Writer: Kevin Fearon
Director: Mark Chatterton
It’s getting closer to Christmas in Liverpool and that can mean only one thing, the Royal Court are back with their annual Scouse panto. It is everything you would expect and more, innuendo-filled, hilarious, chaotic and bizarre, it’s The Scouse Dick Whittington. Unlike with most pantos across the country you’ll want to leave the kids at home for this one! The production is as foul-mouthed and dirty as you can expect when the titular character has a name like Dick Head (A spirited performance from Adam McCoy). It also marks the return of Mark Chatterton to the city – best known perhaps as one-half of the writing team and director of the Everyman Panto for many a year!
Our story finds us in Liverpool where the villainous King Rat (played with villainous hilarity by Andrew Schofield) with the help of his Ratettes, is attempting to kill all of the cats in Liverpool in a scheme to become Mayor and destroy the city. There is a hitch in his dastardly plan when prior Mayor, Bradley Fitzwarren (Liam Tobin in hilariously fine form) and his daughter Alice (Hayley Sheen) try to help Dick Head become Mayor instead. Alice, Dick, and his acerbic friend Cat (Jamie Clark) head off on an increasingly comical and outlandish journey to find the Fitzwarren treasure. On their adventure they come across many weird and wonderful scenarios and characters including Keddy Sutton (appearing via video) as jolly as ever in the returning role of Mayor Joe, a character who never fails to produce a chorus of laughter from the audience. You may find yourself in the audience asking yourself where the chaos will go next, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, it does!
There are some truly creative and unexpected moments in this show and it is fast-paced and peppered with pop culture references and humour throughout. The cast all give strong performances but special mention must be given to Lindzi Germain as Holly Head and Mrs Mozart (yes that Mozart) who’s presence on stage always brings the energy to the next level. Clark and Sheen also deserve a mention for their stunning as-ever vocal performances which are perfectly underpinned by the on-stage band whose presence is welcome throughout. Under the musical directorship of Howard Gray there are some great musical numbers throughout the show. However, some of the song choices seem a little strange and out of place, failing to drive the story onward.
The Scouse Dick Whittington utilises the revolving stage very effectively, incorporating it really well into the story and gags. However, Olivia Du Monceau’s set design is perhaps a bit more understated than it has been in previous years, and missing that wow factor audiences have come to expect.
Overall, The Scouse Dick Whittington is an energy-packed and fun few hours, filled with laughter, surprise, and chaos.
Runs until 20 Jan 2024