NODA Review – Dick Whittington

 

NOMADS’ annual panto this time was Dick Whittington from the pen of Elliott Papworth, who

also directed. Elliott has a good feel for writing panto and enjoys including slosh scenes which

suits NOMADS down to the ground because they do them so well.

The twenty-four strong cast went at it with a will carrying out Jess Clifford’s well-rehearsed

dance routines and handling the musical numbers well. Congratulations to Musical Director

Mark Aldous and The Tangfastics! The music was great and the sound balance between

Band and singers just right. The lighting and sound was fine with not a crackle on the body

mics – well done! As always Sarah Smith’s costumes were beautiful and colourful particularly

the Finale/Bows. I did have a bit of trouble initially identifying Alice as she blended in with the

Ensemble costumes so well. I wasn’t sure about all the Londoners being in matching polka

dots but realise there was a theme running through it. The set was good and congratulations

to Alan Gleed on that and also the Tooty Fruity 5000 machine plus whoever was working it.

There was nice swift and virtually silent scene changes from Stage Manager Alex Matthews

and the stage crew too.

The Pantomime had been well cast, and there were some strong performances. Top marks to

Oliver Squires for his as King Rat. This was a powerful performance in every way. His first

entrance certainly saw off one child sitting in the front who, happily, moved seats and enjoyed

the remainder of the show. Anita Marshall created a nice Cockney Fairy Bowbells and

although her role was to keep the story moving on I did think some of her dialogue was slightly

over-written.

The main principals were excellent. Lauren Godfrey in the titular role especially. Much use

was rightly made of her super voice. Faye Dower as Tommy the Cat created some nice feline

mannerisms and also treated us to a neat piece of tap dancing. Victoria Brown was beautiful

as Alice Fitzwarren, Dick’s love interest, handling her on-off role confidently as did Steven

Fenn as Alderman Fitzwarren. Claire Tuttle was a very pretty and very generous Sultana of

Morocco. Chris Brighty as Captain Barnacle, Kay Fasulo and Giselle Monkhouse as Rat

Minions completed the principal cast apart of course Colin Scott as Harry Bow and Steve

Beach as Dame Dolly Dib-Dab.

This duo really know how to work the audience. Both are quick with an ad lib too if things go

awry. Steve Beach was every inch a pantomime dame, larger than life, saucy and with

seemingly abundant energy. Congratulations to Dame Dolly, Harry Bow and Dick for the

splendid “12 days of Panto” singalong. Exhausting stuff.

This was a good script by Elliott, with clever ideas, particularly the sweet scene. There was

opportunity for audience participation (although maybe more use could have been made of

Harry’s running response joke in Act 1 because by Act 2 we had all forgotten how to respond!);

lots of jokes and slapstick comedy. A fun production throughout. Well done everyone.

Julie Petrucci

Regional Representative NODA East District Four South