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Dick Whittington at The Customs House, South Shields

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 10th Dec 2012 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

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Dick Whittington – The Customs House, South Shields

Affectionately labelled ‘the little panto with the big heart’, the Customs House has a reputation for producing a Christmas show which often puts bigger-budget blockbusters to shame. The secret to its success is simple – stick to the traditional tried and tested formula of true pantomime.

With no star names to top the bill and very little technical wizardry to make the audience gasp, it is up to the performers and the script to retain the attention of the audience – just as it should be!

And with Ray Spencer, as Tommy, and Bob Stott, as Dame Dotty, at the helm, there is no doubt that this version of Dick Whittington does just that. As a double-act, they have kept panto audiences entertained for almost forty consecutive years and it is testament to their skill and popularity that the punters return in their droves year after year.

Other familiar faces in the cast include Peter Darrant in his regular role of baddie (this year a gloriously camp King Rat), Steven Lee Hamilton as principal boy, Graham Overton as Alderman Fitzwarren, and Alice Stokoe as Alice Fitzwarren. But there are some newcomers, too. Swedish performers Ola Karlberg and Mia Wallin play the Captain and Mia the Cat respectively, whilst Jonathan Lee Wharton and Luke Maddison demonstrate great potential in their roles of Seamen Anchor and Weigh.

As always, the South Shields venue shows great pride in the heritage of its home town, with the action being set, largely, in Cooksonville – even the Little Mix chart-topper Wings is given the Dame Dotty treatment! North East references abound and the puppet fairy, Emma from the Dale, is voiced by Geordie actress Charlie Hardwick.

Add in the riotously colourful costumes and sets by acclaimed local designer Paul Shriek and you have a fun-filled festive treat with lashings of laughter for the whole family – and with ticket prices that won’t break the bank.

Dick Whittington is at the Customs House, South Shields, until Sunday January 6, 2013. Tickets are priced from £8 to £17, with concessions available. To book call 0191 454 1234 or log on to



1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Thanks Steve. Great to see the panto traditions going strong up and down the country.
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