A SPARKLING AND ORIGINAL PRODUCTION OF THIS TIMELESS CLASSIC
There is always a danger when staging a production of a well known tale that the performance will not quite live up to expectations, be a little flat, lack originality, or just have that general tired old feel about it.
Nothing could be further from the truth with SSA Drama's annual trip down Pantomime Lane with their slick and entertaining take on the on the familiar tale of Dick Whittington and his attempts to make a fortune in London and become Mayor.
What made this performance particularly fresh and original was the fact that it was written by Chairman and Director Chris Cooper and fellow cast member Matt Barnard. By not merely adapting an already existing script, the show was able to stretch the boundaries of entertainment, and the audience found themselves delighted with renditions of 'In The Navy' and 'A Millions Dreams' and being dazzled with some lovely dancing by Rochelle Dance Academy between scenes, as well as meeting a very large fluffy spider and a huge inflatable octopus along the way!
SSA Drama have a reputation for polished and enjoyable productions, and their 2020 panto certainly did not disappoint. From the excellent costumes to the set, everything about this show was of the highest quality. This well loved story was delivered with the precision and smoothness which we have come to expect from Chris Cooper's expert directing, and it was clear that the cast was well drilled and disciplined, but most of all, having the time of their life on stage!
In a strong line up of Principals, it is hard to pick out any individual performances for special mention, but as usual the co-writers Chris Cooper and Matt Barnard were as professional as ever in their roles as Sarah The Cook and Alderman Fitzwarren respectively. Laura Parker shone in the title role of Dick, delivering a particularly pleasing rendition of 'A Million Dreams' with Georgia Fair as Alice Fitzwarren. Georgia in turn wowed the audience with her vocals when telling us how she wanted to really be a rock star, not a cafe waitress, and Jennifer Alton had the audience laughing throughout at her disdainful and exasperated one liners as Tommy The Cat, Dick's companion; it was a very assured performance from her. Helen Gibbs had the audience booing and hissing at her extremely convincing and nasty portrayal of Queen Rat. All of the principals acquitted themselves with confidence and aplomb, there was not a single weak link, and were beautifully complemented by the considerable number of youngsters in the cast, who sang and danced with gusto and enthusiasm. The between scenes dancing from the beautiful and talented dancers of Rochelle Dance Academy just added the icing to a cake which was worthy of Alderman Fitzwarren's cafe itself.
It was a crisp and modern take on an old tale, which kept the audience enthralled until the very last note was sung, the very last line was delivered, and the very last dance was danced.
The backstage team did a sterling job in moving scenery seamlessly and effortlessly, ensuring a smooth and streamlined performance.
'Dick Whittington' is still on tomorrow Sunday 19th January at 2.30, The Dovehouse Theatre, Langley School, Kineton Green Road, Solihull B92 7ER.
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