Bold, Brash and Bright - Just Right; CATHERINE JONES REVIEWS THE COLOURFUL PANTO, DICK WHITTINGTON, AT THE LIVERPOOL EMPIRE

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), December 17, 2015 | Go to article overview

Bold, Brash and Bright - Just Right; CATHERINE JONES REVIEWS THE COLOURFUL PANTO, DICK WHITTINGTON, AT THE LIVERPOOL EMPIRE


IT'S the biggest theatre in Merseyside, and unsurprisingly, the Empire always boasts the biggest panto, too.

Biggest, brightest, boldest - and this year possibly one of the snappiest, to boot.

Admit it. Sometimes panto, a theatrical form quixotically designed for an audience which has a short (sugar-saturated) attention span, can drift way beyond the first star on the left and on until morning.

Ken Dodd himself would flag.

Not here, though. Writer/performer Eric Potts, and director Jane Joseph, have created a super-snappy show which trots in at less than an hour each way, plus halftime oranges.

Even the slapstick routine and audience participation, which tend to traditionally pad out the second half, are kept brisk and relatively brief.

Admittedly, the Dick Whittington plot is as thin as a wafer-thin mint.

The eponymous penniless youth (played by the strapping former Emmerdale actor Kurtis Stacey) and his cat Tommy - limber gymnast/performer Hayley Goold under the fur - arrive in Liverpool from Manchester, hoping the Scouse streets will be paved with gold.

They fetch up at the "shilling" store owned by Alderman Fitzwarren (Pete Price), and run by his charming daughter Alice (Leanne Campbell) and an assortment of oddball employees.

Liam Mellor is helium-voiced crowd whipper-upper Idle Jack, and Potts, a panto dame of some renown who has penned most of the UK's major Christmas shows this season, is Sarah the Cook. …

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