Dinnington Operatic Society presented a sparkling show at the Lyric Theatre. This was, of course, their pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat.
Being an operatic society the songs were central to the production and I loved the variety of old and new. They had been carefully chosen and with all ages in mind. Musical Director Jonathan Wilby and musicians certainly had something to go at here.
Samantha Smedley and Isabel Canning were Dick Whittington and his love, Alice. Samantha wasn’t into the usual thigh-slapping and made a more natural Dick Whittington and Isabel combined singing with some wonderful acting.
Kirstie Probert played a Liverpudlian Captain Cuttle, her accent being highly entertaining and giving an extra depth to an otherwise ordinary character.
Gail Cobb was an effervescent Fairy Bow Bells. She’s very well cast in this role and connects well with the audience. The Dame this year was Johnathan Cobb as Sarah the Cook. As dames go this one had one of the deepest voices I have heard and make-up of a very traditional nature. I loved Johnathan’s tea-table costume with cups and saucers perched atop an almost horizontal tablecloth skirt.
Dick’s travelling partner was Tommy the Cat played by Maria Bolstridge who acted this role to the full by taking on cat mannerisms. She washed her paws, frolicked with rope and rubbed against legs in true cat style. Make-up supervisor Courtney Smith did a wonderful job here with Maria’s painted face.
John Green was the villain King Rat and excelled in the role. Along with flowing hair akin to that of pirate Jack Sparrow, he wore a rat snout and teeth which blended into his face quite naturally and made him all the more scary. King Rat’s henchmen were Paul Raymond and Nicole Henson as Gnawbone and Gnashfang whose costumes added to their villainous antics.
Corey Froggatt made a brilliant Sultan of Morocco and his rendition of Sexy And I Know It and Gangnam Style had all the younger members of the audience totally with him.
Iain St. John made a very apt Alderman Fitzwarren and what can I say about our very own Ashley Booker as Idle Jack. He’s just a treasure. He had the audience singing, raucously cheering and leaping out of their seats with total abandon.
Along with dancers from the Julie Turner Stage Academy (who have some very talented members) the chorus and student members made this another Dinnington Operatic Society pantomime to remember.
by Wendy Fidoe