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Dames steal the panto show in Stratford

PUBLISHED: 14:13 09 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:13 09 December 2013

Delroy Atkinson as Shirley the cook, the Dame, in Dick Whittington  Picture: Robert Day

Delroy Atkinson as Shirley the cook, the Dame, in Dick Whittington Picture: Robert Day

Archant

Rising star Ashley Gerlach certainly made his mark in this year's panto but I have to say, in my view, the old and new Dames stole the show.

Ashley Gerlach is Dick Whittington in the panto of the same name at Theatre Royal Stratford East  Picture: Robert DayAshley Gerlach is Dick Whittington in the panto of the same name at Theatre Royal Stratford East Picture: Robert Day

It was the first time that Delroy Atkinson took on the mantle of the larger than life Dame as Shirley the cook in Dick Whittington at Theatre Royal Stratford East and he looked like he was enjoying himself.

He seemed to have the best lines and looked so at home on stage, eyeing up the audience and engaging young and old in quick one-liners, all delivered with a cheeky smile and swagger.

The usual Dame, Michael Bertenshaw, was the requisite baddie as King Rat bent on Dick’s downfall as he arrived in Lowdown to make his fortune.

He almost resembled a superhero with his grey all-in-one outfit complete with a huge black quiff, black underpants worn a-la-Superman style and boots and big rat ears.

Both filled the stage with their presence as the story of stinky, homeless and hungry Dick arriving in the town with nothing unfolded.

The energetic cast took the audience of eager youngsters and grown-ups on a journey to a cheesy planet where several of the characters were kidnapped by aliens as revenge for the theft of a rare cheese. Unassuming, kind-hearted Dick quickly worked his way into the audience’s affections as they tried to make it clear he wasn’t the culprit.

Dick also managed to work his magic on the alien Queen whose character was another huge success in the performance. Children in the audience lapped up all her unusual mannerisms and appearance as the show took on a slightly sci-fi theme complete with space oriented songs and the theme tune to Dr Who.

The panto, which also features stunning sets, runs until January 11.

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