Review: Dick Whittington at New Mills Art Theatre

Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington

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We drove through the snow, got stuck a couple of times, still arrived just in time to take our seats for the start of the show, Dick Whittington at New Mills Art Theatre. I have to say the journey was well worth it.

The script was funny, there was lots of audience participation, the songs were up to date and all well known.

A good strong cast, wonderful costumes, good music, kept your attention throughout the show. The proof of the pudding was listening to the children who surrounded us.

The show opened with King Rat (Darren Cooper) who had the audience booing before he spoke a word! Full of confidence he played the baddie as it should be played in pantos, always having the audience on his back!

Batting for the good we had Fairy Bowbells (Mia Rothwell) who reminded me of the Vicar of Dibley’s sidekick .... she did her job well to keep King Rat at bay.

When we arrived at Olde London Town a good strong chorus came to life led by Alice (Jessica Holman) who was quite enchanting throughout the show. Her father Alderman Fitzwarren (John Reezer) has great stage presence and moved the show forward when required.

Then along came Idle Jack (Andrew Jordan) who immediately had the audience on his side; I loved the way he interacted with them, he was very funny and quick off the mark! As for his mother Dolly Dumpling (Sean Stennings), a proper panto dame! Well done, very loud, in your face, great performance. One of my favourite scenes involved the pair of them on the boat in the kitchen - good old slapstick.

Another good character was Captain Cuttlefish (Robert Brittles). who again was very funny and quick off the mark. His sidekick Scupper should have been played by Angela Hulme, but she unable to perform, so her part was read by the director (Geoff Lunn), who I have to say stepped up to the mark extremely well and even had his fellow performers impressed with his performance.

We were then introduced to Dick Whittington himself, er herself (Hannah Hyde), who played a very likeable part, assisted by Tom the Cat (Charlie Hodgkinson) who if he doesn’t end up being a well known actor I’ll eat my hat! ...great stage presence, great movement and a great voice. I just wish he had more to do in the second act.

The journey took us on a boat which sank, we ended up underwater with a good UV scene then found ourselves in Morocco with the Sultan of Morocco (Barry Jarvis) who playedthe part larger than life which was very funny.

Good direction (Geoff Lunn), solid staging (Natalie Coverley) and seemingly effortless musical direction from Carolyn Hawkins, make this a great pantomime - played as it should be, not trying to be clever by changing things for the sake of it!

Go and see the sho w which continues on February 6 and 7.

ADRIAN LEGGETT