Cat's the way to do it: Leamington pantomime review

Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre.
Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre.

Dick Whittington, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington, shows until December 30.

Cats have tended to fare pretty well as fictional heroes in entertainment through the ages.

Sean Dodds and JP McCue in Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre.

Sean Dodds and JP McCue in Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre.

Puss in Boots, 'rebooted' in the massively popular Shrek films, is one example.

Hollywood A-Listers Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway have all appeared as the Catwoman.

And, of course, the movie phenomenon which was Marvel's Black Panther was released in February.

Having the feline character as the action star of the show works just as well for this year's Leamington pantomime Dick Whittington.

Kieran Morris and Chris Gage in Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre

Kieran Morris and Chris Gage in Dick Whittington at the Royal Spa Centre

Chris Gage as the titular character's sidekick Tommy the Cat brings an acrobatic energy to the stage, which is a welcome new addition to dame and writer JP McCue's tried, tested and successful formula.

Throughout the show, multi-talented Gage displays tumbling and martial arts skills and even dons a pair of roller blades at one point.

He's worth the admission fee alone, but there's a lot more going on here.

McCue is in top form and obviously delighted to bring another of his scripts to the Spa Centre stage cracking in-jokes with his right-hand man and generally- and genuinely - funny bloke Sean Dodds as Silly Simon.

Chris Gage's acrobatic performance as Tommy the Cat is one of the highlights of the show.

Chris Gage's acrobatic performance as Tommy the Cat is one of the highlights of the show.

Again, and as expected, the pair are a driving force behind the weird and wonderful antics which ensue.

Returning as the villain, Denise Pitter proves again that she's good at being bad in her role as Queen Rat

And a happy coincidence for the show is that with his north eastern accent, Kieran Morris might remind some of Declan Donnely, who is again currently entertaining TV audiences with his cheeky style on I'm A Celebrity.

The story - about rise of a London folk legend - is serviceable and, as ever with McCue's scripts, allows the various cast members to tie easily together some famous songs ranging from Abba's Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) to A Million Dreams from the recent musical film sensation The Greatest Showman.

If the latter will, no doubt, appeal to the younger audience members there's also references to the 'flossing' dance craze and the sounds of the earworm song Baby Shark which will grab their attention.

And with familiar 'custard pie', UV dance, Twelve Days of Christmas and 'look behind you' routines thrown in there's plenty in this show for panto goers young and old to sink their claws into and to be left purring contently afterwards.

For more information or to book tickets please call 334418 or visit www.royalspacentreandtownhall.co.uk