Thursday, 18 January 2018

“Dick Whittington & His Cat” by the Young Performers
Duchess Theatre.
Just when you think panto season was over (oh no it’s not!), well it’s not quite over yet. And let’s face it panto isn’t just for Christmas after all.
Another way of looking it is that now all the other pantos are out of the way, what better time to put on another show, the competition is drastically reduced, so you could say that this is good planning all round.
Written by Lauren Riley, this really is a funny piece of theatre. the jokes are new and they don't try to be too clever which is what makes the jokes funny.
i loved this panto for several reasons, so let me expand.
Millen Scrivener (Dick) is a confident young actor with a very pleasant voice. Her pairing with her cat, Tommy, played by Emma-Jane Peel was believable and together they worked well.
Millen's other pairing, with Alice (Megan Thomas) was also well thought out and they worked well together, especially in the duet of "Embraceable You" which, while may have been just a bit old fashioned a song for this fresh panto, did show off the pair's voices well.
Molly Parkinson (The Good Fairy) played her part well and looked as delicate a fairy as you could wish for. But the tougher side came out when battling the evil King Rat.
Playing this particular baddie was Jake Truman, and he really got into the part well, extracting hisses and boos from the audience, just like a good panto baddie should.
Loved the make up for King Rat but the programme didn't mention who did the make up but whoever you are mysterious person, well done, it made Jake look the part.
Joe Downing played Mr Fitzwarren, and another confident performer in this cast. Instantly likeable and good at expressing various emotions in this role, which isn't always easy for a young actor to do. A solid performance form an easy to watch actor.
The Sultans are played by Ryan Yates and Finlay Dilks. Panto is all about pairings. This is another lovely pairing and these two add to the comedy of the panto in their physical appearance and their character names, which I'm not going to give away as that is where a good chunk of the comedy arises.
Harvey Tavener plays Jammy, son of Dame Geraldine. Harvey is a very confident performer. He is another likeable performer who can sing and dance well who also is a natural actor. He seems quite at home working with the audience as he does working with the rest of the cast, and this shows a great maturity doe such a young man.
George Parkinson, doe me, has the hardest role playing Dame Geraldine. His confidence in this role is a joy to watch and he could be a natural Dame going forward as he is not afraid of the role. George too works well with the audience and can control them. He also ad libbed well when part of the set from the previous scene was left on stage. He and Harvey dealt with this oversight really professionally.
Making is Directorial debut is Zak Charlesworth, and this is no easy job by any stretch of the imagination, but the boy done good and everything on stage went off extremely smoothly with no sign of the legs paddling like crazy under the water.
Lauren Riley not only wrote this gem but choreographed it as well. The choreography was very tight and, again, another reason for my loving this panto. Every one involved in the ensemble were so enthusiastic which makes watching them an absolute joy.
A very professional set designed and built by Roydon Charlesworth also created to house the band, Musically directed by Leon Wade they were several feet in the air over the back of the set which left the stage uncluttered and allowed for the stage extension to feature the cast and not the band, who produced a sound which was comfortable to hear and didn't drown any of the singers. A nice compliment to the actors and ensemble.
Lighting, as usual was unobtrusive under the control of the lighting master, Dave Martin.
A really enjoyable night out with a very confident and talented young group of people who'll have no trouble getting you involved in the audience participation section of the show.
I predict many future stars of the stages in the locality can be seen all this week on this very stage.
"Dick Whittington & His Cat” is at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton until Saturday 20 January 2018 with a Saturday 2.30pm matinee.

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