Dick Whittington and his Cat
10th December 2017
Grange & District Amateur Operatic Society
Victoria Hall, Grange
Type of Production
Jean and Mick Malkin
Author: Martin Craig
Like all good pantomimes 'Dick Whittington and his Cat ' is a moral tale about good triumphing over evil. The story follows Dick, his cat and a few other characters through London, on board a ship, under the sea and the shores of Morocco finally (Spoiler Alert) defeating King Rat to save the day, and in doing so, wins the hand of Alice Fitzwarren, his one true love (who he`d only met an hour earlier). There`s nothing like a good Panto to make you smile- and this was nothing like a good Panto- it was a great panto! In fact, Alan Frayn`s Dick Whittington is possibly one of the best scripted panto`s I have seen/ known- from the moment King Rat and his minions came through the auditorium `til curtain down, there was something to tickle your ribs- so many characters, all with their own style, but every one of them so well written and with plenty to do, you never tired of them being onstage.
Faye Hill shone as Dick Whittington. She has an easy way about her, and this came across to the audience well, her assured acting, great singing and thigh slapping had us rooting for her/him from the start. Emily-Kate Unsworth played Tom, Dick`s Cat with grace-wonderful feline movement, displaying her talents as a dancer and performer. Caitlin Mason was delightful as Alice Fitzwarren with Toby Wright playing her (Yorkshire) father, Alderman Fitzwarren . With great stage presence, he played it more akin to bad TV host than an Alderman, and with an accent a mixture between Yorkshire and Lancashire, pulled it off- this was definitely not a case of No likey, no lighty!
Dolly Dumpling and Idle Jack (Amy Shepherd and Reece Carter) kept the pace and the jokes flowing, Reece managing to get the audience to tell him to “pull his socks up” at every opportunity and Amy making the most of being a dame playing a dame- which is probably a lot harder than you think, as all the innuendo and one liners are generally aimed at a male dame. Well done!
The comedy duo of Captain Cuttlefish and Scupper, the Captain`s Mate (Tom Shepherd and Alice Payne), were on top form throughout and had the audience in stitches.
Zoe Tunnadine played a `steampunk-esque` Fairy Bowbells, with a cockney accent to boot! Great interpretation!
Of course, you can`t have Dick Whittington without a King Rat. What can I say, James Mason’s King Rat was excellent- this was James’ last panto with Grange, and what a way to go out in style, the audience loved to hate him and he relished it all- he loved his boos, and occasionally liked to get hissed-which will hold him in good stead for when he leaves for university!
Prince Rat, The Sultan and Victoria (Alice`s friend) played by Max Burrow, Izzie Shires and Martha Rand ably supporting the rest of the cast in what was obviously a fun show to do.
There were so many other roles, far too many to mention them all, but every single person up there looked like they really enjoyed it- as did the audience.
All chorus and solo numbers were well drilled, with everybody knowing the words and moves- all solos/duets were well sung, and kept to a couple of verses to keep the pace going, this also helps stop the audience fidgeting.
It was quite a long show at 2 Hours 45 Minutes (with interval), and probably needed to be to pack as much as they could into it-for me, the undersea sequence didn`t work, but there seemed to be a technical issue which drew it out longer than necessary, but let`s face it, if that`s the only thing I picked up on as being an issue…..
No MD as such, but am sure Director/Producers Jean and Mick Malkin will have had their hand in there! I must admit, I like to see and hear an orchestra rather than backing tracks, but within a few minutes you don`t realise/notice that they`re missing, such was the pace. Modern songs as well as Abba classics- you can`t go wrong
Choreography by Katie Gregory was good and intelligently set to the level of everyone on stage.
Director/Producers Jean and Mick Malkin must have had a ball working on this one, and their hard work was up there for all to see. This is indeed a brilliant script, but could easily be wasted if the talent isn`t there to perform it………… Absolutely no fear of that!
Thank you, Grange and District Amateur Operatic Society, for an entertaining afternoon, and for your hospitality.