Home » London Theatre Reviews » The Legend Of Moby Dick Whittington from Sleeping Trees | Review

The Legend Of Moby Dick Whittington from Sleeping Trees | Review

I think it’s fair to say that Christmas is likely to be a bit… unusual this year. Traditions will be changed, albeit temporarily, and celebrations seem set to be rather muted.

Joshua George Smith, James Dunnell-Smith and John Woodburn, The Sleeping Trees
Joshua George Smith, James Dunnell-Smith and John Woodburn, The Sleeping Trees
However, there is one tradition that nobody should have to do without, and that is panto! You can toss the turkey, sling the sprouts and pass on the presents… but to do without a panto? Never.

Luckily, the good, brave lads from Sleeping Trees are here to save the day. Jack, John and Josh, along with their producer Alice, are not about to let a little thing like being stuck indoors defeat them; they are going to move heaven and earth, along with a fair bit of furniture, to bring us the Christmas cheer we all so richly deserve after a trying year. From their sitting room.

Well-known for spoofing genres such as sci-fi and westerns, they also have panto previous with such gems as Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers under their collective belt, so splicing such disparate stories as Moby Dick and Dick Whittington is child’s play to them. And there is a lot of that. A LOT. Unlike some pantos, this one works strictly on one level, and it’s the height of a small child’s head. No sneaky double entendres or sly political references for the grown-ups – this one is not for you. It’s for your small people. And that means it is energetic, loud, colourful and tons of fun. It’s also extremely messy, and as audience participation is practically mandatory, get ready for a certain amount of upheaval in your home.

I’d advise parents to prepare in advance; there are a number of household items that will be needed to help the children create a pirate ship and the interior décor of a whale, amongst other settings, and although they do a rather painful-looking freeze-frame to give you time to fetch them, it’s definitely not long enough. You’ll need sheets, rolled up bits of paper, a spatula, seemingly endless quantities of empty loo rolls – honestly, I can’t remember them all, so do watch the first ten minutes or so by yourselves to familiarize yourselves with the requirements.

Once everything is in place, brace yourselves and enjoy. There is singing, dancing and spirited sword-fighting in spades, as well as a quite extraordinary whale. The boys switch costumes and characters with such verve that it is often easy to forget that there are only three of them playing seemingly thousands of roles. The imagination they display in using standard everyday room settings and objects to draw you into their crazy world is amazing; they have even managed to include the obligatory “he’s behind you!” scene, featuring a very special guest (no spoilers!).

It’s crazy, it’s Christmassy, and it’s for kids. And, at a manageable fifty minutes, it’s likely to hold everybody’s attention. Leave your worries at the door, and let Sleeping Trees bring a little joy into your home this Christmas.

5 Star Rating

Review by Genni Trickett

While many live pantomimes may not be able to go ahead this Christmas, Sleeping Trees are bringing the magic of panto into your living room with The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington. Streaming into your homes throughout December, this epic adventure from this much-loved company will ensure that the whole family have a whale of a time.

Mayor of London, Dick Whittington, is turning on the Christmas lights of London for the very first time. But, when a giant white whale swims into the Thames and swallows Santa Claus whole, Dick, his trusty sidekick Cat, and a whole host of fairy-tale favourites, must embark on a quest to stop Christmas being ruined forever.

With talking rats, cats, original music and plenty of chances to join-in, The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington is an unmissable festive treat for the whole family this Christmas. Sleeping Trees, the creative team behind the critically acclaimed Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers at Battersea Arts Centre in 2019, will maintain their tradition of creating exciting and engaging pantomimes that the whole family can interact with as they would in a live theatre setting.

Writers:  John Woodburn, James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith, Ben Hales

Performers: James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith, John Woodburn
Director Kerry Frampton
Music and Sound Ben Hales
Director of Photography Shaun Reynolds
Producer Alice Carter

Website https://www.thesleepingtrees.co.uk/
Age Guidance: Suitable for all ages


  • Genni Trickett

    Genni is one of the senior reviewers for LondonTheatre1.com, contributing regularly with reviews for London and regional shows. Genni has been passionate about theatre from an early age, performing in various productions throughout school and university. She is currently an enthusiastic member of an amateur dramatic society in South West London. Her favourite thing about living in London is the breath-taking variety of shows and theatrical talent. https://www.facebook.com/genevieve.trickett

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1 thought on “The Legend Of Moby Dick Whittington from Sleeping Trees | Review”

  1. Andy and Ruth Mutter

    We took our grown up sons and daughter and 3 grandchildren to watch The Sleeping Trees production at Battersea Arts Centre last Christmas. It was awesome!

    Everyone of all ages from 5 to 65 enjoyed it so much! I would whole heartedly recommend.

    Our daughter and grandchildren are stuck in KL Malaysia this Christmas so we were so pleased to see the group are streaming a panto this year that we can all sit down together, virtually, and watch together.

    Well Done and a big thank you toThe Sleeping Trees for helping us all enjoy a moment together after this awful year.

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