Hackney Empire is delighted to announce further casting for Dick Whittington and his Cat and reveal the first cast images of its sparkling new adaptation as it gears up for panto season! Tarinn Callender, who made his West End debut with the original London cast of Hamilton playing Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, will mark his first Hackney panto in the title role of Dick Whittington. The production will also welcome debut panto appearances from Annette McLaughlin (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) as Queen Rat, Christina Tedders (Once The Musical) as Alice Fitzwarren and Sue Kelvin (Caroline, Or Change) as Fairy Bowbells. As previously announced, they will star alongside Hackney stalwarts Grand Dame Clive Rowe who marks a 13th panto appearance, this year starring as Sarah the Cook, the loveable Kat B as Vincent the Cat and the ever trusty Tony Whittle as Alderman Fitzwarren. Dick Whittington and His Cat will run from 23 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, with opening night for press on Wednesday 4 December 2019.
The production marks a record 21st pantomime from Writer and Director Susie McKenna with Original Music by Steven Edis who will once again bring all the Hackney trademark magic and spectacle in a dazzling reimagining of this classic rags-to-riches tale, bursting with laugh-out-loud topical gags, knockabout comedy, show-stopping song and dance numbers, the most boo-able baddies and enough festive cheer to fuel a ship half way round the world.
In Jamaica, young Dick Whittington is boarding the Empire Windrush, chasing the dream of a new life in the gold-paved streets of glorious London. Little does he know, magic awaits him and his enchanted feline friend far across the ocean… He’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime: reuniting with his Mum, fighting rodent royalty, meeting an eccentric fairy and winning the heart of his true love – all whilst trying to find fame and fortune.
Tarinn Callender (Dick Whittington) will make his debut panto performance at the Hackney Empire for Christmas 2019. Tarinn made his West End debut in 2017 playing the dual roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the original London cast of Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre). He also performed with the company at the 2018 Olivier Awards ceremony. His other theatre credits include Paul in Kiss Me, Kate.
Annette McLaughlin (Queen Rat) has performed in numerous West End productions and international tours. Her recent career highlights include Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Palace Theatre), Pinocchio (National Theatre), Billy Elliot (UK Tour), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Matilda (Cambridge Theatre), Volpone, Measure for Measure, Love’s Sacrifice, The Jew of Malta, Written on the Heart (RSC), Kneehigh’s production of Brief Encounter (UK, Australian tour, US tour and Broadway), Chicago (West End) Anything Goes (Drury Lane), Our Town (Almeida Theatre), She Loves Me, 5/11, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying -TMA nomination (Chichester Festival Theatre).
Christina Tedders (Alice Fitzwarren) made her professional and West End debut in the original London cast of Once The Musical (Phoenix Theatre). Other theatre roles include The Commitments (UK Tour), Carmen the Gypsy (NT Studio/Arcola Theatre/Tour), the title role of Maggie May (Liverpool’s Royal Court) and Oranges & Elephants (Hoxton Hall). Her screen credits include ITV’s Victoria.
Sue Kelvin (Fairy Bowbells) recently appeared in Caroline, Or Change at Hampstead Theatre and in the West End transfer at the Playhouse Theatre in the role of Grandma Gellman, and previously as Madame Morrible in Wicked (Apollo). Other credits include Jonathan Kent’s Private Lives (Gielgud Theatre) and Barmitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse). Sue also regularly performs as a jazz and cabaret singer.
Clive Rowe (Sarah the Cook) returns following a triumphant East End comeback in last year’s 20th anniversary production of Aladdin which saw him receive the accolade for Best Dame in the 2019 Great British Pantomime Awards. He has played the Dame in 12 pantomime appearances at Hackney Empire, and previously in Dick Whittington in 2007. He recently appeared in Blues in the Night at the Kiln, also directed by Susie McKenna. Rowe was recognised with an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list. His extensive theatre credits include his Olivier Award-winning performance in Guys and Dolls (National Theatre), The Light Princess, Carousel (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award), Fuente Ovejuna, Caroline, or Change, The Villains Opera, Money, Candide, Peter Pan (all National Theatre), Kiss Me, Kate (Chichester and Old Vic Theatre), The Ladykillers (West End and UK Tour), Me and My Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre) and In The Willows (UK tour). He is well known for his role as Duke in the BBC’s The Story of Tracey Beaker and has been seen in the Disney series The Evermoor.
Kat B (Uncle Vincent the Cat) is a familiar face to Hackney Empire audiences following numerous appearances including as the Genie of the Lamp in last year’s Aladdin, and he has previously performed in Dick Whittington in 2012. Other Hackney pantos include Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, The Wiz and A Christmas Carol. Kat is best known for MTV Base where he has presented shows around the world. His film and television credits include Waterland and Street Wise (BBC) and the Richard Blackwood Show (Channel 4). He is also the resident host of the Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.
Tony Whittle (Alderman Fitzwarren) is a seasoned Empire panto performer most recently seen as Sergeant Dumplin’ in Aladdin in 2018. His many previous pantomimes include Sleeping Beauty, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Mother Goose. Other extensive theatre credits include Les Misérables (Palace Theatre), Neville’s Island (Bolton Octagon), Fur Coat and No Knickers (Nottingham Playhouse), A View From the Bridge (Greenwich Theatre), and three seasons at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Dick Whittington and His Cat brings together the creative team of Writer and Director Susie McKenna, Original Music by Steven Edis, Choreographer Richard Roe, Production Design by Lotte Collett, Musical Direction by Mark Dickman, Lighting Design by David Howe and Sound Design by Daniel Higgott.
Tickets for Dick Whittington and His Cat are now on sale at www.hackneyempire.co.uk.