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“Dick Whittington & His Magical Cat”

It is always such a joy to be asked to review a show entirely using young people of varying degrees of talent and confidence, their energy and enthusiasm makes up for any small discrepancies in performance.  That said there are always a few stand-out performances in shows like these, which give a production a certain edge.

The Stopsley performance area is difficult to dress, but Stage 1 had a very nice backcloth plus good book flats – the small rostra at the back of the stage created a further dimension to the production, along with suitable lighting, and excellent sound.  I liked the effects used for the storm.

It is always a pleasure to have a cast that is not enslaved to mics, in this case static mics at the front of the stage, not really used as such, because this cast of youngsters projected well enough to be heard at all times, so very well done.

Costumes were as usual very colourful and good looking, with lovely hair and hats!  Good costuming always enhances the proceedings.  I loved the colourful hula girl costumes, and the cloaks and hats Dick and Alice wore for the finale, a simple addition, but one which told the story of their elevation to Lord Mayor and Mayoress.  The sailor costumes were very smart.

A very well-directed production and musically it was mostly good, with a nice blend of traditional and newer music.  

Choreographically I felt this production was much more ambitious than in previous years, and which worked well, there were some quirky bits in the Sea Cruise number and again for the finale.  Very well-rehearsed and the youngsters enjoyed themselves too.

Certain young people stood out, either for continued excellence or for improvement, or maybe just for their enthusiasm.  Suffice to say everyone played their parts well and sang with energy.

Tykia Campbell appeared as both the Pearly Queen and Princess Pineapple, and in both parts she gave us loads of expression, a very bright face, which I loved.

Jordan Hiepner as Alderman Fitzwarren showed great improvement on the acting front, a very nice voice; Jordan was well-supported by Summer Harkin as his wife, they interacted well.

Emily Albert continues to show us what a lovely all-round performer she is, a real talent, and as Alice she was utterly charming.  Very expressive facially, and confident in her dancing and singing.  

Harrison Ohuabunwa was a good Captain – he delivered his lib well, and I noticed in the finale song particularly he was singing his heart out, lovely to see.  The little unscripted part with the parrot caused great hilarity amongst the audience and cast, and perhaps helped the cast relax a little.

Millie Parkes and Yasmin Bork were charming Fairies, I really liked their attitude and the closing of the tabs at the end was a very nice touch, which they accomplished well.

Katie Edwards as Eliza the Cook gave a strong performance, delivering her lines and songs with aplomb.

Amelie Rocha achieved the necessary flamboyance of a principal boy in her portrayal of Dick Whittington, and sang very well.  She also interacted well with Tommy the Cat, played by Kyra Campbell, who also had a good interaction with the audience.  I liked the pairing of Amelie with Emily, they played well off each other, and were different in their portrayals, a strong couple.

Charlotte Lovelock showed the most year over year improvement, giving Idle Jack a good persona, whilst really interacting well with the audience, and showing comedic flair and timing.  I enjoyed her performance very much.

Another young lady showing great improvement was Jessica Albert, along with her fellow servants, Amber Shaw and Grace Nyaongo they created a charming trio, I enjoyed their performances.

Kaiya Bateman spoke well as Sultana Shake-a-Little, and looked lovely in her costume, with her ‘husband’ Sultan Shake-a-Lot played with confidence by Jamie Nichols.

Robert Lovelock as King Rat, showed a good understanding of the part, and his two ratties, Jasper Withnail and Vanessa Hazel were cute and acted well.

What is lovely about a Stage 1 production is that everyone has a named part, which is so nice for the audience as well as the youngsters, it gives them an identity, and makes it much more personal.

I really enjoyed the finale, again choreography combined with energy created a feel good ending to an utterly charming and interesting production.  I also enjoyed the Greatest Showman song, which was performed extremely well.

Stage 1 “Dick Whittington & His Magical Cat

review date: 1st Feb 2019 Stopsley High School

Producer: Terry Mills

MD: Diana Baxter    Choreographer: Sarah Albert

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