Dick Whittington at The Liverpool Empire

Posted on 16 December 2015
By Chris High
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Turn again: This year’s Pantomime at The Liverpool Empire is Dick Whittington and is chocca-block full of glitz, glamour, spectacle, fizz, bangs and wallops that will have audiences laughing and clapping from first to last.

What is striking is the sheer size of the production, with sets that simply sparkle and perfectly capture the festive mood so that a comforting warmth settles in, makes itself at home and refuses to leave. Added to this are some fabulous costumes overseen by Holly Roberts who has delivered some creations that could take their place in any tin of Quality Street.

Then there is the script that’s been devised and written by Eric Potts, who also plays Sarah the Cook, which crackles with innuendo aplenty but that also sits nicely against the more cringe-worthy of jolly japes and jokes. “This is what they want,” Chris Tarrant used to scream on Tiswas and Potts has taken that ethos and run with it all the way to the bank so that the cast embrace their moments and are able to deliver time and again.

Sally Lindsay, making her Pantomime debut as Fairy Fazakerly, is clearly loving every moment of what she is being asked to do and it is something of a shame that her appearances are so few in comparison with the other characters. Kurtis Stacey – who used to play Emmerdale hunk Alex Moss – starts with a little nervousness, but soon warms to the role and knocks out some fine tunes alongside Empire Panto stalwart Leanne Campbell who, as Alice, really lets loose her inner child and simply oozes confidence at every turn. Alice and Dick’s version of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud is beautifully performed and shows that both can more than hold a tune.

But its the laughs we are here for and with Liam Mellor as the rabble rousing Idle Jack and Warren Donnelly as the nasty King Rat, giggles, ensure guffaws, boos and hisses flow along in waves of merriment that are almost ceaseless.

Yet where this pantomime really strikes a home run is in its use of technology and although it only runs for around 5 minutes, the 3D underwater sequence that comes mid way through the second half is well worth waiting for and so puts the cherry on top of the icing on top of the most satisfying of Christmas Panto cakes imaginable.

Dick Whittington
The Liverpool Empire Theatre
December 12 – January 3
Author: Eric Potts
Director: Jane Joseph
Wardrobe Mistress: Holly Roberts
Cast: Sally Lindsay, Leanne Campbell, Eric Potts, Liam Mellor, Kurtis Stacey, Warren Donnelly, Pete Price, Hayley Goold
Running Time: 2 hrs 30 min
PR Rating: ***** Paved with Gold