Writer: Christian Patterson
Director: Zoe Waterman
Reviewers: Clare Howdon
Theatre Clwyd’s annual ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Panto is fast becoming a stalwart feature of many Flintshire family’s calendars and after having had the pleasure of experiencing Dick Whittington on a rainy Saturday evening, it isn’t difficult to see why. Not only is Christian Patterson’s take on this classic tale raucously entertaining, but Zoe Waterman’s slick direction and Adrian Gee’s stunning set design makes this production feel like a cut above your average Christmas pantomime.
Patterson and Waterman both tread the line perfectly between inserting enough originality into the proceedings to make the show feel fresh whilst also ensuring that neither the script nor production tampers too much with the classic ingredients of a festive panto. There is an abundance of ear-busting songs, cheesy dance routines and live music and the immensely talented cast of actor-musicians ensures that these are all delivered with aplomb throughout.
Peter Mooney plays protagonist Dick assuredly, striking up a warm and natural rapport with his audience immediately. Toby Falla is delightful as Dick’s feline chum Tommy whilst Emmy Stonelake radiates Christmas cheer throughout as Alice Fitzwarren. No good pantomime would be complete without a dame and veteran Clwyd performer Phylip Harries gives an effortlessly comedic performance as Sarah the Cook. However, it is Royce Cronin and Daniel Lloyd that really impress as King Rhydian the Rat and Wally Fitzwarren. Cronin’s ‘Matt Berry’ inspired King Rat is charmingly understated whilst Lloyd’s comic timing is impeccable. Both also must be commended for their outstanding vocal and musical abilities.
There were, as expected, a plethora of local in-jokes and topical quips throughout the evening and there are no prizes for guessing that the majority of these centred around Donald Trump and Brexit. There were also, quite predictably, many a ‘grown-up’ joke concerning the hero’s first name, but whilst these jokes were as old as time itself, they never felt overtly contrived and were, from the wealth of laughter emanating from the packed-out auditorium, genuinely funny.
Patterson’s script knows exactly what it’s doing and, as ever, the immensely talented cast at Theatre Clwyd all play their parts to perfection. Add to this mix a captivating set and an infectious musical score and the result is a roaringly successful evening of festive fun.
Runs until 19 January 2019 | Image: Contributed