Reviewed by Sasha Nye
Oh no they didn’t… oh yes they did! Another cracker of a panto pulled out of the bag again this year. The Hawth panto is in my humble opinion the best panto around and they get better every year. This is partly because of the cast but also because of the venue itself. I can honestly say that the staff there are incredibly friendly, always happy to help and nothing is ever too much trouble for them.
The Hawth in Crawley is easy to find and has a large amount of free car parking spaces. It is a modern venue with large auditoriums. There are plenty of toilets, a cafe, restaurant and a number of bars for reasonably priced refreshments. What’s great about The Hawth is that there are no restrictive view seats in my opinion. Wherever you get seated you will get a great view of the stage. I’m never disappointed when I visit The Hawth.
Back to the panto!
This year’s treat was the story of Dick Whittington, his cat and their journey to London in search for gold and fortune. I have been to see the panto at The Hawth for the last three years running, I have loved every one and this year’s production was no exception. In fact, it was the best one so far. It’s quite amazing that they keep getting better, with the bar being raised every year. I love the fact that they keep some of the same jokes running each year and they never get boring. Michael Batchelor is phenomenal every year. I think his partnership with Richard Franks is what makes the panto each year. I can’t wait to see them as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella next year. The comedic timing between them is seamless and they are just both so comfortable to watch on stage. On stage with them was Charlie Brooks as the evil Queen Rat, Harri Nichols and the adorable David Ribi (Dick Whittington) and Chrissie Perkins (Alice Fitzwarren) who were both extremely likeable as the loved up hero’s. They had great chemistry together.
Another highlight was the character of Fairy Blowbells, played by Gemma Hunt. Gemma looked completely at home on stage and had the most reaction from the youngest members of the audience. The juvenile villagers were also spectacular with a special mention to Alice Herbert who smiled throughout her time on stage, danced beautifully and looked like she was loving every minute of her performance.
This year the music, set, cast, and costumes are amazing. The cast were extremely lucky to be accompanied and supported by a band of truly talented musicians. Even the 3D element was turned up a notch from last year. My children loved it.
All of the children and adults alike in the audience left with smiles on their faces and aching cheeks from laughing so much, I certainly did.
The Hawth panto is undoubtedly the best panto around. Guaranteed to make you smile and leave you feeling warm and festive.
Tickets cost from £16.50 (booking fees may apply).
Dick Whittington is at The Hawth in Crawley from 6 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636