IT was a wet, windy and thoroughly miserable November Thursday morning and at 10.15am surely far too early to watch a pantomime, writes Trevor Baxter.
But oh no it wasn’t because Oldham Coliseum’s production of Dick Whittington (running from November 11-January 13) proved a perfect anecdote to the grim weather outside.
And the hundreds of primary school children – and a group of College students – in this particular audience, wouldn’t disagree.
What isn’t there to like? The slapstick humour, colourful costumes, musical numbers, invitation to make as much noise as possible is ideal entertainment for a youthful crowd.
We oldies appreciate the more risqué jokes, double entendres and occasional ad lib. Just ask the three members of the band who, at times, found it hard to keep a straight face despite knowing the script.
Written by Kevin Shaw and Fine Time Fontayne (aka Yorkshireman Ian Crossley), the Coliseum’s edition of ‘Dick Whittington’ is lively and funny.
Oldhamers will enjoy the occasional jibe at their neighbours.
The cellars in Sir Ivo Fitzwarren’s (Ralph Birtwell) mansion house are described as:’deep, dark, dank and dangerous’ with a punchline of “sounds like Rochdale.”
There are plenty of corny but chuckle inside gags grown-ups will enjoy.
“Look into my eyes, what do you see,” asks one of the characters.
“A very small classroom,” comes the reply. “Why?”
“Two pupils,” is the pay-off line delivered with great timing.
Doing most of the mirth making is Saddleworth-based Richard J Fletcher as Silly Billy Suet.
He was excellent on my previous trip to the Coliseum to see rugby league comedy ‘Up and Under.’ And he’s every bit as good in ‘Dick Whittington’.
The boos whenever Simeon Truby appeared as the baddie character of King Rat proved he nailed the part perfectly.
Fine Time himself as Saucy Sarah Suet was a convincing Dame complete with suitably outrageous costumes.
Indeed, the trio, if anything, over shadowed the performances of Nina Shadi (Dick) and Shorelle Hepkin (Alice Fitzwarren) who didn’t command the stage in quite the same manner.
At more than two hours long, Dick Whittington is certainly value for money with a feel-good factor.
To book tickets go online: www.coliseum.org.uk or ring the Box Office on 0161 624 2829.