Review: Dick Whittington, Buxton Opera House

Silly, saucy and sparkling – what more could you want from a family pantomime? Buxton’s Dick Whittington is unmissable Christmas fun and utterly delightful.

My morning at the Opera House has been filled with laughter, clapping, singing, cheers and boos from children with faces gleaming with joy.

We had Bow Bells, exploding batter, a Baywatch Babe disappearing bananas and some rather naughty sausages.

Philip Dart’s version of the traditional rags-to-riches tale has down-on-his-luck Dick, played by Matthew J Ryan, and his new found friend Tommy the Cat, played by Charley Vincent, arriving in London hoping the streets are paved with gold.  

Dick promptly fall in love with the Alderman’s beautiful daughter Alice, played by CBBC’s Gabrielle Green, but he after a few days is driven from the city having been falsely accused of stealing money from Alderman Fitzwarren, played by Alasdair Baker. 

It is Fairy Bow Bells, played by Rosie Coles, who uses her magic to persuade him to turn around and disguise himself as a sailor to get on board the Alderman’s ship in a bid to clear his name and win the hand of the one he loves.

A panto wouldn’t be a panto without a baddie and it’s the evil King Rat, played by Alistair Lee, who whips up a storm and wrecks the ship on a foreign shore. Don’t worry it all ends happily ever after obviously!

A Buxton panto wouldn’t be a Buxton panto without James Holmes as a dame and this year he dons the wacky costumes of Sarah the Cook while serving up some brilliantly corny, slightly smutty one-liners.

The set and costumes were gorgeous and the dancing, choreographed by Lily Howkins, was impeccable. 

We had corking renditions of Party Like a Russian and Bat Out of Hell from King Rat and Village People’s In The Navy and YMCA performed by the whole ensemble.

Gabrielle wooed all the young girls in the audience with her singing of Hailee Steinfield’s Most Girls and Demi Lovato’s Nightingale.

Buxton Opera House is the perfect setting for a family pantomime and a great place to treat young children to their first taste of the theatre. Don’t miss Dick Whittington  if you have some youngsters in the family and therefore an excuse to go.

It can be seen until December 30. For tickets click here.

The juvenile chorus members are Gracie Cotterill, Jamie Lea Jones, Cerys McGarry, Sasha Myronko, Dulce Pearson, Emma Scragg, Charlotte Thomas, Mia Grace Voigt, Larissa May Wallington, Amy Young, Grace Barber, Faye Bramley, Charlotte Fleur Cross, Madi Crowther, Eva Mae Ellis, Sophie Jerram, Jessica Jones, Isabel Palmer, Amber Pickering and Elizabeth Watson.

Percy the Pest Controller is played by Richard Blackman, the musical director is Adam Gerber, lighting is by Guy Dunk and sound by Terry Saunders.