Dick Whittington panto delight at Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 20:18 30 December 2010

King Rat Gavin Haines (left) with Idle Jack, Ashely Leeds, in SADS Dick Whittington and His Cat

King Rat Gavin Haines (left) with Idle Jack, Ashely Leeds, in SADS Dick Whittington and His Cat

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Traditional panto offers true entertainment at Sidmouth’s Manor Pavilion Theatre

IN the true tradition of amateur pantomime, Sidmouth’s has it all.

Dick Whittington and His Cat, currently entertaining audiences at the Manor Pavilion Theatre, combines musical favourites, colourful dance numbers and innovative, bright scenery with some excellent performances by cast members from Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society.

They have it all, love, laughter and memorable lyrics, together with some hilarious banter between panto veterans Barry Lister as Sarah the Cook and Trevor Patch as Alderman Fitzwarren, his seafaring brother Horatio and the Emperor of Morocco.

The duo brought lashings of laughter to the stage, particularly when both stumbled over songs, including one just using words starting with P.

Mandy Lang relished her role as Fairy Bowbells as she fought the evil King Rat, superbly performed by Gavin Haines, by helping the hero and heroine in times of trouble.

From the moment he stepped on stage, Gavin had the audience hissing and booing as he relished his evil role.

Lighting by Light Touch Design added to the atmosphere, with green spotlights for him and a red one for Fairy Bowbells, while set designers Joan Heard and Brian Eves produced some great scenery.

Illness left the panto cast without Christine Horth as Tommy the Cat, so director Elizabeth Hammond stepped in on Tuesday and Wednesday to take her place and brilliantly made the part her own.

Her feline antics chasing the rats from Fitzwarren’s shop and the coup de grâce with King Rat, were true pantomime.

The love element between Dick Whittington (Jane Ledwood) and Alice, (Holly Haines) was a delight, as were their duets.

My favourite part of the evening was aboard the Saucy Sid ship, captained by Trevor Patch as Horatio Fitzwarren.

The simple set, projected waves and lightening strikes, brought a shipwrecking storm to life, but not before the crew delighted everyone with the song Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat.

Musical director Rob Preece ensured expert musical accompaniment by the orchestra.

Chorus and dancers; too many to name, were an intrinsic part of the show, unlike so many pantos where they seem superfluous, and an undersea dance was a delight.

Why not join the company for their adventures in Dick Whittington and His Cat, which runs at the Manor Pavilion until Tuesday, January 4. Tickets from the box office (01395) 514413.

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