Panto 2010


It has been 196 years between the first Dick Whittington Pantomime and the BBC production.

I wasn’t at the first one but I was certainly privileged to be at Benitachell Bowls Club on Sunday evening for BBC´s show which was written and directed by Tony Lawley.

On arrival we were presented with a very smart programme that gave us a précis of the history of Dick Whittington. Printed as always with perfection by CRC Designs (if you didn’t know, that’s Cynthia & Reg Cutts).

We were greeted by the front of house (or were they out of work Waiters) duo of Dave Roberts & Derek Mawson and told to fill in your order for interval drinks and sit where you can!

The audience was made up of club members, friends and family with an excellent representation from Javea Green, El Cid and Finca Guila Bowls Clubs which gave the cast plenty of scope to poke fun!

A rousing overture of Show tunes by Heather Butcher got everyone in the right mood.

Rod Warnes as Wick Dittington soon showed the audience that here was another club member who can sing with the best of them. Tom the cat played by Christine Mawson, though not having many lines to learn, was dashing about as the head props shifter. I can’t think of anyone else who could have got into that cat suit.

Bob Cockell gave his usual great performance as Mark O´Donnagh & Sheikh Aleg, I wish I had been there when the young boy in the audience gave his response to Bob’s lines “I’m bored, I’m bored” as “well it’s not our fault!”

Viv Humble played a dual part, but I much preferred the second, seductive, sequined outfit to the plain pink dress and cap.

Frank Dunne another of the regular Panto crew was in fine voice as usual, not sure about the hat though.

Where on earth did you find that cook? I know it is tradition to have a Panto dame, normally a man who is given a huge bust, high colourful wigs, outrageous facial make up, long frilly drawers, flouncy dresses, and a falsetto voice, wait a minute, you got Eric Johnson and what a success he was.

Mike Smith as the good “Fairy” played the part really well, I won’t want him standing behind me on the green.

There has to be a villain and we all recognized Dave Humble under the King Rat costume. Bet you frightened the children, I was glad you stayed on the stage.

Talking of frightening characters when we set sail to Mooritania the O´Donnagh´s workers were really brave to sign on with Captain Jacquie Roberts (she brought that whip from home you know!) She still looked frightening as the Sheikh’s fan slave. Her casting was a leftover from when she captained the Lions I’m told.

Linda Smith who is such a nice lady, played a thieving sailor and a bloodthirsty Arab, both with conviction. Just like Mike I shall be wary of you in the future.

The ghost who flitted in and out didn’t fool anyone; you should have left your shoes on Tony!

Of all the cast I have left Clive Langan to last because his vocal dexterity along with the captain in the numbers and fractions dialogue. I was completely mesmerized. It is hard enough to learn normal lines, but when the writer thinks up such a mixture of mathematical tongue twisters and they were performed with excellence. Then later as the horrid Osama bin Liner, you frightened me, put that scimitar away!

To create a show that we saw on a stage 12ft x 7ft means there has to be a dedicated “behind the scenes” team, and we are privileged to have one.

Costumes by Carole Meare Scenery by David Meare & Geoff Kay
Lighting by Jeff Richards Makeup by Janet Kay
Set Construction by Geoff Kay, David Meare & Terry Setford
Sound by David Browne Video Recording by John Wright.
Prompter Maggie Lawley

A great Pantomime but now it’s over we must start a campaign; DIAT.

I know that it takes all year to write a script such as we have just seen, Tony has been seen walking on the hills of the Jalon Valley with Rosie, his dog, muttering away mostly in rhyme. Waving his arms about and generally working very long hours to complete such a professional script. I for one am so pleased that we have such talent (not only as bowlers), but actors, behind the scenes people and especially writers and directors.

Please join with me in the campaign DIAT (DO IT AGAIN TONY).

Harry Winfield 1st December 2010

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