Panto Reigns Supreme At Theatre Severn

Dick Whittington

Theatre Severn

2nd December 2015-10th January 2016

 

Oh my. If you want a masterclass in traditional family fun panto then go and see this one.

Lavish, lavish, lavish from cast to props to scenery to script. The whole thing is beautifully hilarious. Each year this show seems to get better and better.

Brad Fitt is always excellent as the archetypical lovable dame. This year is no exception to that rule. Whether it  is the brilliant dazzling wit born out of quick thinking or just the complete look, the outfit and hair, he, (Yes children, I am sorry he is a man!) is brilliant. Proving that a show doesn’t have to be filled with double entendre to make it acceptable to grown-ups,  Brad played the whole audience like his own orchestra. They loved him and the passion he has for perfection makes this one of the best pantomime Dame performances you may ever get to see. He is second to no-one and his talent shines so brightly.

But BBC Radio Shropshire’s own Eric Smith was once again wonderfully entertaining as the lovable  Baron Fitzwarren. Normally when Dick is banished from London, directors tend to turn the Barron a little mean and cruel. He ignores his Daughter’s helpless pleas and accuses Dick of stealing; and so many see this as a reason to play the Barron a little mean and villainy. None of it in this performance. The kids seemed to love him as did the grown-ups. Eric finds the right level and is again, so good.

Dick Whittington played by Josh James was a lesson for all on Panto acting.  Actions, reactions and even the very presence on stage of any  panto character is governed in relatively tight conventions.  Josh ticked every box and gave a sterling performance as a result.

Female lead Jemma Carlisle brought a touch of beauty onto the stage in her role as Alice Fitzwarren; the one destined to marry Dick when it all comes good in the end. The kids loved her and all cheered when finally they tie the knot!

Panto Villain King Rat,  played by Darren Tough was cruel and wicked. In his own ratty mind he was determined to show he had talent too. But it was all too much when he and his rats tried to overrun   the ship that somehow worked its way into the narrative and was transporting the entire cast to Morocco.

Darren Tough also gets a second mention for his great work on fight coordinating.

His army of rats that doubled as dancers were wonderfu too.  With ages as young asaround seven. Such young talent adding their skills to the mix. It was great to see.

Tramaine Wright was excellent as the Sultan. Sultan, what? You cry,  Isn’t this Dick Whittington?  Oh yes it is, but believes me it works. There are no rules governing how one may change the narrative to any of these pantos and it is fun when they do.

So looking like he had worked out all his life, the half- naked Sultan certainly gave the ladies something to enjoy. What caught the keen audience member’s eyes is that Tramaine not only looked good but everything he did, he did with great commitment and conviction. Even if he was right at the back of the chorus dancing with a mop or lording as the Sultan he was everywhere and he was good.

If you have tickets to see this show I will give no more away other to say be prepared to scream wih laughter at what is called “The Rocking Galley,” scene. It is comedy platinum! The funniest thing I have seen on stage for many years. Quite Brilliant.

So this year, as every year, its hats off to all and no wonder ; take Paul Hendy the Writer,  Bradd Fitt the Director, and Rachel Chapman as Choreographer, and you will be left with a tour de ’force. A wonderfully colourful, creative and enchanting Pantomime.

My star marker system that some may follow is based on the Edinburgh scale. No stars being appalling, five being wonderful. It is such a shame the star system doesn’t go any higher. It deserves a ten out of ten but instead it earns all I can bestow.

This is a five star plus review.

Have a wonderfully Happy Christmas and may your dreams and wishes come true in the brand new year.

Owen J. Lewis   

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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