Dedication shows in panto performance

Some of the cast of 34 from Southwick Players' pantomime, Dick Whittington D14481143a
Some of the cast of 34 from Southwick Players' pantomime, Dick Whittington D14481143a

EVERYTHING you could want and expect from a traditional pantomime was delivered by Southwick Players in Dick Whittington.

Eight days of performances, including the two popular adult-only nights, ended at the Barn Theatre in Southwick on Saturday with a performance to remember.

An excellent set and highly-professional scene changes provided the perfect backdrop for some memorable performances, including from the younger members of the cast.

They set the ball rolling with an exciting start, creeping through the audience on all fours as rats, with just their red eyes shining in the dark.

Gary Sommerford deserves a mention not only as the only male in the chorus but for throwing himself into it wholeheartedly and demonstrating his demon dance moves.

Another young person to shine was 16-year-old Georgia Harrison from Southwick, who used her dance and movement skills to the full in her role as Tommy the cat. Her animation was excellent.

There was something for everyone and some great choreography from Laura Redmond, working on her first pantomime, so the big numbers filled the stage.

Fabulous faces were seen on both Frank Horsley as Alderman Fitzwarren and H Reeves as Mr Mussel, the captain’s mate, while Louise Yeo used a great East End accent as Fairy Tinkle, adding to the comedy.

The set designers made the most of the colourful Fitzwarren’s Stores and in fact my eyes were taken away from the action to read all the silly lines, like an offer for hair miles with shampoo, a top hat and bottom hat, and boxes of light bulbs next to dark bulbs and heavy bulbs, where the painted shelf was made to dip from the weight.

There were a few places in the storyline where it dragged a bit and the flashing light sequence was too long.

But features like the slow-motion boxing sequence were well rehearsed and impressive.

The songs were well chosen, providing a mix of upbeat numbers and well-known numbers.

Nikki Winter as Alice and Sam Clements as Dick had the challenge of singing a number every child would recognise from Disney favourite Frozen. Love is an Open Door requires a wide vocal range and it is a difficult song to get right but they made a good job of the romantic duet.

The show was dedicated to the memory of Mike Padley, who was due to direct it but died unexpected last March. He and his partner Alan Cardew had a vision of how it would be presented and Ron Common, who took up the reins, said he hoped he had done justice to Mike’s flair and imagination.

Certainly no-one could fault the dedication and hard work involved both on and off stage.