Monday, 8 January 2007

dick whittington

On Saturday afternoon we all went to see Dick Whittington at The Barbican.

It's had mixed reviews, but it wasn't too bad. Sam Kelly was easily the best, very comfortable, old school. Roger Lloyd-Pack as the dame had bad reviews in particular; he was alright, but I think the laconic, slow, underplayed delivery that he's known for came across as a bit self-conscious and awkward in this part. We couldn't make out a lot of the song words, and some of the spoken words, but that may have been where we were sitting and certainly in the latter case audience noise was a factor (it's a peculiar form where some lines are written in the knowledge that no one will hear them because when you're saying them they'll all be shouting 'behind you!' or similar). It was written by Mark Ravenhill; coyly, and appropriately, the programme spoke of the play which made his name but didn't name it. Some of the entendres were barely double, but probably many things I watched in my own childhood were like that and simply went over my head.

The two funniest things were: shipwrecked on the coast of Morocco, fearful of the monster which lives there and wondering what to do, kids shout (presumably) suggestions, and RLP decrees that they will go and sit on 'that new piece of scenery and sing a song'. A lone small voice rings out from the audience, 'That's not going to help!'

And the last line, again RLP: 'If you've enjoyed the show, tell your friends; if you haven't, then this is the Old Vic and I'm Sir Ian McKellen.'

Some reviews; the Telegraph's is the most favourable, the Independent's' the least, the FT's has the best line ("Oh yes I will. Oh no you won’t. “The debate will continue,” wrote Martin Hoyle when reviewing a pantomime in these pages some years ago"), and several remark on the key thing which is that the audience seems to be having a very good time, which was certainly true when we were there. The Guardian. The Independent. The Times. The Daily Telegraph. The Financial Times.

And credit to London Theatre Guide, who saved me much searching, not for the first time, by linking to the five reviews above. Theatremonkey is also an excellent site, not so much for the reviews as the very detailed guides to the qualities of the various seats in London theatres, and I often check it out before buying tickets, as I did for this and The Snowman.

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