Dick Whittington

Date 21st December 2018
Society Bath Unity Players
Venue Kingswood School Theatre, Bath
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Katrina Cowie
Musical Director Julie Barratt
Choreographer Katrina Cowie, Deborah Curtis and Lesley Moodie

Report

Author: Dee Way

This was a home-written production including a strong story line and very clear characters, with King Rat as the arch baddie and Tommy the Cat playing a leading role.  The script was very well devised and gave good opportunities for farce, slap stick and some horrible jokes!  So much of this show worked very well indeed.

The Direction was very well planned, with good use of the stage area, exits and entrances.  The characterisation was excellent, the cat being very cat-like, King Rat being aggressively evil and Nelson and Half-Nelson being nicely piratical.  The movement of the cast was very good, with every move having purpose and energy.  The look of the production was creative, with moving film clips used as background and augmented by physical scenery at the sides of the stage.  This allowed the portrayal of underwater scenes to very good effect.  The London backdrop was lovely!

The music was played on a keyboard and drums to good effect, although once the volume of the drums overpowered the script. However, the music was well played and provided good support to the actors and dancers.  

Sound had some hiccups when mics were not on or were left on too long, but otherwise the sound effects were good and well cued. Lighting was very well handled, although sadly some of the projected scenery was lost to the audience due to light interference. However, the use of lighting was otherwise was good.

To return to the action, the costumes were superb, and all created in-house. The tropical Island costumes in particular were sumptuous in colour and decoration while King Rat looked suitably nasty with his long claws and grey whiskers.  Here the make-up really paid off, as King Rat had complete face paint that looked most effective. 

The dancers were superb, and added a lot to the production by interpreting the mood of the action.   The creativity of the movements and the grace with which they were performed was admirable.  Added to this, the dancing by the cast was also very good, with good energy and purpose specially in the shopping scene.

However, it was the actors that made this show come to life.  The characterisations were very good, and the contrast between cast groups was clear and well defined, such as the Nelsons and the Suets. The links between scenes were good and the engagement of the audience was well maintained, while there was great a sense of fun in the production that I am sure would increase as the show ran. Well done to the entire company and dancers for a memorable production.