We review the Hazlitt Theatre's production of Dick Whittington, starring Cerrie Burnell and Keith Jack
The cast of Dick Whittington at the Hazlitt in Maidstone
It’s not every day you see the Deputy Mayor of Maidstone with a man sitting on his lap.
But that was just one of the giggles provided by the Hazlitt Theatre in Earl Street as part of its panto season.
Christmas is all about tradition and the Earl Street show is one which locals surely have on their list to see.
With its lights, stars, music and gags, the show is guaranteed as a fun Christmas staple and Blue Genie Productions have come up with yet another which does not disappoint.
Stars Cerrie Burnell, from CBeebies, and Keith Jack, who shot to fame in the BBC’s search for Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, were familiar faces to all those in the audience for Dick Whittington and, for those who came last year, there was also a return visit for the very funny Jimmy Burton-Iles as the Dame. In his gawdy frocks, Burton-Iles , who worked the crowd well and was one of the highlights for me. Not so sure Ben in the front row would share that view.
Scriptwriters love to include jokes for the adults and this production enjoyed a number of cheeky references to the leading character’s name. I think I need say no more.
Keith Jack seemed particularly comfortable in his role – not least when he was sitting on Cllr Richard Thick’s lap in the audience – while Cerrie, as Alice Fitzwarren, seemed a little less so, but this may have been down to it being only the second performance of the show’s run. Both turned in lovely singing performances.
All the dance routines were top notch, without a foot wrong from anyone, regardless of their age or experience.
Everyone loves a good baddie and one of the biggest surprises was Kate Richards as Queen Rat, who not only had us all tittering with her singling out out of people in the audience members to tell them they were “dirty” but who also provided what was arguably the singing performance of the night to two Queen songs.
For those planning to go, a little tip – you might like to gen up, as you’ll need to know what foxes are saying at the moment, so that you can hold your own in the main audience participation bit.
The show runs until Sunday, January 5. For tickets call 01622 758611 or visit www.maidstonepanto.co.uk.
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