Dick Whittington – Bridge House Theatre, London

Reviewer: Chris Lilly

Writers and Directors: Luke Adamson and Brendan Matthews

Dick Whittington is from out of town. Dick doesn’t know the difference between Penge West and St. Pancras, but fortunately there’s a street-wise South London cat to set him right, and a trainee fairy to keep him safe. And then he meets Alice. Beautiful Alice…

A tiny stage, a talented cast of six, and some exquisite animation and projected scenery tell the seasonal story of Dick Whittington’s rise to fame and fortune from his humble beginnings in a South London chipppie, in this child-friendly pantomime at the Bridge House. The space is very small and there are only two rows of seats, so escape is hard if you want to avoid audience participation; but the young people at the Bridge House had no hesitation at all in joining in. Every member of the cast took audience suggestions in their stride and included them seamlessly in the story, even the evil Rat King, played by a suave Steve Banks channelling his inner Alan Cumming.

There is hardly anywhere to change or hide, and yet the costumes are both gorgeous and elaborate (and very nicely made, as close-up inspection proves). The scenery is all projected, and the use of animated touches on the bold backdrops is lovely. The actors are all supremely comfortable with an audience practically on stage with them, with George Lennon’s dame and Ellie Walsh’ principal boy deserving special mention for their easy, friendly, funny interaction. The eye-stretching dance-gymnastics of Sarah Louise Hughes, doubling as helpful-if-inexperienced Fairy Good, and Jack’s romantic interest Alice, are truly amazing, and employed to great comedic effect as well as being spectacular.

The recently re-opened Bridge House Theatre prides itself on engagement with the local community, and this panto is firmly located in the mean streets of Penge, but more than that, it is an easy, accessible, well-written show for a local Christmas treat. Parents will also be well entertained. Highly recommended…

Runs until 1 January 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Cheerful, charming, close.

The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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