Review: Dick Whittington and the PiRats of the Caribbean at the Rugeley Rose Theatre, Rugeley

Writer & Director: Richard Cheshire

While this Pantomime by Sunshine Productions is small, it sure is mighty. It contains all the elements of a great pantomime and more besides. With its lovable characters,  funny jokes and enjoyable script, it’s a joy to watch.

Dick Whittington is one of the most popular pantomimes produced in Theatre up and down the country. The story of  young Richard Whittington and his Cat and their journey to find fortune in the city of London. This new production, directed and written by Richard Cheshire has a twist part way through that ensures it remains gripping and entertaining. The addition of the PiRats keeps it engaging and also fresh. While this new script is engaging to watch, it certainly doesn’t lack in humor with plenty of jokes and slapstick to keep even the most avid panto fan amused.

Cheshire uses the intimate setting of the Rugeley Rose to his advantage when directing to ensure each one of the audience members fully immerse themselves in this world by giving them a key role in the concluding moments. This works well and it’s positive to see all audience members, no matter their age taking part.

The cast are what makes this production sparkle. While their abilities did vary, many of them could easily be picked up to reprise their roles on a much larger scale.  Tom Sherman is a triumphant Sally the Cook. His quick whit works well when interacting with the audience both old and new and his natural comic timing and humor  makes him a great pantomime dame. Marcus Dobson as Idle Jack throws himself fully into the role and his improvisation skills and ability to move a scene along, even when things aren’t going to plan should be applauded.  Alex Neil makes a great addition to the cast as  King Rat, his stage presence grips the audience from the opening moments and maintains it throughout. Lynne Baker also adds a loving and sense of warmth to the stage as Fairy Bow Bells

Little mishaps with lines were quickly forgot about and where things went wrong the cast managed to keep things moving and use them to their advantage. With an upbeat musical  score, a script full of twists and turns and some great cast members this is a great example of what a medium scale panto should be.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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