REVIEW | Dick Whittington at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

The beginning of the most wonderful time of the year can differ from person to person. For some, it’s putting up the decorations, or maybe it’s donning your ugliest Christmas jumper. But for a vast majority, nothing quite says Christmas like a classic panto.

And in a week where the country is preparing to vote for its next PM, it’s safe to say that we all needed a little something to take the weight of politics and Christmas chores off our shoulders.

Enter Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s 2019 panto, Dick Whittington, stage right!

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an Adams as Sarah the Cook and Aaron James as Idle Jack. Credit: Tim Thursfield – Express & Star

Creating the recipe for a perfect panto is something that takes great skill. You need to have the kids hooked by the get-go, while finding ways to keep parents, grandparents, aunties etc entertained with clever jokes that will skim over the heads of delighted children who are, more often than not, left enamoured with what’s unfolding on stage right before their very eyes – and this year’s performance certainly packed a punch.

With a cast including Hi-de-Hi!’s Su Pollard (Queen Rat) and Jeffrey Holland, Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas (Dick Whittington), and the return of panto Dame, Ian Adams for the fourth year, it gave The Grand a chance to sparkle with a blend of quick-witted jokes, spectacular visual effects and even a special appearance from panto legend, Jimmy Tarbuck. Monday evening’s press night was a particularly special evening for the theatre too, as it was toasting to 125 years of unforgettable performances.

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Jordan Ginger as Tommy the Cat and Ryan Thomas as Dick Whittington. Credit: Tim Thursfield – Express & Star

Plenty of humour was effortlessly sprinkled throughout the performance, with stand-out segments from Aaron James as Idle Jack, who won the adults over with his hilarious and perfectly timed Borris Johnson and Elvis impressions, while his fellow star Jordan Ginger stole the show with a fantastic and energetic performance as Tommy Tickletum. There’s also a nod to Love Island, and a good kick of football banter that’s highly encouraged by James.

A host of musical numbers tops off an evening of gags, heckles and giggles that kept my niece giggling for most of the evening as she struggled to pick her favourite part. And for me, a child’s laughter is always a seal of approval when it comes to crowd-pleasing panto.

Dick Whittington runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, January 12 2020. Click here to book your tickets now!

Disclaimer: I was gifted these tickets by Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. All views of this performance are my own unless stated otherwise.

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