Dick Turpin the Panto written by Beverley Beveridge

Date 23rd January 2016
Society Benenden Players
Venue Benenden Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Beverley Beveridge
Musical Director Graham Beveridge


Author: Anne Lawson

~~Another super script from Beverley Beveridge bending the history of ‘stand and deliver’ notorious Dick Turpin, with the idea developed on the spying of poster mentioning highwaymen in the local hostelry. We have a Dame, village shop owner, Lotta Dumplings assisted by simple son Seymour, who surprises us all, and the lovely Lucy Luscious for whom he has a soft spot.  Cheeky smugglers supplied the store and the Cock and Bull, with filched goods. Fly in the ointment The Squire, a mean man sees fit to help himself and there’s no comeback as most of the villagers are his tenants. Upsetting the system, DT arrives and makes himself known by stealing from the honest smugglers! Seymour decides to impress Lucy, takes on a James Bond persona, forms a police force made up of well known ‘mini’ super sleuths to apprehend dastardly DT.  Together they get their man, disguised as a man of the cloth! 
Graham B provided a great sound on his keyboard. Well known titles were played on arrival with Robin Vesma on his new electric Double Bass, with Simon Pain, making his debut this side of stage drumming, for last year he was stage crew – SM John Clarke naturally reluctant to let him go!  Hours of hard work collating and rehearsing culminated in an excellent performance from band, soloists and ensemble.
Sturdy, glossy, coloured 16 page A5 programme, cover depicting crossed duelling pistols plus black mask of Dick Turpin, complete with NODA crest and wording, albeit it small, put together by Ruth Clark and produced by Cogent Partnership. 
With sponsor support the construction team created and painted a fine village store, full of character, and splendid Cock & Bull interior. This year the use of gauze drops certainly made for an easier workload for backstage crew and looked most effective. 
First class costumes from Ruth, Dee Shelley, Kath Malaugh and Mad Hatters of Bodiam. The youngsters were smugglers complete with tricorns and stripes, and various sleuths with detailed finishing touches, Colombo carrying a large cigar, Miss Marple a handbag, Sherlock Holmes deerstalker and curly pipe and so on. Lotta Dumpling’s garb was truly outrageous, colourful, with makeup to equal.  Parson disguise certainly fooled, using a central hair parting and ‘Dick Emery’ teeth aka Turpin, later exposed himself in full highwayman regalia. Neat waisted, full skirted, in pink with hair to match, gave us a lovely Lucy Luscious.  Not forgetting the delights of Margate, Lola Bidot and Lilo Lil dressed in fine sequinned and feathered cabaret style, plus The Farmer and his wonderful manure dropping Horse. The nasty Squire sported a revealing pair of combinations, whilst Seymour transformed himself from tank-topped Frank Spencer lookalike to dashing, debonair, shaken not stirred, Benenden’s own James Bond action man.
A big team effort from those on the upper shelf, maintaining good sound levels, with lighting and effects well cued. A pantomime with real local influence and reaction from the audience applauded this - fun from start to finish, well executed, banter flying, even if the Director said they couldn’t change the script, encouraged the actors even more! How ever did prompt Nick Snow keep up?  The Beveridges’ certainly have a winning recipe. We heard excellent solos throughout, supported by ensemble work. Young members were well rehearsed and confident. Male members of the audience were coaxed on stage, donning wigs and boas.  Entrances and exits using the main door and steps up to the stage made for more interaction and putting the audience in range of the water pistol!