NODA representative, Mark Allen, reviews the recent production of Dick Whittingon and his cat by The Nomads at The Nomad Theatre in Surrey (find us).
The NOMADS – “Dick Whittington and his cat”
Nomad Theatre – 13th December, 2017
Author – Peter Denyer
Director – Andrew Hamel-Cooke
Choreography – Samantha Potten
Musical Director – Gareth Alber
Warmly welcomed by the front of house I was ushered into the bar and awaited meeting with Andrew, the director who extended his good wishes and requested we remain to meet the cast later. A refurbished and (purpose) rebuilt theatre, it was gratifying to see it almost full.
Greeted with a relatively simple set which worked very well, the changes as they were, were slick and without much fuss. Well lit and with good sound too, the diction was clear and could be heard well above the three-piece band offset stage left.
In true fashion the pantomime started and we were introduced to a motley cast of characters ably led by Sophie Johnstone as Dick, Daniel Shepherd, very boo worthy as
King Rat and the sweet and innocent Hayley Clines as [Fairy] Bow Bells, all three confident and audible.
Michael Ayres played the dame Sarah the Cook, and seemed to be enjoying the role too, as was fairly evident. I liked the enthusiasm, it rubs off well!
The cast and chorus were well drilled by Andrew Hamel-Cooke and the choreography (Samantha Potten) was well performed, and in the main all in time too! Again like Sarah the Cook, the chorus and associated cast (too many to mention) (Ed: see below for our comments!) were really enthusiastic and this came across well, helping the audience to a very good evenings entertainment.
Overall a really enjoyable evening, and well worth the drive to see it. Well done Andrew and well done Nomads.
The Nomads are members of NODA, which has a membership of 2500 amateur theatre groups and 3000 individual enthusiasts throughout the UK, staging musicals, operas, plays, concerts and pantomimes in a wide variety of performing venues, ranging from the country’s leading professional theatres to tiny village halls.
Unfortunately, the large cast meant that not everyone got a mention by name, but we wanted to add a few notes on their amazing performance!
Millie Jane Franks as Idle Jack was punchy, energetic and had fabulous stage presence!
Iain Watson (Alderman Fitzwarren) and Jeff Wightwick (Captain Cuttle) both embodied their characters with sincerity and humour.
As The Sultan of Morocco, Richard Peachey‘s accent work and nimble movement made for very lively scenes!
Sasha Plaché brought grace and wonderful singing to the part of Alice Fitzwarren.
King Neptune and his mermaid (Ricky Powell and Tilly Winford – not to be mixed up) were ethereal and deserving of the audience “oohs” and “aahs” under the sea.
Our not-very-dynamic duo of baddies, Gnashfang (Lisa Arnold) and Gnawbone (Johnny Diamond) were suitably nasty, horrible and comedic in equal measures.
Tommy The Cat played by Karolina Sepiak presented an amazing solo self-choreographed dance piece as well as plenty of laughs and cheers!
All the adults and children in the ensemble clearly worked very hard to present coordinated and energetic group songs and dances which the audience loved.
All of the production team should have a huge pat on the back too – costumes were fantastic as always,… make-up was striking and a great display of what Guildford College students can do,… props convincing and consistently well placed,… lighting enhanced the audience understanding of the story locations and sentiment,… sound kept the pace and humour of the scenes,… staging, flying and scene changes were slick,… and the chaperones kept all of us in check… not just the children!
Millie Jane Franks as Idle Jack
Sophie Johnstone and Karolina Sepiak as Dick and Tommy
Daniel Shepherd, Lisa Arnold and Johnny Diamond as the baddie rat pack
The band (L-R) – Vito, Ryszard and Gareth
Richard Peachey as The Sultan of Morocco
Ricky Powell and Tilly Winford under the sea