The Adventures of Dick! at Leicester Square Theatre
The Christmas panto is as quintessentially English as paper hats at Christmas dinner, awkward dancing at the annual office party and falling asleep on the sofa under a pile of Quality Street at 5pm on Christmas Day. The festive season just wouldn’t be the same without it. Returning to Leicester Square for the fifth year running, The Adventures of Dick! is a bawdy romp that’s most definitely not for children – or for the faint-hearted.
As all good pantos must, this one pits good against evil. We follow the adventures of Dick (Rhys Owen) and his lovestruck sidekick, Dave the Cat, in S’HoHo as they come up against the scheming Queen Runt and her dastardly plan to bring gentrification to the streets of London. Amongst all of the obligatory conventions – from the saucy pantomime dame to booing the baddie – this clever plot twist brings the show nicely into the modern day. As the blinging, hip-hop loving urban Queen Runt, complete with afro crown, Lucy Grainger is deliciously funny. She’s got stiff competition for best comedic performance from Rachael Born as Alice, the buxom object of Dick’s affections. Her brilliant take on the Essex accent is something to behold.
At times, the assault of crass innuendo becomes a little wearying. But the cast’s expert delivery manages to keep writer (and director) Stuart Saint’s script on just the right side of witty. The musical numbers are energetically injected into proceedings with standout songs including Love is Strange, W.O.M.A.N, and a very impressive rendition of Hero.
Saint keeps the action moving along at a rollicking pace, from Soho Village and the camp-as-Christmas Ftitznicely Club, to Hyde Park and Queen Runt’s torture chamber. And presiding over it all is the charming Paula Masterton as Fairy Bell-End. Encouraging the adult-themed audience participation, she keeps the story on track with a wave of her wand and a generous sprinkling of x-rated fairy dust.
The Adventures of Dick! is at Leicester Square Theatre from 16th until 30th December 2016, for further information or to book visit here.