Dick Whittington

Date 17th February 2022
Society Bocking Theatre Club
Venue Bocking Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Margaret Surrey
Musical Director Sue Edwards
Choreographer Amy Edwards


Author: Hazel Hole

I was warmly welcomed on arrival by Pru Page, Production Secretary and I had the opportunity to talk with Director and Producer, Margaret Surrey both during the interval and at the end.

What a magical, comedy pantomime this was, from the very beginning ! The show opened with a rousing chorus of Help, with all cast on stage and Fairy Bowbells (Tamar Cumberbatch ) set the scene. Evil King Rat ( James Hughes) encouraged the audience to boo and hiss whenever he appeared and the audience responded magnificently. Five small ratlings followed King Rat everywhere and they also reacted with the audience with menacing looks and actions but they looked so adorable and were definitely enjoying themselves.

The Dame, Sarah the Cook ( Gareth Jordan-Burrows) made a grand and noisy entrance through the audience in a wheelbarrow and there followed much comedy action in getting out of the barrow. He immediately established a terrific rapport with the audience who loved his antics and ad-libbing. Gareth excelled in this role and never lost an opportunity to crack a joke and rouse the audience. He also assisted the Director and Producer in her role.

Idle Jack, played by Isaac Jordan-Burrows, was a laid back, rather simple character, well interpreted by Isaac. Another strong performance, especially the feigned drunkenness.

Dick Whittington, played by Alex Goodchild, was a traditional principal boy role, well delivered by Alex with plenty of thigh slapping thrown in. Tommy the Cat, a major role played by Lucy Ellis, was incredibly good with some amazing facial expressions. Well done, Lucy.

Tony Gilbert, as Alderman Fitzwarren, was a serious character, rather full of his own importance as the shopkeeper, and doubled this role with that of his twin,Captain Horatio Fitzwarren, the Sea Captain. Tony was well suited to these roles and did well.

Autumn Jenner, as Alice Fitzwarren, was a sweet and gentle character, falling in love with Dick and they sang a lovely duet together.

Penny Pickman was a rather austere Empress of Morocco and there were a number of chorus roles as citizens, sailors, guards and attendants.

The show finished with all cast on stage dancing and singing Sweet Caroline.

A small band delivered good support to the singers and Steph Felton provided backing vocals for the singers.

For a small society, the sets were extraordinarily good. Designed by Terry Surrey, there was an excellent set for Alderman Fitzwarren's store, a wonderfully exotic palace setting and, my favourite, a ship moored at the Wapping docks. There was a magical UV under water scene which impressed. The sets were changed swiftly whilst front of tabs action took place and I congratulate Terry, as Stage Manager and the stage crew for their work.

Costumes were well chosen and complimented the characters and the lighting and sound were most effective.

This was village hall panto at it's very best with an uncomplicated script which allowed the actors to interpret their own roles and to ad-lib as necessary. Congratulations to everyone involved both on and off stage !

Many congratulations to Director, Margaret Surrey for her vision in bringing this excellent panto to the Bocking Stage.

The audience loved it and so did I.