The principal boy is played by a girl, the dame is played by a boy and there’s many a nursery rhyme surprise, gloriously camp costumes, animal anthropomorphism and buckets of audience interaction. There’s a live band singing and playing, the hits from the charts of yesteryear. All that can only mean one thing… it’s panto time and Middle Child’s Dick Whittington at Fruit 17 – 29 December (directed by Paul Smith) is fast pulling in the punters, for a slice of festive fun and frivolity.
How can an audience of grown-ups have so much fun screaming, ‘It’s behind you,’ as a hapless hero fails again and again, to catch the culprit in the act?
Yet each year we buy into it wholeheartedly…and it works so much better for all concerned if we do. The pantomime relies so heavily on the audience, because let’s face it, whether it’s Dick or Mother Goose, or Sleeping Beauty, we aren’t there for the intricacies of the story… we’re there for a bit of good old-fashioned silliness, sprinkled with fairy dust. Middle Child bring the magic and more, with their alternative retelling of Dick Whittington.
Written by Tom Wells of Witherensea, the script is overflowing with local references, good-natured jibes and tongue in cheek swipes at the pompous and self-important. There’s a wonderfully surreal moment in the second half where all seems lost and salvation arrives in the form of…. now that would be telling wouldn’t it boys and girls… And just wait until you see what’s lurking at the middle of the…
It’s a good old battle of good versus evil: purity and innocence versus wickedness and cruelty. Boo! Hiss! Why is it then, that you always find yourself rooting for the baddie?
Everyone loves a good baddie and in Alice Beaumont’s ‘Queen Rat’, Middle Child have the best. Set in London she is vowing to become the next Mayor and banish all the people to live in the sewers, while she and her dastardly rats, live topside. The hero Dick (played by Emma Bright), fresh from Hull to seek his fortune has to defeat her and save the day, along with the help of all the new friends, he will meet along the way – including the outrageous Baps (Marc Graham) and the cutest and most sullen Cat (James Stanyer) you ever did see… a pretty little thing called Sooz (Sophie Clay) who works in the bakery, and Josie Morley, a goofy good fairy called Bauble. Oh and a bunch of other stuff has to happen too, otherwise it wouldn’t fill the two hours.
Brilliantly funny, with matinees for the little ones, early evening shows for all the family and late-late adult showings, for the ‘big kids’.
Go and see Dick Whittington by Middle Child at Fruit this year, its full of fun, invention and surprises with a great cast, and will have you in fits of laughter throughout.
And if all that wasn’t enough there’s a collection for charity as the company show their commitment to local causes, raising money for Hull refugees and The Warren.
Oh and the generosity shown during the local crowd funding for the show, means that the ticket prices are affordable for low-income families… and on top of all that Middle Child have been able to give away 200 free tickets to local charities.
Don’t they just make you sick! Merry Christmas Everyone!
Tickets Available from Box Office Here
But do Hurry… shows are selling fast!
All photos by Sarah Beth Photography