Review: Dick Whittington, South Hill ParkBy Rosemary Bayliss
December 15, 2010
Dick Whittington, South Hill Park, Bracknell, Until January 2
South Hill Park’s Christmas entertainment this year is the pantomime Dick Whittington.
From the first few moments into the very first scene, in a dance routine called Feline Good, we knew the dancer Selina Zaza, playing the cheeky, mischievous Kool Kat, was going to steal the show.
All in black with a little white here and there, she crept about the stage with amazing cat-like agility, frankly expressing by her movements what she liked and disliked. She went ferociously for the nasty rats and purred sweetly in Dick’s ear when she wanted her own way.
Dick himself (Joshua Lay) was kind and gentle and brave and managed to keep his cat more or less under control.
Brad Clapson was fun as the foolish but gifted Simple Simon, surprising us all with his sudden bursts of intelligence and his brilliant dancing.
He was kept in order by the comic, bossy Dame Polly, played by Julian Hirst. The dame was resplendent in traditional panto style costumes that were larger than life.
The duet with Simple Simon, You and Me, was surprisingly touching.
The big baddie was King Rat. Paul Taylor struck a good balance between a scoundrel and a kindly entertainer. He and his team of dancing rats scampered about without looking frightening to the many children watching.
Of course, there was a romance between Dick and the beautiful Alice Fitzwarren (Kate Marlais). Their duet First Star was unusual – Dick was onstage and Alice appeared before him like a dream in one of the upper tiers of the theatre.
It was a bright performance of a good old-fashioned pantomime.