Lockdown review: Dick – The Adult Panto

When a show ends with a repurposed singalong of the anthemic Sweet Caroline as Sweet Dick of Mine you know you are in strictly adult territory.

My second Dick in a week, after the National Theatre’s flashy, classy and vaguely mucky version, this sees young Mr Whittington seeking out his Fanny Fitznicely with the help of Fairy Big Bells and her Pussy.

Earlier in the year I saw my first Guildford Fringe adult show in Pinocchio Gets Wood, a jaw-droppingly filthy feast of fun. A cross between postcard innuendo and puns on genitalia, now Dick has it all.

Queen Rat has Dominic Cummings on speed dial discussing the failings of “Private Rat Dowden”, and she terrorises landlady Dame Dixie Normous Fitznicely, who keeps her late husband’s treasure in “Nobby’s Sack”.

Olivia Rooks as Queen Rat in Dick - the Adult Panto

The last performance with an audience as Guildford enters Tier 3 COVID restrictions, Dick switches to streaming only for the remainder of the run. Don’t watch with the kids unless you want to explain rim, shag, suck, and more (most innocently delivered in familiar song form and straight faces).

With a cast of four, changes are quick and ad libs are fiery. Jack Marshall is a sturdy Dick and a perfect foil for the young Dame played by Paul Toulson (his delight at the rings in The Twelve Days of Christmas is a hoot and his Edith Evanesque delivery of the word “Fanny” is especially fun).

Cast of Dick - the Adult Panto

On the distaff side, Olivia Rooks and Rachel Warrick-Clarke shine as Queen Rat/Fairy Big Bells and Fanny/Pussy respectively. Warrick-Clarke in particular seems to delight in dirty talk, and Rooks loves jingling her bells.

There is no subtlety in Guildford’s adult pantos – of which this is the ninth. You can guess the puns and groans before they hit, but they are still funny. Waving a chocolate willy of any size will always raise a smile, and if the plot of Dick saving London is thrown away with a quip against a man with “no brain and bad hair”, it hardly matters.

Although Dick has been cut short for live audiences, the Guildford Fringe’s family pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, will go ahead in Godalming as planned (the Borough of Waverley remaining in tier 2).

You can stream Dick – the Adult Panto on the 18-19 December and Christmas Eve: book at https://www.guildfordfringe.com/events-archive/adult-panto-2020/ for £19.50.

Image credit: Ingrid Weel

LouReviews received complimentary access to review Dick – the Adult Panto.