Bristol Hippodrome

 

DickWhittington - December 2014

 

 

Four of us went to see the Dick Whittington Christmas pantomime at the Bristol Hippodrome this week and a very merry time was had by all.

Trying not to sound like a music hall compere it is a marvellous menagerie of animal magic including a cavorting cat and belching turtle mixed with vaudeville performers.

But the star turn was a little dog called Pudsey whose delightful dancing was a big bow wow with the audience.

In fact all the creatures large and small were great but the biggest surprise was Ashley Butler as love interest Alice Fitzwarren who turns out to be a talented all-singing and all-dancing all-round performer as well as a dog trainer.

Handsome Ben Faulks aka CBeebies Mr Bloom is Dick Whittington and it is his quest for fame and fortune which leads him to the streets of London with many adventures on route.

Trying to thwart his plans is the baddie of the plot, West End star Lara Denning  as evil Queen Rat, who also throws insults at the audience she dubs ‘chavs’ but in the end it is nice girl Fairy Bowbells (X Factor success Brenda Edwards) talking in rhyme who saves the day.

As outrageous costumes go those worn by panto dame extraordinaire Eric Potts as cook Sarah take the sea biscuit especially when (s)he is beached after the super scary 3D shipwreck scene on a foreign shore wearing nothing more than an itsy bitsy teenie weenie green sequinned bikini or dressed as 1930s child star Shirley Temple in a sailor suit singing Good Ship Lollipop

Described as ‘a light bulb short of a chandelier’ who uses a moisturising cream called Oil of Ugly and has a bottom to rival Kim Kardashian, Sarah is mother to Idle Jack played by Andy Ford.

Featuring all the traditional ingredients; sensational songs, a live band, magic, dazzling dance routines, magnificent slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation – Dick Whittington is guaranteed to be full of wonder to delight audiences of all ages.

And it does - the children we took haven't stopped talking about the panto.

Hayley Jane Goold is the cat’s whiskers as agile feline Tommy and classical actor Ben Goodridge doubles with authority as Alderman Fitzwarren and the Sultan of Morocco.

Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey, who were hailed by Simon Cowell as one of his ‘’favourite ever acts’, made their pantomime debut in Woking in 2012 and starred in Manchester’s panto last Christmas.

The Bristol Hippodrome big show is a colourful production with lots of local references although parts are littered with double entendres with a phallic inflatable sausage and the incontinent joke about Clevedon which luckily went completely over the heads of the small children.

Like the film Paddington I would give the smutty jokes a PG classification.

The script included every saucy innuendo heard on the Great Bake Off television series from soggy bottoms to big buns which made me cringe but everyone else laughed out loud - LOL.

Bristol pantomime favourite Andy was ‘gert good’ and a little less manic than usual.

His repartee and rapping while wearing a huge fat suit using some of the mucky puppy aforementioned banter had most in stitches.

And sponsors Littlewoods got many a mention and a full screen advertisement during the interval.

Full marks go for the festive set, brilliant costumes and especially the juvenile dancers who were fantastic.

As rats the naughty vermin somersaulted wearing brown fake fur coats, red and white striped socks and red baseball caps embroidered with an ‘R’ and as court knaves donned pageboy wigs and playing card-style suits for step perfect sequence dancing.

Several North Somerset youngsters are in the two alternate night dance troupes including Imogen Arney and Nailsea School students Dan MacGillivray and Katya Gait.

Dan’s mum Michelle went to the first night along with Dan’s brother Ben and friend Zach who is Imogen’s brother.

Michelle who runs Bedford Performers dance classes said: “Dan had a fantastic opening night and had a beaming smile from beginning to end.

“However, I have to admit in the rat dance they were all wearing masks so hard to tell who was who but then I knew it was Dan who jumped on the cat’s back when there were just two rats on the stage.

“He was very nervous especially because his brother and friend were watching too but is enjoying every minute of it and says he is having the best time of his life.

“All the young people are brilliant - they are in about six dances with quite a few quick changes and it is amazing how much they have learned in just two weeks of after school and Saturday rehearsals - they all did their parents proud.”

Michelle has booked along with a large family entourage to see the again show on Christmas Eve including granny Carol Bedford who owns Nailsea Music Shop, Dan’s three big brothers and their girlfriends.

The whole cast sang I’m A Believer in the happy ever after finale which brought the house down with the words ‘I thought love was only true in fairy tales’.

The show runs until Sunday, January 5, and tickets are £10-£39.50.

Click HERE for booking office and more details.

Pictured right are some of the Nailsea people who enjoyed the show.

'Dan has an impressive performance CV but his first claim to fame was as a five-year-old ‘voiceover’ on the radio advert for Ah Bisto gravy'

All about Dick and our Dan

 

Following in his family footsteps a Nailsea boy is dancing in the Dick Whittington pantomime at the Bristol Hippodrome this December.

Billed as the ‘ultimate tail of wags to riches’ Dick Whittington stars Pudsey the four-legged friend of dog trainer Ashley Butler in a magical family show.

Nailsea School student Daniel Macgillivray, aged 12, was chosen to dance in the pantomime after a competitive round of auditions.

Dan, pictured below, is the son of dance teacher Michelle Bedford and like big brothers Chris, Liam and Ben is no stranger to stepping out on stage.

The all-singing and all-dancing teenager has been chosen to join the juvenile chorus line of the seasonal panto about a young man who heads for London to seek his fortune.

Dan will appear alongside Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey as Alice Fitzwarren and her dog; Ben Faulks aka CBeebies Mr Bloom as Dick Whittington; Bristol’s favourite comic actor Andy Ford as Idle Jack and panto dame extraordinaire Eric Potts as cook Sarah.

Dan has an impressive performance CV but his first claim to fame was as a five-year-old ‘voiceover’ on the radio advert for Ah Bisto gravy.

He has appeared in lots of professional stage roles at the Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare theatres including productions of Joseph, Abba Mania, Oliver!, Annie and Aladdin and with Nailsea Musicals shows like Bugsy Malone.

But let’s not forget working alongside mum Michelle, his three brothers and granny Carol Bedford who owns Nailsea Music Shop on shows for Bedford Performers.

As well as studying tap, modern and jazz dancing the young actor/singer also plays the piano and for Nailsea & Backwell junior rugby club!

All brothers help granny out in the High Street music shop with media graduate Chris, 28, who is accomplished on the piano, guitar and violin, working full-time at the musical emporium.

Open Connections Solutions Ltd IT consultant Liam, 24, who sings, tap dances and plays piano and flute together with sports mad Ben, 14, another performing arts star also lend an occasional hand.

Michelle said: “Ben was gutted he was too tall to audition for panto this year.”

Looking ahead Dan said he would love to dance on cruise ships when he grows up.

Dick Whittington tells the rags to riches tales of a young man and his cat on an exciting quest for fame and fortune, but will the evil King Rat thwart his plans or will Fairy Bowbells save the day?

Featuring all the traditional ingredients; sensational songs, a live band, magic, dazzling dance routines, magnificent slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation – Dick Whittington is guaranteed to be full of wonder to delight audiences of all ages.

Ashleigh and Pudsey, who were hailed by Simon Cowell as one of his ‘’favourite ever acts’ made their pantomime debut to great acclaim in Woking in 2012 and starred in Manchester’s panto last Christmas.

They will be reprising their roles of Alice Fitzwarren and her faithful pooch in Bristol, where they are set to delight audiences with their amazing routines and tricks.

Ashleigh said: “Pudsey and I are so looking forward to appearing at the Bristol Hippodrome this Christmas in Dick Whittington.

“This is our third panto and Pudsey enjoys it so much he is starting to become a bit of a diva by demanding his own dressing room, but I've told him he still has to share with me.”

Tickets £10-39.50 are on sale now and Dick Whittington runs from Saturday to Sunday, December 6-January 5.

Click HERE for booking office and more details.

Click HERE to read review.

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