Theatre Review: DICK TRACY – The Lowry, Salford

Le Navet Bete Dick Tracy

Sharp, slick and silly, DICK TRACY is a fast-paced, slapstick romp that will have you crying with laughter

Director John Nicholson teams up once again with the award-winning Le Navet Bete to present DICK TRACY, a highly energy, slightly bonkers, physical comedy about the world-famous detective.

Based loosely on the comic book character of the 1930s, DICK TRACY follows the crime fighter and all round good guy as he attempts to stay one-step ahead of the criminals and clean up the city. After catching his team red-handed during a jewellery heist, the evil Big Boy Caprice cooks up a dastardly plot to discredit Tracy and get him banged up and out of the way. Will Tracy be able to save the day, get the girl and get to the bottom of who’s causing the mayhem? Or is the truth is closer than he thinks?

Silly, slick and incredibly funny, DICK TRACY is a fast-paced, slapstick romp that will have you crying with laughter. The innovative show combines physical comedy and original live music, with dance, visual jokes and plenty of slapstick, to deliver a sharp, slick and tightly-honed comedy show that is incredibly entertaining to watch.

Unlike other physical comedies which are renowned for having weak plots, the storyline to DICK TRACY is surprisingly clever. The bonkers but brilliant plot (written by Le Navet Bête and director John Nicholson) is told at breakneck speed, with the highly-skilled actors winning over the audience with their lightning quick costume changes and authentic American accents.

Dick Tracy Le Navet Bete

The show is performed by the highly-skilled touring troupe of four – made up of Alex Dunn, Matt Freeman, Nick Bunt and Dan Bianchi – who dance, sing and clown their way through the fast-paced plot, playing numerous characters.

Bianchi is hilarious as the square-jawed, hard-hitting, fast-shooting hero Dick Tracy, who uses his baddie biffing skills to sniff out the bad guys red-handed, before deciding to let them go, much to the annoyance of his long suffering girlfriend Tess Trueheart.

Bunt is equally brilliant as the big, bad, baddie Caprice, capturing the essence of evil with his hideously ugly face mask and malicious laugh.

Freeman and Dunn play the idiotic partners in crime, Cueball and Flat Top, as well as a myriad of other characters including Tess Trueheart, Police Chief Brandon and the nightclub owner Freddie.

The highlight of the show is when Cueball and Flat Top, who are bored of being legitimate, decide to menace the audience with a game of biscuit baseball, covering the whole crowd in bread and biscuits. The brilliant opening song of act two, which is performed in the style of LES MISERABLES, also stands out for its originality and sheer comic genius.

But it’s Alex Dunn who truly steals the show with his nightclub performance as Caprice’s girlfriend Careless Whisper. The comic actor has the audience in stitches as he belts out a musical number whilst straddling an unsuspecting audience member in his silky red dress.

A special mention must go to set designer Phil Eddolls who’s cleverly folding set design opens to reveal a Gotham City-style backdrop, as well as Dick Tracy’s bedroom, a nightclub, jail, the bad boy’s den and the police chief’s office.

Barmy, brilliant and utterly bonkers, DICK TRACY is a full-on slapstick romp that has the bad guys in handcuffs and the audience in stitches.

5 out of 5 stars

DICK TRACY was reviewed at The Lowry on 24 March 2016.