Dick Whittington

Date 12th December 2021
Society Cowes Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society
Venue Trinity Theatre, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Type of Production Pantomime
Director John Abraham
Musical Director Luke Mulhern
Producer John Abraham


Author: Christine Blow

The Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society are renowned for their pantomimes and it was a shame that on this Sunday matinee, and their final show, only half the seats had been taken. This is just a sign of these strange Pandemic times and no bad reflection on them. They are, rightly so, always well supported and always extremely welcoming. The cast were undeterred, however, and soon warmed up the audience and achieved the necessary atmosphere for a traditional panto. The children in the audience loved it! Even the young boy who screamed out ‘She’s scary!’

The colourful programme was informative and attractive, included photos of the cast together with a word search plus notification of their next production. The synopsis was very welcome and prepared us for a fusion of the traditional Dick Whittington story together with a mix of the Pied Piper of Hamelin and the plague of rats.

Costumes in this show were outstanding and very detailed. King Rat and Sarah the Cook both looked amazing. The rat costume looked rather uncomfortable and full credit to Dinah Bowman who must have suffered with the long nose and very warm costume. The talented and funny, Paul Stevens, as the Dame had several changes, including wigs, the results of which were very vibrant. The make up was very effective and some of the best I have seen locally. Full credit to Aimee Howard for her artistry.

The set changed many times and was impressive with great attention to detail. Fitzwarren Shop and the ship were both plausible and well thought out. The props were cleverly designed and equally impressive. The stuffed rats thrown onto the stage made the children in the audience shriek.

Overall the singing was good, particularly ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Celebrate’. The ‘Eternal Flame’ duet between the lovers was lovely and earned well deserved loud applause. The choreography was relatively simple but very effective and all the cast appeared to be enjoying themselves. It is always so good to see smiling and cheerful faces. Steve Taverner demonstrated his tap-dancing skills which were impressive and another string to his bow. As Alderman Fitzwarren, the shop owner, he also delivered a long alliterative speech, not once but twice and this was done faultlessly.  A mention must go to the band, comprising Luke Mulhern and Ed Jager, who were excellent both musically and in their interaction with the cast.

There were two changes to the cast and full credit should go to John Abraham for taking on the role of Idle Jack from Aimee Howard who then took on the role of Alice. The minimal use of the script did not detract from the performance and Aimee appeared confident and gave a very good performance despite only having one week’s notice. Whilst Tommy the Cat did not have any lines, Lexi Skeldon-Downer lit up the stage with her miming and movement. Dinah Bowman’s interpretation of King Rat was superb and she was a suitably sinister but enjoyable presence on stage.

Overall maybe the pace could have been quicker but it was the last performance however, the show was entertaining and certainly enlivened a miserable grey December day. Congratulations to all the cast and crew. This was the first time that John Abraham had directed anything on the Isle of Wight and he should be very proud.