Review: Dunstable Panto is the best Christmas family night out (oh yes it is!)

For a good old-fashioned pantomime that is guaranteed to put a big smile on your face, Dick Whittington at the Grove Theatre is the one to watch this Christmas.

Leslie Grantham (King Rat)  Leon Craig, Dame Lucy Reeds, Alice Fitzwarren Jasette Amos, Fairy
Leslie Grantham (King Rat) Leon Craig, Dame Lucy Reeds, Alice Fitzwarren Jasette Amos, Fairy

Every single member of the cast is a star and they come together for a magical mix of festive fun and frolics.

Leslie Grantham (Eastenders’ Dirty Den) presides over the production as both director and Dirty Rat.

He is the ultimate baddie and got some fantastic boos from the audience in Dunstable on Saturday night.

Playing the goodie to Dirty Rat’s baddie is Ryan Moloney (Toadfish from Neighbours), who is absolutely brilliant as Idle Jack.

Fans of Neighbours will be expecting the Ramsey Street legend to give a good show but he goes above and beyond with his energetic dancing and cheeky comments, bringing the pantomime to life.

The relationship between Moloney and Leon Craig who plays Sarah the Cook is a delight to watch.

They bounce off each other like a comedy duo who have known each other for years - despite Moloney only arriving in the country to start rehearsals days before the curtain went up.

Craig is one of the best pantomime dames you are every likely to see - his hilarious mannerisms and his cutting wit (watch out if you’re on the front row) make the show very, very, funny for both adults and children.

Fairy Bowbells is played by Jasette Amos, who is an absolutely sensational singer.

She brings the house down with her rendition of Dreamgirls number ‘And I Am Telling You’ and you would be forgiven for thinking you were watching her on Broadway rather than in Dunstable.

Last year’s Panto Factor winner Lucy Reed is back to play Alice Fitzwarren and she is superb in her musical numbers as well as being a very likeable character.

Winner of this year’s Panto Factor was Ben Irish who takes the lead role of Dick Whittington.

He steps into the role with ease and is a joy to watch - he’s the perfect panto hero.

Irish and Reed make a wonderful pairing and sing a beautiful duet.

Elloise Jones, Nyhal Adams and George Johnson as Tommy the cat, Captain Capsize and Seaman Scupper also give fantastic performances in their supporting roles and all deserve a mention.

The incredible cast put on a very good show, which is entertaining for all the family.

Although it is a very traditional panto with all the elements we love like sweets being thrown into the audience, children invited up on stage and some bonkers comedy routines, there are also impressive high-tech elements including a creative underwater scene.

The audience were unanimous in their praise of this pantomime on Saturday night.

We all had a blast.

At the Grove Theatre in Dunstable until January 5. Book tickets at http://www.grovetheatre.co.uk/events/dick-whittington/ or call the box office on 01582 602080.

@LutonNewsConnie