Dick Whittington and his Cat
|Date||11th February 2017|
|Society||Melksham Music and Drama|
|Venue||Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Director||Geoff Mitcham, Carol Mitcham & Justin Haggett|
|Choreographer||Katie Mence, Penny Taylor and Justin Haggett|
I wondered how this show could be staged in the limited space of the Rachel Fowler Hall, but this was an inventive and well-planned production that showed off the talents of the group to the full. This was a thoroughly enjoyable pantomime, well performed and very well directed.
The script used was very good, with good opportunities for adaptation to the locale. The production was very well planned, with entrances and exits often taking the audience by surprise – to very good effect. The staging was very creative in playing it almost in the round, along the length of the hall. This enabled the London scene to be set as a shop at one end while the other end became countryside, a ship or Morocco. Using the length of the hall for the dances and songs worked very well indeed, I felt, with the action moving smoothly in the space provided.
The scenery was very well mode, particularly the shop front with door used so much. It never budged an inch! The creation of the boat onstage was fantastic and very well worked, with the steering platform emerging from one end of the stage. The removable wheel was a lovely touch, as was the mast being lowered from the balcony! It was really inventive the way the boat was first at one end of the hall, and then the whole acting space became the deck.
Lighting of the production was good, with nice variety between to the atmosphere of King Rat’s scenes and the sunny days of Dick Whittington and his friends. Sound was vital to this show and was very well done, with recorded sound effects and music for songs and dances coming in right on cue. Sound levels were just right, too.
The costumes for the show were very good, suitable in style and bright in colour. There were some lovely Tudor-style gowns and robes for the chorus at one stage and the costumes for the rats and mice looked good. The masks for the rats were very good. The Dame’s costumes were suitably bright, outrageous and bizarre, with wigs to match.
The choreography was exceptionally well planned and performed, with dancers passing between each other at times with little room to spare. Movements were well co-ordinated and in character – especially by the Dame who played up beautifully. The circle dances were fun, too, with audible ‘one, two three, four’ adding to the well-ordered chaos.
This was a very good production and I hope the rest of the run lives up to the level of the performance I was lucky enough to attend. The songs were well delivered, the energy levels were maintained throughout and the cohesion of the show was very good.