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Saturday, 18 January 2020

REVIEW: Big Dick Whittington & His Pussy at Newcastle Boulevard

Adult Panto - Big Dick Whittington & His Pussy
Newcastle Boulevard
Friday 17th January - Sunday 26th January 2020

So what do the stars of panto do when the family friendly pantos close? They appear in adult pantos! A cast of local panto stars appear in Newcastle in a very funny show that is aimed at broadminded adults. So, is it time to leave the kids at home and head off to the panto? We think so.

South Shield’s Stephen Sullivan, fresh from panto in Bolton, kicked proceedings off as the evil King Rat. He helps to quickly set the tone for the show as the audience. Boulevard favourite Miss Rory then appears as Fairy Big Bells. Miss Rory in an adult show is very different to the character in the recent Sunderland Empire panto. Cutting quips about her fellow cast members and the audience are as much a part of the act as playing the Fairy.

Very quickly this show has the audience playing their part of the three-ringed circus. By the time of the arrival of Lewis Griffiths, as Dick, the audience are more than accept his invitation to insult him each time he appears – an act that he reciprocates. Dick is quickly joined by his travelling companion, Pussy, a role that is as much about Tom Whalley using his facial expressions as any script. Tom’s eyes actually convey as much information as you need – the Boulevard is such an intimate venue that you feel close enough to the action to spot those details.

On Dick’s travels he falls over his love interest, Alice Fitznicely, who works with her mother Dame Patsy at the local Adult Store. Opening with a vulgar song that leaves nothing to the imagination – Hazel Pude, accompanied by three dancers, continues to make the audience laugh in recognition. Naturally there is a scene in the sex shop however it is as much about the nature of what is in the parcels that derives the humour – no actual devices are on show apart from the backdrop, which is a screen that fills the rear of the stage. The funny thing is watching Dan Mawson as Dame Patsy often using lines and actions that are innocently trotted out in the Whitley Bay panto but they seem much ruder, and funnier, in this more adult context. We have watched Dan in panto over the years (we remember those Whickham shows!) and he has become a fabulous panto dame – working well at both family friendly and adult panto levels.

The use of the large screen and minimal props speeds up the action and the pace considerably.  Sometimes pantos drag as the introductions and exposition seem to take forever, resulting in the audience losing attention. This is not the case in this Tom Whalley written and directed show. Quickly the action moves on and Sullivan’s King Rat takes Alice hostage and cast chase after him about Dame Pasty’s ship “The Minge”.

Running just under the ideal two and a half hours (including interval) Big Dick Whittington & His Pussy is packed full of adult humour and we both found ourselves laughing throughout the show. With panto you cannot always tell if mistakes are intentional or genuine, the trick is having a tight professional cast that keep the action flowing. The interaction between cast members, and with the audience, bring back memories of Priscilla and are unique in their flavour to the Boulevard panto. From Miss Rory’s sneer at members of the audience through to Stephen Sullivan’s exclamation of how useful his years at drama school were, the audience is able to feel a part of the show.

The cast appear to be enjoying themselves and there were plenty of smiles on the faces of the audience at the end. Mission accomplished – this was a great evening’s entertainment as the talented cast smashed it. Just remember to leave the kids at home.

Review by Stephen Oliver

Cast & Creatives:
Fairy Big Bells - Miss Rory
Patsy Fitznicely - Dan Mawston
Alice Fitznicely - Hazel Pude
Dick - Lewis Griffiths
King Rat - Stephen Sullivan
Pussy - Tom Whalley
Dancers - Alice Charlton, Caz Sharp and Gary Walsh
Producer / Director - Liam Glendinning
Director / Author - Tom Whalley
Choreography and Graphic Design - Danni Dee

Tickets:




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