Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One things us Brits love is a bit of Pride and Prejudice, from BBC dramas to cinematic adaptations there’s a whopping appetite for Jane Austen’s iconic novel. However, it’s time for Colin Firth and his soggy shirt to step aside as this fabulous all-female cast prepare to retell events in their own unique and hilarious style.

Taking on the role of servants this five-strong company deliver their inventive spin on Austen’s work complete with befitting karaoke classics as they play the part of each character in this fast and furious homage. A little bit miffed that they never get to play characters with any depth or complexity, let alone enjoy a much longed for happy ending they set about righting this wrong to hilarious effect.

The fast-paced production is razor sharp from the off, there’s quick changes a plenty as the comedic chaos unfolds.

Directors Isobel McArthur and Simon Harvey never allow the pace to drop resulting in a hugely entertaining and surprisingly accurate piece of theatre. It’s daft, dynamic and oozes cheeky charm.

The cast complement each other perfectly, never once losing their stride, their comic timing is exceptional while their delivery of the multiple karaoke classics will make you wish you were heading to the nearest bar after the curtain call. Some of the song choices are an absolute stroke of genius making me wish there were a few more bangers to enjoy.

Each of the five cast are superb, taking on multiple characters with apparent ease. Dannie Harris’ fizz guzzling potty mouthed Mrs Bennet is a scream while her dashing Mr Darcy is every bit the mysterious and misunderstood man of the hour. Emmy Stonelake makes for a superb Elizabeth Bennet, her strong Welsh accent adding to her brilliant comedic delivery, she’s a no nonsense, tell it like it is kind of girl who certainly isn’t wasting her time holding out for a hero.

Megan Louise Wilson is super sweet as lovesick Jane in complete constant to imposing her Lady Catherine De Bourgh who gets one of the biggest laughs of the night. Lucy Gray shows incredible versatility as the lonely and longing Charlotte Lucas one moment followed by snide, spoil Caroline Bingley the next, while Leah Jamieson ramps the humour to another level with her ingenious characterisation of Mr Collins, drab, dull and desperate highlighting just how utterly absurd the minimal rights of women back then were.

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a joy: clever, current and absolutely hilarious. It takes the traditional and tips it on its head. This reinvented classic will no doubt become a firm favourite on the theatre scene as this new tour and talented cast enjoy standing ovations night after night. Perfect escapism that will leave you with a smile on your face and a strong urge to head to the nearest karaoke bar.

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is on at The Lowry until Saturday 21st January, tickets available here.

Dick Whittington

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The last mince pie may be long gone but the festive spirit continues at Warrington’s Parr Hall with this season’s panto offering, Dick Whittington.

Taking on the titular role of Dick is a hugely likeable and charismatic Amy Thompson from Channel 5’s Milkshake, who has walked from Gloucester to London with faithful cat Tommy in a bid to discover if the streets truly are paved with gold. Once there, Dick meets and falls in love with Alice (Amy Leek), however the course of true love never did run smooth as evil Queen Rat (Natalie Walton) is keen to try all she can to frame Dick as a thief, allowing her and her loyal mischief of rodent friends to take over the capital.

This Tony Peers Production gives exactly what you want from a traditional panto, there’s sparkly costumes, silly slapstick, plenty of opportunities to boo the baddie and a fabulously flamboyant dame in the form of the wonderful Mark Newell.

Jam-packed with witty one-liners and those traditional panto elements we all love – the doomed cookery scene, a hilarious take on the 12 Days of Christmas as well as a classic ghost and ghoulies scene, Dick Whittington delivers entirely.

This talented cast are clearly having great fun on stage and together with support from dancers from the Felicia Burns School of Dance offer a wonderful night of family entertainment.

Amy Thompson is brilliantly cast as Dick, engaging and entertaining with a strong voice to boot. The scenes between her and Amy Leek (Alice) work wonderfully with their voices complimenting each other beautifully. Leo Atkin and Daniel Dean keep the laughs coming as brilliant comedy duo Captain and Mate while Mark Newell makes for the perfect pantomime dame, sarcastic and dry he delivers a pitch perfect comedy performance.

Freya Ebbrell gives us a sparkling performance as the good fairy while Natalie Walton is the shade to Ebrell’s light as the evil Queen Rat, giving the audience as good as she gets and displaying her own incredible vocals when she gets her moment in the spotlight

Running at just over 2 hours including an interval, Dick Whittington is paced perfectly for families. Little ones were kept engaged throughout while there were plenty of cheeky jokes for the grownups to enjoy.

If you’re wanting to banish those January blues then get yourselves down to Warrington’s Parr Hall where this wonderful cast will treat you to a terrific time, oh yes they will!

Dick Whittington is on at the Parr Hall until Sunday 15th January tickets available here.