Paul Merton out-dames the dames!

“How lovely to have such a warm hand on my entrance!”

Sarah the Cook

Suki Webster as Sweet Shop Suki and Paul Merton as Sarah the Cook (Craig Sugden)

Crossroads Pantomimes produce many of the UK’s pantomimes each year and at Richmond Theatre this year, we have Dick Whittington starring the delightful Paul Merton.  Some of the script was written by Paul Merton, as well as Alan McHugh, and Merton’s spontaneous off the wall humour shines through. 

The real Richard Whittington (Jack Danson) was a 14th century merchant from Gloucestershire who, despite being a younger son, became Mayor of London in Richard II’s reign and whose bequests in his will, still fund charitable causes today.  And yes, he did marry Alice Fitzwarren (Erin Sophie Halliday). 

Cast. (Photo: Craig Sugden)

There is good choreography for the group numbers and strong singing.  There is no person credited for the design because Crossroads Pantomimes design all the sets and costumes for their 24 shows inhouse but the sets are excellent and the costumes fresh and colourful. 

Merton’s six dresses are a highlight, one designed for the sea voyage based on maps and signposts.  Sarah’s black shiny wig with hair styled ear phones stays on although I could just see the chinstraps from our wonderful seats in Row D. 

It is Paul Merton who is the real star here as his quick quips and double-entendres are delivered perfectly.  If anything should go wrong his effervescent wit will make the best of it with his years of improvisation experience.  He sparkles alongside his co star Suki Webster as Suki the Sweet Maker, who is also his real life wife.

Paul Merton as Dame Sarah. (Photo: Craig Sugden)

There is plenty to engage the children and also the saucy jokes you might have to explain to them, without going so completely over the decency bar into sheer filth.  A member of the audience will be flirted with and in Richmond we can rely on an ULEZ joke. 

I loved the extended song on the boat based on the The Twelve Days of Christmas with original items to recall on each day, a good memory test for the children and grandmas!

The villain is Queen Rat (Vivien Parry) who aims to take over London with her rat costume dripping in jewels and her menacingly wieldng a large rat like tale.  The Fairy Godmother is the Spirit of Bow Bells (Wendy Mae Brown) clad in silver sparkles and complete with crown and wand – a force for good. 

Vivien Parry as Queen Rat (Photo: Craig Sugden)

Our hero is Dick Whittington (Jack Danson) with Eileen his cat (Charlie Smart).  Alice Fitzwarren (Erin Sophie Halliday) has a super voice and as she is only in her second year at Laine Arts, this her professional debut.  Erin must have a strong musical career ahead of her because of her beautiful voice. 

Paul Merton is my absolute favourite pantomime Dame and this is a super production to be enjoyed by the whole family. 

Cast. (Photo: Craig Sugden)

Production Notes

Dick Whittington

Written by Alan McHugh,

with additional material by Paul Merton

Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle



Paul Merton

Suki Webster

Wendy Mae Brown

Vivien Parry

Jack Danson

Charlie Smart

Erin Sophie Halliday


Harley Charles

Ryan Lee

Callum O’Brien

Darcy Owen

Daisy Southall


Director: Jonathan O’ Boyle

Choreographer: Jonathan Mawson

Set Designer: Crossroads

Musical Supervisor:  Gary Hind

Musical Director: Pierce Tee

Lighting Designer:  Simon Wilkinson

Costume Designer:  Crossroads

Sound Designer: Ollie Durrant

Fight Director: Philip d’Orléans


Running Time: One hour 50 minutes including an interval

Booking until 7th January 2023 


Richmond Theatre

1 Little Green



Tube/Rail : Richmond


Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at Richmond Theatre

on 12th December 2023