A mum has called for the Christmas panto Dick Whittington to be cancelled because of its ‘lewd’ content including jokes about Dick. Oh no, she didn’t… oh yes, she did.
In the spirit of 2017 coming to a close, I’m going to take offence at this woman taking offence at this.
Natalie Wood, from Oldham, took family members to see the production of Dick Whittington at Manchester Opera House on Saturday and left far short of Christmas cheer.
Natalie told the Manchester Evening News she was horrified with the ‘disgusting content’ and inappropriate behaviour’ from the play’s characters telling recurring Dick jokes, including ‘Alice loves Dick’, references to sex and an alleged case of breast fondling.
Dick jokes in a production of Dick Whittington. What has the world come to?
The seasonal panto includes TV stars John Barrowman from Dr Who and Torchwood, and The Krankies from the 1980s.
A regular panto goer with her family, Natalie said she was used to the ‘tongue in cheek’ humour but the production ‘crosses the boundaries’ of what’s acceptable in front of a family audience.
I have never been [to] a pantomime where I felt so uncomfortable.
The whole show was very sexualised.
John Barrowman sat Jimmy Krankie on his knee and started fondling her breasts. He then takes his hands off and she puts them back on again as if to say ‘I was enjoying that’.
We thought that was wrong being a female but the fact it was supposed to be a schoolboy, it was just a step too far.
For those unfamiliar with the Krankies, Jimmy Krankie is a schoolboy played by Janette Tough who is a 70-year-old woman and her husband Ian plays her paternal figure. Yeah, that’s what we grew up watching as light entertainment in the old days.
In a complaint email to the production company, Natalie wrote:
My children were repeating Alice loves Dick and sticking their fingers out of their trousers for a pretend penis throughout the evening.
This is not acceptable and my children required far too much explaining about adult humour for a family show.
Eleven of us are furious that the production was given the go ahead. Who is responsible for adult content in a child’s performance? The show needs stopping.
The company behind the production disagree that the dialogue crosses the line and insist the show is family-friendly.
A spokesman for pantomime producer Qdos Entertainment and the Manchester Opera House said:
In keeping with the tradition of pantomime, the script does make use of double entendre and part of that is a play on the names of the characters.
None of the humour within the show is intended to cause offence of any kind and the enjoyment of our audiences is always paramount.
We value all feedback we receive and the Qdos creative team regularly review all comments in order to inform the development of our shows, both currently on stage and scripts for the future.
Qdos Entertainment are delighted to bring our production of Dick Whittington to Manchester Opera House. We have already received excellent audience feedback during the show’s previews and are looking forward to a great Christmas in the city.
To be honest, I’ve yet to go and see the production, but from what I remember from being a kid and going to pantomimes, you don’t ask your parents for an explanation to the meaning behind every joke. I also remember being allowed to do mad stuff like pretending to have my willy out by sticking a finger through my flies. How times change.
Here’s Twitter’s verdict on the play:
Our review of the Dick Whittington Pantomime starring @JohnBarrowman & The Krankies, taking place at @PalaceAndOpera in Manchester. In the words of my 9 year old son "It was EPIC!" https://t.co/P1h1S9ql9d #DickWhittington #Pantomime #Manchester #NorthWest #Theatre #Entertainment
— Lorraine Foster (@itsafamilyblog) December 14, 2017
@JohnBarrowman Causing a stir amongst the madding crowds at the theatre. Go watch John Barrowman with the Krankies in Dick Whittington. There can be no obvious double entendre opportunities in that Panto, can there……..? People of Manchester get a grip
— Jon Rogan (@jonrogan) December 14, 2017
Wow!! Literally cried with laughter at the @QdosPantomimes Dick Whittington panto at @PalaceAndOpera Packed full of singing, dancing, comedy & innuendo. Whoever had the idea to team up @JohnBarrowman with The Krankies is a genius. #theatre #panto #Manchester #familyfun #pantomime
— Lorraine Foster (@itsafamilyblog) December 12, 2017
Well, I’ve seen some Dicks in my time but John Barrowman certainly pulled a blinder tonight with his at the Opera House Manchester pantomime!
Dick Whittington was amazing. Probably the best panto I’ve ever seen! Krankies hysterical! @JohnBarrowman @PalaceAndOpera @TheKrankiesUK
— Glen Clancy (@GlenClancy2) December 12, 2017
I also remember asking my folks several times ‘why is that old Scottish woman dressed up like a schoolboy?’ in my youth.
Kids aren’t that stupid.
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.