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Dick Whittington and his Cat

Date

29th December 2017

Society

St Paul's Amateur Dramatic Society (SPADS)

Venue

St Francis’ College Theatre

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Annabel Clarke

Musical Director

Andy Hardy

Choreographer

Annabel Clarke

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

At this time of year you cannot move for the abundance of pantomimes being performed in every area, both professional and amateur. Therefore, in order to keep your audiences attending yours, you must come up with the goods and keep it fresh. SPADS always meet the challenge and this year was no exception. Written by Josh and Lewis Clarke and Directed by Annabel Clarke, this years offering had pace, enthusiasm, colour and energy.

The principals were supported by a very confident chorus, who worked hard and interacted well with the action.

We were treated to a good, strong opening which set the standard for the rest of the performance.

The sets were simple and effective. They were well dressed with tiny detail attended to, making all the difference.

The lighting plot was well designed and complimented the set beautifully. The changes were also smoothly executed.

The 4-piece band, under the direction of Andy Hardy, blended well and was sympathetic to the performers in volume.

Choreography by Annabel Clarke was fresh, imaginative and lively. She created some lovely finishing pictures and her dances were designed for the ability of the dancers.  There were some nice, sharp lines and well rehearsed routines.

The costumes were colourful and fitted well, which completed the whole visual effect.  Well-done everyone.

Noah Clarke was perfectly cast in the title role. He had a commanding presence on stage and a wonderful relationship with all members of the cast.  His strong vocals were well balanced by his gentle yet vocally strong Principal Girl, Ylana Schafer Thomson, who gave a confident performance.

Kanyin Jolaosho as the villain of the piece, King Rat, created a superb character and worked well with Molly Hughes and Jordon Clarke as his side kicks Onion and Garlic respectively. Great energy here. I would like to see these two young performers work together again in the future as they develop their craft.

The Dame, Sarah the Cook, was beautifully underplayed by Peter Wright, with good comic timing and confident interplay with the audience, who on the afternoon I attended were mostly children. This actor knew just how to place the jokes so no one could possibly be offended. A master class in how to play Dame!

Fairy of the Bells played by Freya Wright did well with some difficult dialogue but needed to slow the pace down a little so that the younger members of the audience, the ones you want to believe that you are a real fairy, could get the gist of what you are saying and command the stage whenever you appear.

Tommy the Cat played by Debbie Stoten worked well with Dick Whittington but I would liked to have seen more cat like movements and was it really necessary for Tommy to sing along with the chorus?

Finally Jack played by Josh Clarke was every child’s wish for a silly, naughty, cheeky best friend. Great bond with the audience and the kids loved him, so did I!! Great facial expressions and body language. Fabulous performance, well done.

The choice of music was well planned, and Andy Hardy’s occasional change of lyrics localised the songs and made them more fitting to the tale.

Everyone in this company pulled together to produce the magical nonsense that is panto, and all I can say is ' job done!’  The audience were sent home with a smile on their faces and the children went to bed dreaming of happy ever afters. Well done all.