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tried & tested

Tried & Tested blogs are a great way for us to share amazing venues and attractions with you. We visit lots of local venues and attractions ourselves and write about our experiences.

We are also happy to share 'Reader Recommendations' too as we know just how important it is to hear from other parents.

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Dick Whittington


It's that time of year again and for generations one tradition has stayed firmly ensconced in the festive season - Pantomime. We all love it. We pretend its all about entertaining the children, but we know that there will be just as many laughs for the grown ups too. This year Queens Theatre have produced yet another absolute banger!

Photo credit: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

Dick Whittington.

I have to admit, despite many many years of going to the Panto, I'd never seen a production of Dick Whittington and only had a very vague idea of the story. That didn't matter.

The story begins on home territory, in Hornchurch where our plucky star, Dick Whittington, meets his sidekick Meowly Cyrus, a Manx cat from the Isle of Man who is desperate to earn herself a tail by performing a good deed. Dick hopes that London is where he will find his fortune. He quickly discovers that the streets are not paved with gold as he had hoped, but rather overrun with rats! They encounter Cherry Bakewell, a bakery owner who is plagued by the rats and fears her business will have to close. Our Dame, Sherry Triffle, works in the bakery and helps Dick to join the team by teaching him how to bake. The villain of the piece is Queen Rat, Verminia. Right from the moment she stepped on stage the audience were booing and jeering at her. 

Photo credit: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

With just 8 cast members in total you could be forgiven for wondering how they will tell this tale but these are 8 really talented individuals. They all play at least one instrument and the singing was superb. The musicality of these 8 people gives the show a unique edge. Queen Rat played by Laura Skillet has an incredibly powerful voice which gave me goosebumps when she sang. The comic timing of Dominic Gee-Burch who returns for his second year as the Dame was on point throughout the show. His quips, puns and looks to the audience were hilarious. We really loved the cat, Meowly Cyrus played by  Priscille Grace. She took on the persona of the cat brilliantly and stayed in character at all times, even when she was playing an instrument! The storyteller who introduces the tale, Bow Bells played by Elliot Mackenzie, is dressed a bit like a Pearly King and gets the audience involved right from the off. He also makes an appearance as the one and only Elvis at the end which was fabulous!

Photo credit: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

I don't want to give the whole story away! The show has all the elements of a great pantomime - slapstick, fun for the kids, perfect comic timing, puns and jokes aimed at the grown ups, local references, tons of audience participation, singing and the most important thing - laughter!

The sets were great with fireworks (literally) from the get go. We loved the costumes and of course the amazing dresses worn by Dame Sherry Triffle. 

Photo credit: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

The show is suitable for the whole family and while waiting for the show to begin we spoke to a couple of families who were there with 3 generations.  My 'chief tester of fun' is now 9 and I think this year was more excited than ever to go to the Pantomime. He understood so much more of what was happening and really got involved in the audience participation. He was singing the finale song all the way home! We had such a fun night. 

If you haven’t visited Queens Theatre before, or haven’t taken your children to see a pantomime before then I would definitely recommend you get tickets for Dick Whittington. The facilities at Queens Theatre are ideal for families. Disabled toilet/baby change facilities at the entrance to the auditorium, step free access to the main toilets (of which there are lots so the queue during the interval moved really quickly!) and refreshments which can be pre ordered for the interval. The auditorium is the perfect size so you never feel like you are sitting too far from the stage. Children are offered booster cushions which made sitting on folding theatre seats so much easier. 

The whole experience takes just over 2 hours. We took our seats around five minutes before the start of the show and there is a 20 minute interval in the middle.  

If you do just one festive thing this year, let it be the panto!

The show is running until  31st  Dec 2023 - book your tickets here.

Access Shows:

  • Touch Tour - Saturday 9th December, 12.30pm
  • Audio Described - Saturday 9th December, 2pm
  • British Sign Language performance - Saturday 9th December, 6.30pm
  • Dementia Friendly - Thursday 14th December, 1.30pm
  • Relaxed (SEN/Autism Friendly) -  Thursday 14th December,  5.30pm

For the best experience when booking one of the access performances, speak to the Box Office team. Call 01708 443333 or email [email protected]

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