Dick Whittington and his Cat with Kat


Hackney Empire

January 2013

London E8

Dick Whittington and his cat is one of the oldest (it is reported to have been first performed in 1814) most popular and enduring British pantomimes. Hackney Empire has earned a reputation for holding London’s best pantomimes, so a great night was in store.

Dick Whittington is the story of a man who comes to London, having heard that it’s street are paved with gold, with the intention of making his name and earning his fortune. The reality is a little bit different as along the way obstacles appear and the reality, well pantomime reality (?)intervenes. For a start there are London’s rats to contend with(some things never change) including big “bad” King Rat played humourously by the pantomime villian Kat B. Amusingly and in the great tradition of pantomime he got booed by the children and parents every time he entered the stage. Dick Whittington was played very well by Joanna Riding. In time honoured panto fashion Dick was a woman playing a man’s part (no sniggering please).

Take That

The pantomime moved along at a cracking pace and was highly entertaining, thanks to its many wise cracks and gags. Other highlights included the songs, especially the renditions of recent ‘Take That’ hits. You really hear and feel the lyrics vividly, making you appreciate even more what great songs they are and just how good a song writer Gary Barlow actually is.

I noticed the packed audience seemed to be predominantly, 80%+, white, which, considering the play’s in Hackney, it was a great shame it wasn’t filled with a more diverse audience. Surely a lot more parents should be giving their children their first taste of theatre by attending pantomimes such as this one? Children love it and who knows, they may get the acting bug and aspire and work hard to become the next David Harewood or Adrian Lestor. With tickets costing from £10-£29.50 there was pricing to hopefully suit every budget, though I recognised for a large family that’s a lot of money for a family night out.

Dick Whittington and his Cat is a good, clean (well except for the dirty rats), fun show that transports you into the magic of theatre and childhood escapism.

I look forward to Hackney’s Christmas 2013 pantomime.

As a result of his excellent performance, King Rat aka Kat B, will in the running to be a nominee for ‘Best Comedian Acting’ at The Black Comedy Awards 2013. Keep an eye on this Blog for the nominations due out in February 2013.

Tiemo Talk of the Town

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4 Responses to Dick Whittington and his Cat with Kat

  1. William says:

    I saw the play too and was thrilled to see children and adults enjoy the show. I agree the audience should or it would have been nicer to see a more stronger representation of the current community in Hackney. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the scenes, including scenes that shocked and thrilled the children with delight. I loved in particular the way the actors engaged with today’s children, by including modern chart music and bringing current London icons and issues into the play.

    Will Purley

  2. jac says:

    Great. Looking forward to the nominations. Zulaika

  3. Tiemo Talk says:

    Thanks for your comments Jac. We’re into Round 2 of the nominations and public voting process. Dick Whittington and his cat succeeded in reaching this round. If you enjoyed the play you can consider voting for it to make it to Round 3.

    The Black Comedy Awards 2013 are in London on 19th December 2013.

    If you want to vote and/or buy tickets to attend you can do so via this link

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