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December 2002
Dick Whittington and his Cat reviewed by Harriet Rowland in The Isle of Wight County Press 20/12/02
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight County Press)

RATS, cats, a profusion of amply built Eastern dancers and the wild shores of Morocco were just some of the magical ingredients that contributed to a rip-roaring Dick Whittington from the Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

The tale of young Dick's quest for love and a rat-free London of yore had a respectable first night audience of all ages laughing like the city's rat-infested drains from the start.

There were plenty of hearty boos and hisses too for a revoltingly effulgent King Rat, played to great effect by John Plumbly and only kept in check by the dainty Fairy Silver Chime, who popped up in all the prescribed places. The chosen songs for this show created one of the highlights of the evening, with cast renditions of hits from bands Slade and Village People and hit show Oliver! delivered with gusto.

Duets from Emj\y Paterson as Dick Whittington, who was struggling with a cold, and Nicky Stanley as Alice Fitzwarren, did not work quite as well and sometimes the children in the show did not seem quite to know what they were meant to be doing.
And presenting the fairies with arms crossed in front of their chests had the unfortunate effect of making them look vulnerable rather than magical.

But these small failings were more than made up for by sterling performances from the likes of panto favourite Lionel Osman as Alderman Fitzwarren and the indomitable Geoff Day as ldle Jack, not to forget Phil Burland, whose strong voice made for a believable Sultan of Moroccoal and boosted the musical interludes to great effect.

John Sole as captain of the Golden Venture with camp sidekick Stuart Pointing as the mate made a good duo, providing plenty of jokes between main scenes. Of course, no pantomime is complete without its dame and Bob French as Sarah pulled it off to great effect; with the gags running freely throughout along with the requisite multiple changes of wig and dress - great fun. A word too for Ken Hughes's set design and John Wood's painting, which betrayed a wonderful talent for creating the traditional panto environment.

Dick Whittington scored well on the 2002 Panto Geiger Counter and any show that involves free sweeties has to go down as a must for families in search of seasonal entertainment and hungry CP reviewers!