Pantomime is always a huge amount of fun for any creative team to work on and Dick Whittington is a sparkling example of this. Oldham’s talented team of familiar faces are back to showcase all of the traditional and hilarious elements of pantomime. Packed with audience interaction, messy slapstick, some cheeky jokes for the adults and sweets for the kiddies – there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy this Christmas.
Following the simple story of a young man from Oldham who travels South to seek his fortune. Driven by the belief that the streets of London are paved with gold, Dick soon finds out that they are overrun with rats but tries to make the best of it when he meets Alice, the daughter of bumbling Alderman Fitzwarren. It’s a super tale for a Northern audience.
Oldham Coliseum’s auditorium is the perfect size for pantomime too – with audience participation at its core, everyone has the opportunity to be part of the action. There’s plenty of opportunities for the children to shout out, sing along and interact with the friendly cast. And designer Celia Perkins’ stage and costume design is always a highlight – with a set that looks as though it has been peeled from the pages of a children’s picture-book, providing a perfect backdrop for magic and mayhem to ensue. The dame’s costumes are fabulously food-themed this year too and many of them architectural showpieces in their own right.
This pantomime is written in-house by director Kevin Shaw and panto dame Fine Time Fontayne, which means that it is packed with current chart hits and littered with gags relevant to popular culture. There’s a real sense of Christmas cheer here, no Krankies and a pleasing price tag.