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Song, dance and celebrity silliness: Dick Whittington, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre - review

By Dayna Farrington | Wolverhampton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

It is a delight for all the family - from the young ones all the way up to the grandparents in the audience.

Su Pollard and Ryan Thomas on stage for Dick Whittington at the Grand

Yes the annual Wolverhampton Grand Theatre pantomime is back and this year it's the theatre's 125th anniversary - which means double the laughs, singing, dancing and magic than ever before.

Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is!

With eyecatching sets, fabulous singing and dancing, bright and colourful costumes and a giant rat, the Grand has pulled out all the stops with its production of Dick Whittington.

It certainly doesn't disappoint.

Aaron James as Idle Jack, Ian Adams as Sarah the Cook and Jeffrey Holland as Alderman Fitzwarren

You immediately know you're back in pantoland when two stars from Hi-De-Hi! take to the stage joined by a man in drag and a star from the Corrie cobbles.

Dick Whittington is off to London to seek his fortune and find the streets that are paved with gold.

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Guided by the magical Fairy Bow Bells on an adventure that takes him to the High Seas headed for Morocco, can he outwit the evil Queen Rat, free London from her team of revolting rodents and win the beautiful Alice's hand in marriage?

First to appear is Julie Baton (last year's evil Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty) playing the fairy, who casts a magical spell to scare off the evil, yet very funny, Queen Rat played by Su Pollard.

Su Pollard stars as Queen Rat

Su is a delight as the baddie. She is scary yet amusing and provides many of the comedy moments throughout the show, prompting plenty of panto boos from the audience.

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A favourite scene is when she is joined by a giant rat which takes over the whole stage and comes out over the audience, scaring plenty of youngsters in the audience.

Su's Hi-De-Hi! co-star Walsall-born Jeffrey Holland also excels as Alderman Fitzwarren, while one scene sees Su and Jeffrey reuniting as their sitcom characters Polly and Spike.

Back for a third pantomime at the Grand is Ian Adams, this year starring as Sarah the Cook - a classic dame complete with a big wig and glam-tastic costumes including a shipwrecked outfit complete with an octopus.

Katie Marie-Carter plays Alice Fitzwarren

Comedian and celebrity impressionist Aaron James, who plays Idle Jack, provides plenty of laughs throughout with his Elvis outfits and A-Z of celebrity impressions from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Peaky Blinders.

Coronation Street star and Celebrity Big Brother winner Ryan Thomas plays the lovable title character Dick Whittington, who falls in love with Alice Fitzwarren, played by Katie Marie-Carter.

And Jordan Ginger plays the walking talking Tommy the Cat who amazes the audience with his rapping skills about being a rat catcher.

Dick Whittington is high energy and infectiously good fun from the moment the curtain goes up in act one.

There is a constant stream of local references to please all Black Country folk - including a nod to the Express & Star.

To celebrate its 125th anniversary on Monday night there was even a surprise appearance from Jimmy Tarbuck, who urged the audience to look after the theatre and "wrap it up in cotton wool" to protect it.

Dick Whittington runs until Sunday January 12.

For tickets, visit the theatre in person, call 01902 429212 or visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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