Dick Whittington

Date 13th March 2020
Society Park Productions
Venue Burn Park Methodist Church
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Nick Thompson
Musical Director Suzy Wake
Choreographer Katrina Wake


Author: Peter Oliver

Where does the time go, it’s been two years since Park Productions performed there last pantomime Aladdin; and it’s a true saying that time doesn’t stand still, it was so nice to see existing members as well as some new faces appear on stage but what remained the same was the energy and commitment from both the cast and the production team as they took us on a journey to London following Dick Whittington and his cat in pursuit of fame and fortune. Under the Direction of Nick Thompson who ensured that all the important ingredients were intertwined throughout the production resulting in an audience pleasing performance. Music was in the capable hands of Suzy Wake; who ensured that the vocals were well delivered from both the principals and the chorus and the choices of musical numbers were appropriate to the production. The set looked fantastic; very appropriate for a pantomime with lots of colour and interest. Well done to Suzanne Armitage as stage manager and the back-stage crew who ensured the smooth operation of props and scene changes were well coordinated; well done to Philip Wake on sound and lighting who ensured that the lighting plot enhanced the production and sound never over shadowed the performers. Costumes looked very authentic and were appropriate for a pantomime and I loved the range of changes which were used for Sarah the cook alias the Panto Dame supplied by the Noreen Reay, ACTS, Vane Tempest Theatre Group and Alan Graham Costumes and finally to the front of house team; John Cater, Alwyn Coats, Margaret Roberts and Maria Thompson who took great care of the audience as well as me and my guest; a big thank you.

I loved the opening to the panto as the audience is introduced to the characters representing good virus evil; portrayed by mother and daughter performers,  Suzy Wake delivered a sterling performance as Fairy Bowbells as she worked her magic to turn evil into good, convincing cockney accent and a confident performance musically I enjoyed her solo number  “There’s Music In You” which was beautifully delivered, on the other hand Katrina Wake played the villain of the panto in the character of Queen Rat and what a spell binding performance; Katrina had the audience booing from the minute she stepped on the stage, excellent characterisation and  interpretation and I loved the costume; well done Katrina on a stand out performance, vocally  I enjoyed her rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” which was confidently delivered her musical number “Good To Be Bad” delivered with help from her Rat Gang.. Playing the lead role Dick Whittington was Hannah Bowerbank, this young lady has certainly matured over the last two years; a confident delivery in this major role with good stage presence and confident vocals; I particularly enjoyed her solo number “I Can Hear The Bells” and her duet “Count On Me” with Tommy the Cat, lovely delivery including a confident dance routine. Playing the Cat; Tommy was Rachel Wigham again a confident performance excellent use of cat gestures used throughout the performance, great costume and face paint and had great interaction with the other cast members, vocally I enjoyed her numbers “Count On Me” with Dick and “Turn Again Whittington” with the Chorus. Corey Clarke delivered a stand out performance as Idle Jack; although Idle in name only for this young performer certainly brought the entertainment to the stage, his larger than life character and personality certainly entertained the audience, a very talented young man; loved his musical solo number “Mad World”  which was confidently delivered as was “ Chu Chi Face” with Sarah the Cook which was very entertaining and his contribution to the panto song “If I Were Not Upon This Ship”; loved how this was delivered. Playing the role of Sarah the Cook alias the panto dame was Jozef Rigo, loved the performance from this new performer to the group, good characterisation and I loved the costumes especially the Heinz Beans costume, lovely interaction with the cast and great delivery of his musical numbers “Fabulous Baby” with Idle Jack; and the audience participation song “A Sailor Went To Sea” with Tommy and the entertaining number “Friendship” with Dick, Alice and Jack. Playing the part of Fitzwarren the rich merchant and the Sea Captain was Nick Thompson; good character performances and a confident vocal contribution to the musical number “Magic To Do” playing his daughter Alice was Francesca Lundie who delivered a stand out performance, this young actress has lots of potential; great stage presence and I loved her duet with Dick “A Million Dreams” which was well sang and acted, well done Francesca on a stand out performance. Due to illness Kathleen Carter stepped in at the last moment to play the part of the Empress, well done Kathleen as always, a trooper and a confident performance. Well done to Chelsea Barker, Charlotte Dodd, Sam Tobin and Connor Woodward who delivered great character performances as the Rat Gang, lovely performances and I loved your gangster costumes certainly added a twist to the story line. 

Congratulations to the members of the chorus who made this pantomime complete; Pauline Gill, Audrey Horton, Abi Mole, Adam Murphy, Pat Punshon, Noreen Reay, Joan Stoddart, June Whitfield and Rob Whitfield all of whom delivered supporting roles including villagers, sailors and guards, well done to you all on your performances; your contribution ensured that the story flowed throughout the production and I particularly enjoyed your company musical numbers; “Celebration”, “All at Sea”;  the opening of Act Two number ”Sweet Marie” and the finale number “Colour My World” a perfect number to end this colourful production.

Well Done to everyone at Park Production on your contribution to Dick Whittington, see you all for your next production whenever that will be, stay well and stay safe.