Spider brings Lyric panto to a halt

A spider literally stole the limelight in Friday night’s performance of Dick Whittington at the Lyric Hammersmith. I was in row B and had a clear view of a large spider dangling from a very long thread about a foot in front of the stage at the actors’ eyeline.

Watching it wriggle around in the spotlight I was completely distracted by it. Then the actors noticed it. Luke Latchman (Dick Whittington) lost his composure and stuttered to a halt as he clocked it right in front of his face. Kesiah Joseph (Tom the cat) bounced across to try and help him out, then she too noticed it and lost the plot and it took them a little while to regain their composure. Jodie Jacobs (Bow Belles) saved the day. She marched across the stage, seized the spider’s thread between finger and thumb and escorted it off the stage to riotous applause.

The pantomime is great fun. The Lyric is celebrating ten years of panto this year and always has six young actors doing their first proper paid roles on the stage, so it’s full of youthful exuberance. Carl Mullaney (ex Arts Ed, usually to be found hosting cabaret in the Freedom Bar in Soho) steals the show as the dame, but even he is upstaged by his own fabulous costumes.