Review of Dick Whittington the Rock ‘n’ roll panto at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre *


We love Panto and heading to Stafford Gatehouse Theatre during this festive period is something we totally enjoy doing, after attending last year’s box office smash hit Robin Hood and the Babes in the wood, we were wondering what this year’s show was going to offer us. The show will be the seventh consecutive rock ‘n’ roll panto at the Gatehouse Theatre and will run until the 6th January. In a gist, the panto provides a hilarious version of the traditional tale with a rock ‘n’ rolling rollercoaster of an adventure story with Dick Whittington and his trusty friend Tabby the cat dance and sing their way through London in search of fame, fortune, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, while attempting to outwit the evil King Rat and catch the eye of beautiful Alice.


What we thought

What was great about this Panto was the fact that it actually had a proper story that worked and followed through – I am no Panto expert and the few that I have ever been to I have never been overly taken by.  The narratives seem so broken up with the Dames often taking over and not really being clearly part of the story – however, this Panto was something else!
I’ve never been to a Panto with such a multi-talented cast. The cast plays the keyboard, drums, flute, trumpet, saxophone and guitar, as well as act and dance! The set is also super impressive with loads of detailed paintwork and layers. You go from above ground in the town of London right down into the sewers!
The Dame played by Peter Manchester, was brilliant as she was totally a part of the story and not a novelty addition to the performance. It worked so well as she cracked jokes and had good audience interaction. The other characters included Alice who was the main female played by Laura Sillet and the role of Dick Whittington was played by Max Runham, both had great singing voices.

The character of the Town Mayor was played by Spanish Actor Jofre Alsina who you would never know wasn’t from aristocratic London! Each of the characters, as in a lot of Pantos, had their time to shine, and other characters including the Revolting Rat King Rat played by Tomas Wolstenholme, Tabby cat, his arch enemy and Dick Whittington’s trusty companion!! Played by CiCi Howells (who was a favourite of my daughter – she also loved the Dame because of how funny she was), and Billy Bungalow, played by Guy Freeman who is a comic character who would like to win the affection of the lead Alice – I thought he was hilarious and got some of the biggest laughs on stage. And not forgetting the final three characters, the traditional or not so traditional Panto fairy – called Fairy Bow Bells, played by Lana Walker and two crucial musical characters Rat Scurvy, Mike Sadler and Rat Smallpox, Patrick Burbridge. All in all it was a fantastic night, our children loved it! They were so keen not to miss anything that every toilet break during the performance involved running!! And as adults the Panto was filled with great innuendo that bypassed the children completely but had the adults looking at each other in hysterics. The music for me really made it a different kind of Panto and I actually loved it and not being a traditional Panto lover I could actually see myself looking out next year for another one like this.

Stafford Gatehouse is a beautiful Victorian building and has such character, however, unfortunately, the inside has been modernised and it seems like none of the original Victorian features have been maintained. That being said the Theatre is really well laid out and it has a cosy and personal feel to it, you aren’t too far from the stage and you can really feel part of the performance. The seats are comfortable too, which is a real plus for me due to my fidgety nature! Other plus sides to the venue are that the staff are super friendly and the drinks and snacks don’t appear to be overpriced, which is a plus when out with all the family.
If you want to get yourself over to Stafford which is a lovely town and see this Panto, its on until the 6th January 2019, and at £66 for a family ticket is really reasonable, in comparison to many other Pantos available at the moment. On top of that the acting, music and singing is top class too!!

Cast Details

Max Runham Dick Whittington
Laura Sillett Alice
Peter Manchester Sarah the cook (The Dame)
Guy Freeman Billy Bungalow
Tomas Wolstenholme King Rat
Jofre Alsina Alderman Fitzwarren
Patrick Burbridge Rat Smallpox
Mike Slader Rat Scurvey
Lana Walker Fairy Bow Bells/Rat Scrofula
CiCi Howells Tabby the Cat



When is Dick Whittington Showing?

The show opened on Friday, 7 December 2018 and run until Sunday, 6 January 2019 with show timings on their website.


How much are the tickets and how do I book them?

Adult £20.00, Concession £15.50, Family Ticket £66 There will also be a few adults-only performances (19 December, 2 and 3rd January 2019). Tickets £17.50.


How can I book the panto tickets?

Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting their website here.


Where is Stafford Gatehouse Theatre?

Stafford Gatehouse is an old Victorian theatre for professional and amateur shows, including Shakespeare and children’s plays. In 2007, the Borough Hall was reopened as Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. The Borough Hall was originally opened on 20 June 1877 and the building once housed Stafford Borough Council.

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Eastgate Street
ST16 2LT
Tel: 01785 619080



You may also want to read this:

Review: The Wind In The Willows at the New Vic Theatre

Robin Hood showcases as the Pantomime this year at The Regent Theatre

The Snowman is coming to Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent

Magical Wedgwood Christmas

Review by : Lex Ward

*We were given tickets to watch the show. All opinions are our own


  1. Alexandra
    December 11, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    I love a good panto myself, and this looks like no exception! Fun costumes and seems like a great night out!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 11, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      It certainly was a fantastic night out Alexandra, we had a great time

  2. December 11, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    I haven’t been to Panto in years but his one sounds great. I love the fact that you say it has a story to it and the costumes look fab.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 12, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Thank you for commenting Francesca, totally appreciate it

  3. December 11, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Love the theatre! I’ll have to find a similar show in the states!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 12, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Hope there is Sara, otherwise book your tickets to Stafford for next Christmas x

  4. December 12, 2018 / 1:56 am

    This looks like a fun performance! I bet the music is as lively as the show looks!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 12, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Yes it was and the costumes and props were fantastic as well

  5. December 12, 2018 / 7:30 am

    Love it! A panto with a twist… this would definitely be one that the whole family could enjoy. Looks like you had a fab time! If we hadn’t already seen our Christmas panto this year, I would be booking tickets to this one.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 12, 2018 / 7:46 am

      Well we have to agree with you, it certainly was a well rounded panto and hope you get the chance to see this even though you have already seen another panto x

  6. December 12, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    What a lively and colorful performance! I have never heard of panto before, but it looks exciting!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 13, 2018 / 7:47 am

      It is fabulous! Music, Dance, Song and a great story to go with it too. Our kids loved it!

  7. December 12, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    I looove musical performances and those costumes, and stage backgrounds/props are so amazing! Glad you enjoyed the performance!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 13, 2018 / 7:43 am

      Yes they were, thank you, so glad we did had a lovely time too

  8. December 13, 2018 / 12:52 am

    this looks pretty interesting! havent seen a panto yet this year

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 13, 2018 / 7:42 am

      Oh you should, it just gets us into the Christmas spirit

  9. December 13, 2018 / 5:29 am

    It sounds like you had a great time! The Panto seems like it was very entertaining. I enjoyed your pictures.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 13, 2018 / 7:41 am

      Glad you enjoyed the blog post, yes we had a great time there

  10. December 21, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    This sounds like such a fun panto – I love how they have given it a rock and roll theme as well. It has been years since I have seen a panto but I used to absolutely adore going as a child.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 8:04 pm

      Its such a great thing when you head to the panto with young kids and the memories stay with you

  11. December 21, 2018 / 11:57 pm

    I love musicals and this rock n roll Panto looks so much fun. Definitely , a perfect family fun.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 8:04 pm

      Yes it was a great day out for the family

  12. December 22, 2018 / 1:55 am

    I havent been to a panto since I was a child, but I’d love to go again and take my little ones! This sounds like a really fun, vibrant play! Perfect for a family night out!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      Yes it certainly was Sarah! We loved it

  13. December 22, 2018 / 10:04 am

    Oh my goodness this sounds like such a cool panto, I love a bit of rock and roll x

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 8:02 pm

      Absolutely! The Rock and roll aspect of the panto was just super cool

  14. December 22, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    The price is very reasonable for a family ticket and I’m glad the panto had a story and flowed well. I’ve actually never been to a panto before but I think next year might be a good time to go as my daughter will be almost 3 and would enjoy it more.

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 7:59 pm

      Yes the price is very reasonable, our son was 3 when he first went to the panto and he totally loved it

  15. December 22, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Panto is such great family entertainment. Sounds like everyone here is multi-talented too. It’s not a bad price for a family ticket considering either. Wonder what the adult only panto is like!

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 22, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Yes the cast and crew are super talented and we had a fun time watching this. We have not been to the adult panto yet but would love to check it out as well

  16. December 23, 2018 / 11:47 am

    We have watched two pantomimes of Dick Whittington this year and loved both 🙂

    • yeahlifestyle
      December 23, 2018 / 5:46 pm

      Oh how wonderful! So glad to hear that Kara

  17. Jem
    December 28, 2018 / 12:12 am

    This looks like Great fun. I bet it’s great for families to go and see.

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