Dick Whittington

Date 27th January 2024
Society Morpeth Pantomime Society
Venue King Edward IV School Morpeth
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Lee Brannigan-Howes
Musical Director Lee Brannigan-Howes
Producer Lee Brannigan-Howes
Written By Lee Brannigan-Howes


Author: Sue Wood

Well, my last visit to a pantomime performed by Morpeth Pantomime Society was during Storm Arwen when thousands of people across England were without power and transport networks suffered disruption following Storm.

About 40,000 customers in the North East were waiting for power supplies to be reconnected and I was there as a member of the audience. This Society were not going to be thwarted from putting on their show and they brought in generators on the Saturday afternoon and were determined that the show had to go on. Tonight, there were no such barriers but their commitment to performing excellent entertainment for the audience is as strong as ever. They were a well-rehearsed “team” that shone with pride at what they had achieved.

Dick Whittington is one of the main pantomime titles presented throughout the UK based on the real-life Lord Mayor of London Richard Whittington and proves to be a popular choice with both the cast and the audience.

Pantomime tradition was maintained with the baddie and the goody.  In this pantomime the baddie was Queen Rat played by Sarah Farnsworth Watson who showed excellent characterisation and donned perfect make up and costume. Queen Rat could not be mistaken as the person we needed to boo! Her vocal of Born this Way was powerful and perfectly chosen for the part of Queen Rat.

To balance bad and good we had Suzi Hutton who took the role of the good – Fairy Bowbells. She was easy to like and the audience warmed to her. She was the opposite to Queen Rat. Her costume was beautiful and befitting of a Fairy.

Praise has to go to Fenwick, George Humphries who played the pantomime fool. His smile beamed throughout the show as he played to the audience. Fenwick and the Dame led the audience sing a long with us all singing My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. We were made to stand and engage in the actions. The words to the song were projected onto the backdrop of the stage so no one had an excuse not to sing. Fenwick succeeded in achieving a running gag throughout the performance.

Dame Sarah Fitzwarren was played by Lee Brannigan-Howes. I lost count of the number of costume changes and the short time The Dame had between changes. It was demanding and I am sure exhausting. This Dame brightened up the stage with his comedic timing. Commendation must go to Lee for the work he has done not only in a stage role but also in writing, directing and producing this pantomime that was vibrant throughout.

Every ship must have a Captain and on board this ship was Captain Cockles played by Alan Bullock. His duet with the Dame, Love was Made for Me and  You was a joy to listen to.

Morpeth Pantomime Society have members of the cast who are talented vocalists Dick Whittington (Jane Pederson) and Alice Fitzwarren (Martha Gammer) sang Love is an Open Door convincingly as a couple in love.

I also enjoyed the adaptation of Status Quo’s famous recording rocking All Over the World being modified on ship as Sailing All Over the World. The chorus of sailors in their sailor’s costumes was lively and powerful to watch. Well done to the chorus. It was following the storm at sea that some of us in the audience got a soaking. All part of pantomime fun.

If you have a cat (Leah Harvey) you need some rats. Who else would Queen Rat rule. The Rattling’s were clearly rats in their convincing costumes and stage movements. We also had an Ape (Tom Sharp) Well done Tom. Oh, and not to forget the ships Parrot, Priscilla (Duncan Hutton)

Maneater the Sultaness (Laura Street) danced and sang Let’s get Loud in true party style. I understand the role was shared with Gill Ayre who I am sure was equally entertaining.

Morpeth Pantomime Society have a team of young people who help with technology. This enabled the traditional flashing lights, theatre smoke, loud sounds and backing music all to be delivered without a hitch. What a smooth-running performance and I do not underestimate the magnificent teamwork that delivers such a fabulous show.

Well done and thankyou to everyone involved for such a warm welcome and a thoroughly entertaining night. Look forward to next time.