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An enjoyable production, which lacked pace and energy in places. However, there were some good performances within the whole, and I liked the scenery. The projections were a little lost at times, but I liked the idea behind it.
The flat down stage left was particularly well painted – and really set the waterside scene.
I liked the undersea scene, always a good panto offering. The fish could have been a lot bigger, as could the prawns, as they didn’t have as much impact as the jelly fish and the sea horses.
It was good to have a live band, it lends so much to a panto, and mostly I liked the music chosen, although there were a couple of obscure numbers that didn’t sit too well – but that said the musical content was fine.
There were some good harmonies from Dick and Alice in Opposite Your Smile.
Babette Smith always creates a strong principal boy, and this was no exception, she is bright and lively, and always lifts the proceedings when she arrives on the scene.
I loved the concept of the cockney fairy godmother Bowbells – very nicely played by Penny Pomroy, with super makeup and costume, and a good accent. Nice to have something out of the ordinary.
I thought King Rat should have been mic’d – David Lodge is a good actor and projects well, but whilst he got the essence of the character and we enjoyed booing him, he needed the additional power and resonance to make him more scary. Again, super makeup.
Pippa Taylor was a charming Alice, she and Dick interacted well, and I liked their duets. Pippa delivered her lib well, and looked charming.
Jannifer Moore looked the part of the cat, and meowed nicely. I needed a bit more
I liked Damien Winchester as the Emperor of Morocco, he always has a very nice take
on his character, and his song was well-
Ryan Ridge was the rather gormless Idle Jack, a little more energy required at times
to accentuate the lazy side of his character -
There seemed to be a need for more chorus, and there were no children, which are always a good addition to a panto. The stage looked a little empty at times during chorus numbers, although on the whole the movement was good.
I liked the puppet mouse, manipulated by Chris Armitt, a good addition, and something the youngsters could relate to as well.
Paul Passi created two upfront characters as Alderman Fitzwarren and Captain Horatio, with some good innuendo and quick costume changes. He projected really well, which added a lift to his lib. I loved the ‘p’ speech, he got it spot on – very well done.
I don’t usually pick out an ensemble member, but I though Sarah Kay did especially well – she kept a bright smile on her face, and really put some vigour into the movement. So, very well done.
Overall I enjoyed the production, but just needed more oomph particularly in the ensemble numbers, to lift the performance levels.
Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company
“Dick Whittington” review date: 11th December 2015
Director & Choreographer: Gillianne Morris-
MD: Drew Cowburn