Dick Whittington, Middlesbrough Theatre

THE festive season got off to a great start at Middlesbrough Theatre with this year’s pantomime Dick Whittington playing to rapturous applause and cheers.

Todd Carty, of Eastenders and Grange Hill fame, was joined on stage by a talented cast of singers, dancers and actors, to bring one of the lesser-known fairytales to life in this polished and energetic production telling the tale of Dick’s travels to find fame and fortune in London and his exploits along the way.

There were no weak links in this fun-packed Christmas panto as everyone from the brilliant funnyman Philip Green, who plays Idle Jack, to the perfectly in-sync dancers, brought the stage alive and had the audience eating out of their hands.

As we have come to expect with Middlesbrough Theatre’s panto, the costumes and sets are outstanding as Extravaganza Productions go the extra mile to ensure a first class show is delivered.

But as always, it is the people on the stage who really have the audience baying for more, along with clever scenes and music, such as this year’s dancing fish under the ocean.

Carty made an excellent panto villain, King Rat, while Green, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013, can turn his hand to anything, with an array of impressions, jokes, contortions and dance moves to win the audience over and make them hoarse with enthusiastic participation.

However, special mention also has to go to the talented Ian Mowat, playing “gorgeous” Dame Sarah Suet, who in an array of marvellous costumes and gaudy heels, owned the stage.

The cast worked seamlessly from start to finish and had so much fun it would have been easy to believe they were at the end of the panto run – not the beginning.

I think it’s far easier to tell the well-known fairytales, such as Snow White and Cinderella, when extravagant scenes and princesses are aplenty, however, the lesser-known tales can also have the wow factor with the right production and people, as Middlesbrough Theatre has proved this Christmas.

As someone who has enjoyed panto at this delightful theatre for more years than I care to admit to, this year’s offering is a great success. Get tickets; you won’t be disappointed!

Karen Westcott

Runs until Sunday, January 6, 2019

For tickets and information, call the box office on 01642-815181 or visit the website here