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Dick Whittington Review

Dick Whittington Milton KeynesThis was our fourth year of panto at MK Theatre and by now we are pretty sure we know what we are going to get...a riotous night of fun and frolics with a good dose of cheesy one liners thrown in. You know you'll laugh and cringe in equal measure, but that’s what we love about this great British tradition.

What you have no idea about year-to-year is who the cast will be and more importantly what they will be like. Will they have stage presence? Can they sing? Will they have comic timing? And most importantly will they really get into the spirit of panto (somewhat lacking in years past with certain American stars)?

This year, the first casting confirmation we received was that the amazing Kevin Orkian was back from last year starring as 'Idle Jack'. He's brilliant, commands the stage every time he comes on. His knowing looks to the audience and rapport with the kids is hilarious. The inflatable sausage scene alone had us laughing out loud and wanting more.

But he's not the big 'star' name, how would they fair? First up, X Factor star and now TV presenter Stacey Solomon. There had been some criticism over her not knowing her lines due to lack of rehearsal time (all down to some well known jungle  show in Oz) and that might of been the case, but just six shows in when we saw it, she knew every line and hit every note, so well done her.

The other star name was Samantha Womack, best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in Eastenders. She plays Queen Rat, and we must admit we were a bit unsure if this was a good fit. But she nailed it! Comic face pulling is definitely in her repertoire, the Kate Bush impression alone was genius. And we'd totally forgotten her appearance in Eurovision many years ago and boy can she hold a tune. Superb singing from her but also the rest of the cast, the Lip-Sync battle has to be seen (and heard) to be believed.

The other main cast members playing Dick, Alice, Sarah the Cook and Bosun Bill were really good, holding the whole two and a half hour show together. Without spoiling any of it, you get given 3D glasses when you go in, don't lose them...it’s well worth putting them on (when you’re told to).

You might know the story of Dick Whittington but we guarantee you'll have never seen it told like this. It's a rip-roaring, sparkle-fest of a show with something for everyone, but we would expect nothing less...after all, it is panto season! Oh, yes it is! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).