Dick Whittington and His Cat – A Pantomime by Louise Anne Bateman
You may think you know the story of Dick Whittington, but you’ve never heard the secret tale of his cat, Sampson! Is London a city where the streets are paved with gold, or do rats run riot? Can love conquer all when the most beautiful girl in the world is already engaged? And is it possible for an enchanted prince to break the spell that turned him feline? Sorcery and surprises, high-jinks and hilarity abound in this new adaption of the traditional tale of the Lord Mayor of London!
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Dick Whittington - Lynne Fever
Sampson - Jonny Jones
Alice Fitzwarren - Kirsty Franks
Cecily Fitzwarren - Jonathan Hope
Alderman Fitzwarren - Darren Howe
Lord Verrmean - Adrian Locke
Lee - Glen Cowlard
The Narrator - Nita Graham
Reviewed by Jackie Kenyon
This was my first visit to the Studio at The Hawth in Crawley and I was pleasantly surprised. From the moment I stepped in I was transported back to olden London.
This show was written by one of the society members who was also a cast member, and was very cleverly put together. It had all the elements of traditional pantomime - with an added twist of the narrator - played by Nita Graham, who interacted at times with the cast which I really liked.
The set was cleverly designed for such a small space, transforming from a London shop in act one to on board ship for act two.
Sound is always challenging in a small venue - only one cast member had a radio mic- I'm presuming as she had a much quieter voice than others, however, I did struggle to hear some of the principles during musical numbers over the backing tracks and also over the chorus singing, which was a shame , so perhaps more mics could have been used.
The cast was made up of a large number of youngsters which was lovely to see. They performed beautifully and looked as if they were enjoying themselves. I did feel that at times they were a little restricted for space due to the small playing area and perhaps they could have been split into smaller groups to perform at different times. There were also some strong dancers within the group who it might have been nice to use more during the show as a smaller dancing group. It's always great to see youngsters involved and enjoying themselves.
The adult cast told the story well and took us through the usual pantomime journey - booing and hissing and joining in as a good audience should!!
Lynne Fever as Dick was a very strong principle boy - played of course traditionally by a female. She engaged well with the audience and took us confidently on her journey with her. She had a very strong singing voice which I had no trouble hearing.
Her interactions with Sampson the Cat, played by Jonny Jones, were excellent and they became quite a comedy duo as time went on.
Jonny was very impressive as the Cat and I was surprised to read that this was his first principle role- he was confident and kept my attention throughout the whole show.
'Lee' was played admirably by Glen Cowlard. Playing a comedy role can be quite a challenge and holds a responsibility to get the audience 'on your side' and engaged with you. Glen achieved all of this and worked very hard throughout the show giving it his 'all'. He was great to watch and looked at ease in this part.
Jonathan Hope as Cecily Fitzwarren, the dame, looked delightful and I loved 'her' outfits. Adrian Locke was convincing as the baddy. Kirsty Franks was suitably vulnerable as Alice Fitzwarren and Darren Howe completed the cast as Alderman Fitzwarren.
The performance was very well received by the audience who noticably enjoyed themselves, interacting well and making the appropriate noises at the appropriate times!!
A lovely 'feel good' show which the cast very obviously enjoyed performing - which of course is the most important thing!