REVIEW: TV stars bring the X Factor as Waterside serves up panto treat

Entertainment reporter Heather Jan Brunt reviews Dick Whittington at The Waterside in Aylesbury

Tuesday, 15th December 2015, 10:11 am
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre presents Dick Whittington with Sam Bailey   Andy Collins   and  Melanie Masson
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre presents Dick Whittington with Sam Bailey Andy Collins and Melanie Masson

When I first heard that Sam Bailey and Melanie Masson were the stars of this year’s Waterside pantomime, Dick Whittington, my heart sank.

I don’t watch The X Factor and I’d never heard of them, but don’t let that put you off if you’re in the same boat as me.

These girls are powerful singers and their voices, the fabulous music choices, and the choreographed dancing, make this one of the most musically successful pantos ever at the Waterside.

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The children behind me sang along to every song, and the audience were on their feet numerous times throughout the show, dancing, singing and enjoying that great panto tradition – audience participation.

The story is well told, and the script is easy to follow, as we watch Dick Whittington and his lovable cat Tommy in London, and then taking to the high seas as Dick tries to win the hand of Alice.

The Waterside’s resident funny man Andy Collins made his entrance as Idle Jack via an hilarious Benny Hill-like video showing him visiting Aylesbury landmarks and, once more, his Twelve Days of Christmas brought the house down – before the audience got soaked by Andy, the Dame and Alderman Fitzwarren running rampant with water pistols.

Andy was also involved, with Sarah The Cook, played by Jason Sutton wearing increasingly colourful and outlandish costumes, in a comic scene involving sausages – you can imagine the innuendo involved.

Sam Bailey as Fairy Bowbells and Melanie Masson as Queen Rat proved me wrong – they are worthy stars. Diminutive Rachael Louise Miller, as Alice, sometimes got lost among the chorus children, but her voice belied her size. Kristopher Milnes as Dick was a competent singer but didn’t perhaps have the presence required for the hero of the piece. Tommy the cat was played by Indi-Jay Cammish and produced some athletic fights against the nasty rats.

The chorus excelled in a Bollywood number in the Sultan’s Palace in Morocco, and the musicians and costume department deserve special praise.*

Dick Whittington is on at the Waterside until Sunday January 3. Full performance and ticket details at