Manchester City’s expensive imports have scored fewer Premiership goals per game than team Blackpool this season – and a similar superstar condition leaves Birmingham Hippodrome’s all-star panto working in fits and starts.
With Joan Collins, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Keith Harris all on a thick wedge, Dick Whittington is more like a Royal Variety Show in colourful disguise – one act after another with little common thread.
Havers’ King Rat is isolated and full of I’m A Celebrity gags. Who cares when he walked out of it?
Veteran ventriloquist Harris (Ratcatcher) makes you forget there’s a panto behind him once Cuddles comes out.
The remarkable but little seen Joan Collins adds a strange kind of Queen Rat glamour, lacks youthful energy and needs staircase assistance. As anyone would aged 78.
Julian Clary (Spirit of the Bells) is a snow-struck comedy genius, worth an adult show on his own to make the most of finding ‘eight inches at the stage door’.
The bitty script leaves little room for either local references or even Dick (Liam Tamne gets less programme space than Churchill the dog and Lukus Alexander as the livewire Cat).
Panto should be for families, but no children are called up for those spontaneous end-of-show golden moments which previous Hippodrome stars like Brian Conley and Joe Pasquale thrived on.
Rating * * *