Dick Whittington – St Paul’s Players
As we enter a New Year, St Paul’s players are in the midst of panto and have delivered a cracker with Alan Frayne’s Dick Whittington, complete with a trip to Morocco.
The opening number was rousing with a modern song choice, showing off the skills of the ensemble as they performed with style. This was the case throughout, from the cute little ones to the older ensemble, who together took this production to the next level.
The prologue was well delivered by a convincing Queen Rat, safe in the hands of Siobhan Edge who sinister musings kept us on our toes, until her timely comeuppance. Keeping Queen Rat on her toes, Jane McQueen is a delight as Fairy Bowbells, with clear delivery and a nice stage presence too. Their interactions were convincing.
As Alderman Fitzwarren stresses about his sales targets, he has a cunning plan which includes a trip to Morocco. David Greenfield is at home with this role and assisting him are Captain Cuttlefish and his first mate, Scupper. Judith Armstrong is a fine Captain and Leanne Romney is hilarious as Scupper. They make the ideal comedy couple.
The arrival of Dick Whittington and his cat add more stresses and strains, thanks to the meddling of Queen Rat. Meredith Atherton is a first-rate Dick Whittington, vocally sound and looking good, and Ebony Williams-Goodman is excellent as Tom the Cat, complete with great dancing ability and vocal skills.
As Dick takes a job in the store, he soon falls for the Alderman’s daughter, Alice, portrayed with charm by Eadie Gosling. Her duets with Dick Whittington were lovely to hear.
Comedy is a big part of panto, keeping the audience engaged is a big part of panto, and casting suitable actors in these roles is a big part of getting it right. No worries here then as Dax Owen, (Dolly Dumpling) and Gareth Mabon, (Idle Jack) are both well-seasoned in this art form. They come into their own from their first entrance to the final bow. Gareth knows how to work an audience and is always an instant hit, and Dax, with his own style, gets the audience on board and sustains throughout.
Completing the cast, St Paul’s favourite, Jacqui Brian plays a scintillating Sultana. A lovely cameo performance.
As is expected from St Pauls, costumes are great, scenery is top class and scene changes by the stage crew are seamless.
Production team, Director, Graham Cohen, Assistant Director, Dax Owen and Choreographer, Lorraine Brown have presented a fun filled family panto with super choreography, and clear direction that ensured each and every joke and comic moment hit the right spot.
Paul Cohen – BATS 02/01/23