Dick Whittington rehearsals now underway

The cast of Theatre Royal Winchester’s pantomime Dick Whittington are now in rehearsals, preparing themselves to take to the stage on Saturday 30 November.

Dick Whittington tells the story of a man who seeks his fortune in a London tormented by rats, and stars Ed Thorpe in the lead role. Ed returns to Winchester after appearing as Wally in the theatre’s 2018 pantomime, Beauty and the Beast and as Smee in Peter Pan the previous year. Smee was Ed’s first ever pantomime role and one that earned him a nomination in the Great British Pantomime Awards for Best Song Sheet performance.

The theatre is also pleased to welcome back Julian Eardley, who will once again take on the role of the pantomime dame. This year – Julian’s tenth as the theatre’s dame – he plays Dame Dolly Dumpling. Over the years Julian has become a familiar face in the city, with children and adults stopping to take photos with him at the pantomime launch in September and at the city’s Christmas Lights Switch On last week (Thursday 14 November). Julian has a wealth of acting experience, including around the world and in a BBC Radio 4 sitcom with comedy legend, June Whitfield.

They are joined by another familiar face – Kristopher Milnes, who was Bouffon in last year’s Beauty and the Beast. This year he stars as the pantomime baddie, King Rat! Kristopher first performed as a young Scrooge in The Muppet’s Christmas Carol before Les Miserables, TV’s Casualty – and more.

Jessie Angell celebrates her pantomime debut as The Cat. Newly graduated, Jessie has already performed at London’s Regents Park Open Air Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall. Joanna Brown appears as the love interest, Alice Fitzwarren, and has worked with some of the UK’s best known touring theatre companies including Oddsocks Productions and Scamp Theatre.

Jon Bonner – who has performed in the likes of the UK and Ireland tour of Son of a Preacher, directed by Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood; Blood Brothers and A Streetcar Named Desire – plays three roles in the panto: Alderman, Captain and Sultan. Libby Gore – who first appeared on the West End stage aged nine, in the title role of Annie, and continues to appear in theatre productions, TV adverts, short films and music videos – stars this year as Fairy Bow Bells.

Dick Whittington comes from the same team behind last year’s Beauty and the Beast – writer and director James Barry and composer Simon Slater – who were this year nominated for the Great British Pantomime Awards’ Musical Achievement Award. As always, they promise all the ingredients that make an entertaining pantomime, including jokes, songs and plenty of audience participation.

A talented support cast is also busy learning dance routines; finishes touches are being made to costumes; and the stage is due to be set.

There are also a number of accessible performances available – relaxed, audio-described and BSL interpreted – as well as a touch tour, ensuring the pantomime can be enjoyed by everyone.

Dick Whittington will be at Theatre Royal Winchester from Saturday 30 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020. Find out more, including performance dates and times, and book tickets, at theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01962 840 440.