Oh no she didn’t! Oh yes she did! This year’s Christmas Pantomime at the Mayflower Theatre* is Dick Whittington and it’s a real cracker, full of innuendo and proper belly laughs!
I joined the Southampton Bloggers for an evening of festive fun, here’s a review of the show and my experience.
It’s honestly the best Pantomime I’ve ever seen and if you can still get a ticket it’s worth it!
With a star studded cast and endless silly jokes it’s really put me in the festive mood, and I needed a bit of a nudge in the right direction. I wasn’t feeling that festive in fact I’d almost go as far to say that I was feeling a little bogged down by my lack of Christmas feeling and preparations. But, this show is something else and I’d easily say it’s the best one I’ve ever seen. It was just the night off from all my normal commitments that I needed and it has plunged me head first into seasonal shenanigans and I’m feeling really Christmassy now!
I mean pantomime is just so British, isn’t it? Jokes with double meaning for kids and adults, slapstick humour, audience participation and a man dressed as a dame – does anywhere else in the world have this tradition? In theory this isn’t my bag but, I can’t help but find it charming – it’s a bit of silliness and the perfect distraction from the festive madness. I have a real soft spot for a Christmas panto.
This year the Mayflower has put on a brilliant show and we join hero Dick Whittington (Joe McElderry) as he seeks fame, fortune and happiness on his mission to become the Lord Mayor of London.
He doesn’t do it alone though and magical Fairy Bow Bells (Sheila Ferguson) guides him through a whirlwind adventure that sees him go from London town to the High Seas headed for Morocco.
Along the way he faces challenges from the evil King Rat (Steve McFadden aka only the one and only Phil Mitchell from Eastenders) and love in the form of beautiful Alice (Suzanne Shaw). But does he slay the rodents and win Alice’s hand in marriage? …Well, that would ruin the whole thing, you’ll have to book a ticket and see!
The show is spectacular and has a finesse that only the Mayflower can produce year after year. The new interior, a rich red colour, also lends itself to a more magical experience at this beautiful and beloved local theatre.
The cast were stellar and complemented each other so well, they picked each other up, laughed with each other and improvised. It looked liked they’d been working together for years.
Bobby Davro, who played Idle Jack, was so funny, like belly laugh, tears falling from my face funny, and his impressions and impeccable timing really stole the show. He did a lot of musical comedy and impressions and even saved the day when Suzanne Shaw slipped and flew across the stage.
After checking she was ok he rushed over with some electric eels (the scene was under water- probably a bit too hard to explain and I don’t want to ruin the show!) and pretended to resuscitate her with them. Such professionalism was impressive and had the crowd howling. Suzanne, I hope you are ok, you carried on so well!
Andrew Ryan, Sarah the cook, was the stand out performance of the show for me and I couldn’t help but love his fast wit, elaborate costumes and silly humour. He was a total treat and the ultimate panto dame. I know that if I saw that he was in a show in the future that I’d book it without even thinking about it. You wouldn’t want to see anyone else as a Dame – he’s that good! My favourite costume of his was the Marmite one, if you go to the show look out for it as it’s incredible and read what it says on the front. His wardrobe was superb – the number of costume changes was phenomenal and I couldn’t list all the dresses if I tried!
I was thrilled to see Sheila Ferguson whose voice was silky smooth – my Mum played me her records (yes, vinyl!) when I was younger and I have a big love of all things soul so this was just such a treat for me.
Suzanne Shaw surprised me with her beautiful voice too. I really liked Suzanne, there were some big characters and names on stage and I feel like she was the sneaky underdog just shining in her role.
Joe McElderry transported me back to nights with my uni mates watching X-Factor, his voice is just like it was on TV and he made for a perky Dick Whittington. A nod must go to his third wheel of a side-kick cat, Josh Baker, who played Kitty Kat – so many back flips!
I had two favourite parts of the show, the first was the song the 12 days of Christmas, it was over the top and it looked like the cast were just having the best time. The second is the music joke, it commanded real timing and pace and the songs picked were so fitting for the scene. I don’t want to go into too much detail as it would ruin the show but, if you see it, keep an eye out for these two key comedy scenes.
I must add in about how great the costumes were too, the ones that caught my eye the most were the Katy Perry inspired candy dressed and the ridiculous feather hats Joe McElderry has to wear!
Oh and don’t get me started on the special effects, wow, just wow! Qdos Entertainment Group the company behind the show and The Twins FX who did the visual special effects totally blew me away with the entire production and effects. I really don’t want to ruin the show but there’s some absolutely huge special effects, illusions and animatronics. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so jaw-droppingly awesome.
I came away from the show totally enthralled and feeling festive after a night of total escapism and a lot of laughs. I loved every minute. Thanks so much to Mayflower Theatre* for inviting me to review it and to the Southampton Bloggers for putting my name forward for consideration.
The Mayflower has really surpassed itself and if you can get a ticket I’d urge you to get one and spend an evening adding some festive frivolities into your life!
FYI for adults worried it might be a long evening to please the kids….
You could not be more wrong, banish that thought, get a ticket and enjoy the show. The annual Mayflower Theatre Pantomime is a bit of a tradition in our family. My Mum religiously took me when I was growing up but, I’ve had a bit of a break from this British tradition over the past couple of years as I’ve been travelling. I was a bit worried that I might not appreciate it now I’m a little older but I need not have worried as it was jam-packed full of jokes for both adults and children. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this years show as it was just the ticket to help me feel more festive.
*Gifted Press Tickets – however all opinions are my own otherwise what’s the point?!
I adored this show so thank you Mayflower for this festive treat and thanks to Southampton Bloggers for suggesting me for this opportunity.