Review: Dick Whittington at Windsor
Boom boom! Filthy family fun at the Theatre Royal as Basil Brush and his panto crew prove post Brexit Windsor's streets are paved with comedy gold.
The kids were dancing to ABBA, grandparents were throwing shapes to Baby Shark, and everyone was belting out ‘Five Golllllld Riiiiiiiings’ in between lots and lots of hysterical laughter. It can only be panto, and a brilliant one at that. Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal Windsor feels as warm and cosy as my favourite pair of bedsocks, packed full of pop songs, politics and cheesy comedy.
The staging and costumes were both excellent – the dame’s outfits became more and more outrageous. Sarah the Cook certainly made in entrance wearing two plastic colanders for a bra – even a Wonderbra can’t create those curves – culminating into his Big Ben party frock. Ding Dong. By far my favourite was his mermaid ensemble which had a hint of Daryl Hannah in Splash and Grotbags. Steven’s in his 10th year as Windsor’s panto dame. ‘I’m as hard to get rid of as Theresa May,’ he says. I suspect he’ll cling on longer than the Prime Minister.
Not the only newsy reference – and we covered a lot of ground: Brexit, Jermey Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Primark in Bracknell, a slight on Slough, genetically modified food (‘last night I had the best leg of salmon!’), the Spice Girls Reunion, I’m A Celebrity and more.
As with almost every panto I go to, one half is always slightly better than the other. The first was a little slow until Kevin Cruise disappeared through the trap door and popped up in a cloud of smoke for a brilliant Abba moment as he was joined by the cutest mini Agnetha, Anni-Frid, and Benny. Teasing us for a a magnificent second half – the ‘toilet-roll’ spin on the annual 12 Days of Christmas (you need to see it to understand but trust me, you will laugh) and Anita Harris’s version of Michael Jackson’s Bad were superb.
Other than that, I’m utterly devoted to the Theatre Royal panto, and the thrill of seeing all ages howling with laughter, shouting and dancing. If you haven’t already booked your panto, this one’s a banker.
Dick Whittington is on at the Theatre Royal Windsor until Sun 6 Jan. Anne Hegerty will appear as Queen Rat and Anita Harris as Fairy Bowbell from Mon 16 Dec.