Dick Whittington

Performance Review (reproduced from the December 2010 Newsletter)

A whacky, witty Whittington awash with winsome, wild and wily women wowed the burghers of Bierton and district for three evening performances and a matinée on 2nd-4th December at the Jubilee Hall. Did the audiences approve of Andy Capjon's updating and localising of the traditional story (with additional material by Chris Roby)? 'Oh yes, they certainly did!'

Hannah Rogers showed great confidence in her portrayal of the principal boy, Dick, as well as great versatility in her singing and stage presence. She also enjoyed a few ad lib exchanges with her dad, Alf Rogers, who played the tricky part of Alderman Luversaler(!) with great skill, sometimes creating humour out of his fiendishly convoluted and stilted language. Bethany Styles, only sixteen years old, after a slow start in rehearsals, grew into the part of Dick's partner and became more confident and convincing with each performance. Well done.

The experienced Bob Taylor delivered a truly dynamic interpretation of the dame, Mrs Dimplecheeks, as a cross between a macaw and a man-eating she-bear! He obviously enjoyed himself, and so the audience delighted in his comic performance. Buttons, Mrs D's colleague, friend, workmate and victim, was played by Andy Capjon with all the long-suffering hang-dog pathos and slapstick energy required. 'Exit, pursued by she-bear' might frequently have been the stage instructions for Buttons. Their musical duets were something else!

Now we come to the wily, wicked and Welsh: Red Dragon! This villain of the piece was created by Andy to fit Alison Bulman, one of his work colleagues. She certainly added glamour, glitz and a certain gently seductive villainy to the proceedings. The audience, including Rachel Roberts and her Poetry Club, didn't know whether to boo, hiss or swoon (the blokes, anyway) as Alison appeared in a figure-hugging slinky red outfit and proceeded to vamp her way through the show in a proper, as opposed to 'stage' Welsh accent!

Emily Drury and Rachel Jones, despite their very tender years, romped through their scenes with obvious delight as they took on the roles of Nick and Dave, of the 'grand coalition' - get it? Emily also did a grand job in taking on at the last minute the voice of Dick's cat, Scooby, when Joseph Capjon had lost his voice and was only able to mouth and mime the part. Emily read into a mike from the wings whilst Joseph mimed the endearing antics of the indispensable feline in Dick's life. An heroic effort from young Joseph.

Other members of the cast were: Joyce Baxter (Mrs Bumbly), Alan Curtis (Inspector Barnaby Bear), Jo Hunt (PC Turner); Chris Brown, Margaret Curtis, Dawn Parsonage and Ann Pollard; Musical Director: Brian Spry; Production Team and Backstage Crew: Malcolm Baxter, James Collard, Jan Davies, Arthur Donaldson, John Haes, Jo Hunt, John Inman, Sian Man, Bob Parkinson, Patti Reed, Paul Styles, Chris Tyrell, Alan Webber and Tim Young. Janice Embury and Chris Pitkin created special costumes for Scooby and the Alderman.

We would also like to express our appreciation of Jason Drury's kind permission to use his ample office premises in Rowsham for pantomime rehearsals. This was a really great help, both space- and expenses-wise. Thanks, Jason.

A donation will be made to the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home from the proceeds of the production. Congratulations must go to all who contributed to the pantomime, and especially Andy Capjon who wrote, performed in and directed it!

To see pictures from the performance, please hover over the Gallery tab above and select Dick Whittington.