Dick Whittington review at Garrick Theatre, Lichfield

Ben Thornton and Sam Rabone in Dick Whittington at Lichfield Garrick Theatre. Photo: Pamela Raith

The Garrick’s panto might not be the most innovative around but it boasts high production values and a fine pair of comic performances. The traditional tale is engaging and told with warmth, wit and charm, thanks in large part to the return of last year’s hit duo Sam Rabone and Ben Thornton, as Dolly the Cook and Billy.

Echoing their previous routines, the pair are especially effective during a gooey slapstick cookery session on board their storm-battered, rolling ship and they also impress the audience with a clever tongue-twister session. Their relaxed style gives the impression that they are always enjoying themselves, even though the pacing lags at times.

Other highlights of this Dick Whittington include a flying Fairy Bowbells (Katrina Bryan), a very effective underwater 3D sequence which has the audience screaming with a mixture of fear and fascination and a sea monster that virtually fills the stage.

Joanne Heywood’s Queen Rat isn’t particularly menacing and her pack of rats aren’t that scary either. On my visit, Ashley Emerson was indisposed and so Tom Strang, plucked from the ensemble, stood in as Dick Whittington and acquitted himself well.

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Some comic capers and a lively script make for an entertaining if pedestrian pantomime

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