• Dress Circle Reviews

Dick - Adult Panto


(L-R) Rachel Warrick-Clarke as Fanny Fitznicely, Jack Marshall as Dick, Paul Toulson as Dame Dixie Normous Fitznicely (photo credit Ingrid Weel)

Rating: 3 Star


Clichés often become so because they are hinged on truth and in that vein we say: If ever there was a time for Christmas cheer this most certainly is it. While many theatres around the country are forced to close their doors and with them, close the traditional Christmas panto it’s great to see so many companies moving shows online so we can still get some laughs and escapism in this difficult time.


And so it was that we headed off to the sofa with a bottle of wine to settle in for the evening watching the Guildford Fringe’s adult Panto, Dick. This is actually their second adult panto of the season with Pinocchio Gets Wood being streamed in September (see our review here)


By now everyone should be fully aware of what you’re going to get with an adult panto and this didn’t disappoint, with a great combination of current political jokes, upbeat songs and more than a splash of smut. The performance we saw was being performed to an in-person audience as well as the stream and it was great being able to hear the socially-distanced audience’s live reaction as this really helped bring it to life and feel more involved.


We were happy to see Rachel Warrick-Clarke back having loved her performance as the fairy godmother in Pinocchio Gets Wood, this time taking on the role of the Dame’s daughter Fanny. She again proved her prowess as a comedic actor with perfect timing and hilarious expressions. Opposite Rachel’s Fanny was Jack Marshall’s Dick. He imbued the role with a sense of naivety and innocence (a tall order with the jokes he told) and also brought with him a wonderful sense of comedic timing, perfectly complementing Rachel. But we were especially impressed with his strong singing making the musical numbers a particular treat.


But it was slightly let down by the story. Pantos usually have a silly story and you can laugh at the absurdity but the ending in this seemed rushed and a little confused so we weren’t entirely sure what had happened. This was exacerbated by the fact the stream had some sound issues towards the end which hopefully will be cleared up for future streams. And in contrast to other Pantos the dame in this production seemed much more like an afterthought and had a very small role to play. While the role was played well there were many missed opportunities to pull out more comedy.


But you see the cast having a great time and getting the audience involved, most notably during the best rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas we’ve ever seen. It was a fun back to basics panto leaving the audience happy and certainly wanting more.


A few days ago we were being told that London was heading to tier 3 and with it a large number of the country’s theatres would be added to the list of closed theatres. This Guildford Fringe production looked to have escaped that fate but it wasn’t to be. We had hoped to be telling you now about seeing it in person but they have now performed their last in person performance. But you can still see it on live stream, so get tickets here https://www.guildfordfringe.com/events-archive/adult-panto-2020/


However, if you are looking for an in person show and are lucky enough to be in Tier 2 (or even 1) they are still doing their family panto Beauty and the Beast live in Godalming so head here for tickets https://www.guildfordfringe.com/events-archive/beauty-and-the-beast/


Olivia Rooks as Queen Rat (photo credit Ingrid Weel)

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