THE Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch rarely settles for the ordinary in its productions and this year’s pantomime, Dick Whittington, is no exception.
Written by accomplished actor, director and author Nicholas Pegg, the traditional story takes on a new twist with the theatre’s own innovative Cut to the Chase… acting company, taking us to a mythical Mediterranean island as well as the heart of London.
It would be unfair to say the show’s impressive scenery, stage trickery and special effects outshine a super cast but you will certainly be left amazed by what you see – and how you see it!
Of course the real star of the show is the Dame, and the return of Simon Jessop to his annual dressing up role – and boy can he dress up in comic style – is everything that we have come to expect from this accomplished performer.
As Sarah the Cook he delights the kids but wows the adult audience with a string of asides, though some are a tad too clever for their own good.
Try answering your 10-year-old when he asks why it’s funny that Alderman Fitzwarren is delighted because he’ s got a golden helmet…
One of the features of this show is the singing. No pop tunes here, but well scripted songs, though one failing is that the ensemble numbers are a little difficult to hear. However, the individual performers shine, especially the clear vocal tones of Alison Thea-Skot and Sarah Scowen as Dick and Alice respectively.
Elliot Harper holds it all together as Idle Jack and the other adult cast members Lauren Brown (Fairy Bow Bells), Sam Pay (Alderman Fitzwarren) and Samuel Ward-Smith (King Rat) play their parts with appropriate vim and vigour. And, of course, there’s Dick’s mate Tommy the Cat, portrayed with fantastic feline feeling by Sam Kordbacheh.
It’s purrfectly cast and accompanied by a fine band of musicians and if you’re looking for a panto to push the boundaries but still has its roots in tradition, the Queen’s at Hornchurch is the place to be.
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Running to: 11 January
Box Office: 01708 443333