoon like wigs that certainly made the show highly appealing to younger viewers.

Set in the modern day, the story took elements of the classic fairytale, whilst introducing 21st century themes and a humourous and topical narrative. Hits were plentiful including nods to The Prodigy’s Out of Space, The Proclaimers I’m Gonna Be and The Beach Boys Surfing USA, played out with beautifully choreographed dance routines.

Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse photo: The Other Richard
Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse photo: The Other Richard

The story follows young Dick Whittington (Will Carey) a jovial chap who adores his home town of Salisburyshire. However, he decides it could do with a bit of sprucing up and in a bid for inspiration he sets of with his loyal cat Cosmo (Lindo Shinda) on a journey to London where the streets are supposedly paved with gold!

However, his dreams of city living quickly become a nightmare when he discovers the Capital is overrun by pesky rodents who are doing the dirty work of the dastardly King Rat. Will Jennings, who played the (King) Percy Rat – or P.Rat for short – was the absolute star of the show for me (and my 6-year-old-son), with razor sharp wit, hilarious dance moves and brilliant mannerisms which made him a villain you just had to love!

With London failing to live up to it promise, Dick finds a job working at the struggling Mama’s Café owned by Alderman Fitzwarren (Hugh Osborne) and before long falls head over heels in love with Alice played by the lovely Olivia Hewitt-Jones.

Making her professional debut in the show Olivia, had the chance for a quick chat pre-curtain up, when she revealed the tight-knit cast had spent over a month in rehearsals. She said: “It’s been a real privileged to to take our time and build the relationships between our characters. It a wonderful show and we are all very proud of it.”

Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse Will Carey and Olivia Hewitt-Jones Photo: The Other Richard
Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse Will Carey and Olivia Hewitt-Jones Photo: The Other Richard

David Rumelle delivered plenty of the slapstick humour as panto dame Sarah the Cook, and Natalie Winsor was a delight as the feisty Fairy Bowbells.

With a stellar cast, plenty of slap stick humour and innuendo, an array of sing along hits, and brilliant scenery and costumes, Dick Whittington had all the magic ingredients for a smashing Christmas show.

Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse David Rumelle. Photo: The Other Richard
Dick Whittington at Salisbury Playhouse David Rumelle. Photo: The Other Richard

But it wasn’t just me that loved it – the production was definitely a hit with the children in the audience, including my own two, who were utterly engaged, shouting out, singing along, clapping, dancing and booing throughout.

Dick Whittington is on stage until 7th January. For tickets see https://www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk



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