Pat Hamilton reviews Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington
by Julie Petrucci and Chris Shinn
performed by Waterbeach Community Players
directed by Julie Petrucci

Waterbeach Community Players are blessed with so many loyal and talented members that their productions have a head start feel good factor - from the welcoming Front of House and Stewards right through to the final curtain.

This performance did not disappoint.

Following a lively musical introduction from Shirley Randal on piano and percussionist James Morgan, a flash of light reveals Fairy Bow Bells (Jane Stewart) to set the scene. Thanks to her adversary King Rat (Tim Boden) London is plagued with rats who are eating folks out of house and home. Enter Dick, our hero, confidently portrayed by Kaleigh Orrock (beautiful vocally) and Tommy (Vicky Butt) "purrfectly" cast as his expert rat catching cat.

We meet Sarah (Chris Shinn) cook on the Golden Venture and her helpmate Idle Jack - cheekily portrayed by (Matt Peacock) followed by Alderman Fitzwarren (Michael Husband) and his lovely daughter Alice (Kattreya Smith, vocally delightful) supported by a lively chorus of Londoners. Tommy is put to work and rids London of the pest. To show his gratitude Alderman Fitzwarren offers Dick a job.

Dick meets Alice and it is not long before they fall in love. However, King Rat sets a trap to discredit Dick and he is sent away in disgrace.

To clear his name, Dick goes in search of King Rat stowing away on the Golden Venture Captain Cooke's (James Dowson) ship.

As ever in pantoland, matters do not progress smoothly. Sarah and Idle Jack have a culinary disaster which results in shipwreck. Cue a WCP regular feature - the UV sequence - devised and choreographed by Kaleigh and expertly performed by the unseen participants.

Landing on the island of Mycoco they are captured by a tribe of unfriendly natives led by King Juan (David Morris) but Tommy and Dick, helped by Fairy Bow Bells' magic, rescue them all to return to London and live happily ever after.

An unusual situation arose at this opening performance as there were no youngsters in the audience to join Sarah on stage. However, this resulted in an inspired Sarah having 2 imaginary children and treating us to a side-splitting routine.

The team behind this most enjoyable performance were exceptional - many also appearing on Stage. Performing in a school has its problems as, at the end of the evening, everything (with a few exceptions) has to be restored to its usual state.

So congratulations: Sarah Phelps - Choreographer, Lynn Quelch - Costume Design, Mark Easterfield - Technical Director, Catherine Langridge - Stage Manager, and to all the other unsung heroes whether backstage or Front of House

Well Done Everyone

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