This enjoyable production, directed by Del Smith, came packed with colourful backdrops, bright costumes and lively, well-chosen songs, sung enthusiastically by the cast.
The tale was told wonderfully by Norma the Narrator (Yvonne Hamilton) of Dick Whittington (Fiona Osborne) jauntily arriving in London and meeting the Belles of Shoreditch (Sandi Bain, Sally Pattinson and Ali Catt). Dick meets and falls in love with Alice Fitzwarren (Cassiopia Hirst), the daughter of local store owner Mr Fitzwarren (Steve Blattman). Fiona sang her show stopping songs beautifully as befitting the main character and Cassie delivered her lines well and ably supported Fiona when the two sang their duet together. Humour was delightfully interjected throughout the evening by Sarah the Cook (David Bentley) and Idle Jack (Jake Huggett). David’s Dame was one of the best I have seen in a long time, and Jake did well not to be overshadowed when the two were hamming it up together. The story takes a sinister turn, of course, when Dick is framed for theft by Queen Rat, (Daphne Blattman) and her henchman Ralphie (Helen Gray). Dick signs up on board a ship commanded by Captain Kettle (Joe Graham) and his Bosun (Nick Reed). Joe’s nautical accent fitted his character superbly well, especially when chastising his crew, competently played by Jackie Burren and Janet Kates. They all get shipwrecked on a foreign shore and soon earn the gratitude of Sultana Scones (Clare Murray) for the services of Dick’s rat-catching cat Thomas (Natalia Ramus).
The whole cast were very well rehearsed with very few prompts from Yvonne Cotterell and it was good to see all ages represented with little rats, guards and sailors all being energetically portrayed by young Rosie Kilcoyne, Jasmine Tortella-Myers and Millie Jenner. The scene changes were slick and well managed by Peter Myers and his stage crew and the many lighting cues, sound effects and backing tracks used were delivered at just the right time by Rob Wall and Del Smith.