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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Dick Whittington

Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead

December 21 – January 13

Author: David Lee
Director: David Lee
Producer: Pantoni Pantomimes
Cast includes: Louis Emerick, Nigel Harvey, Ruth Carr, Karl Lornie, Roy Brandon, Julia Main
Running time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Image: Dick Whittington Promotional Poster

With New Brighton’s famous Floral Pavilion currently being rebuilt, The Pacific Road Arts Centre has stepped dutifully into the breach to stage Wirral’s pantomime for this year and, despite the temporary facilities for such events, pulls it off really well.

Louis Emerick, best known for playing Mick Johnson in Brookeside and Mike Bateman in Casualty, is delightfully nasty as King Rat, using the theatre’s side balconies to full effect to throw out belly laughs of such devilish intensity children could be seen to flinch before hitting back with their full blown – and heartfelt – boos.

On the ‘Good’ side of the room, Rat is delightfully and cheekily mirrored by Ruth Carr, The Fairy Bow Bells, who contradicts Emerick’s foulness with rhyming put downs that are as delightfully simple to follow as they are skilfully written.

Ventriloquist, Nigel Harvey, with his two helpers, Ben and Sox, provide a fun and effective dimension that go down a storm, whereas Karl Lornie and Julia Main – Dick and Alice respectively – both have singing abilities that are a joy to listen to, although there are a lot of ballads that slow pace a little too much.

To counteract this, Wirral’s own Roy Brandon could hardly be a better choice to provide the hilarity and as Sarah the Cook, he does so with great style and energy.

The sets are beautifully designed, the costumes stunning and the Pacific Road – a purpose built concert and exhibition centre – provides easily the best acoustics in the region and so make this production of Dick Whittington one of the best pantomimes around.

Chris High

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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