Region 5 - Gordon Harris
My first visit to Act one and what a jolly lot they are….!!! Greeted cheerfully by the front of house staff, and handed a great looking programme.
Fanny Bowbells (Beckie Friday) started us off to a jolly start and kept this up, working her audience well, with her infectious giggle. Dick Whittington (Caroline Pankhurst) had a good singing voice and along with Alice Fitzwarren (Lauren Friday) made a good team. Queen Rat (Melissa Maxted) demanded we look at her and look we did, she commanded our attention and she got it. The youngsters were excellent in this production and the ones that stood out were the Hoodrats (Samual Murray and Jack Whitehead) these two boys were full of energy and along with (Benjamin Chapman) as Prince made the show for me, dancing with great gusto….keep it up boys. Dame Sarah Dumping (Oliver Mills) gave us a modern dame along with stilettos instead of the usual striped tights and boots, how he did it I do not know, perhaps he has a fetish for ladies shoes. Liked the naughty innuendoes such as pearl necklaces, dick, and pussy,you thought we didn’t notice them..!!! Wrong. The second half started well with a very camp Ben Clark as Captain. Smaller parts played by Thomas Mitchell and Brooke Jones as Tabby all worked to make this Dick Whittington a jolly production.
Rob Gore (Director) assisted by Zoe Chapman directed this panto with thought, and they had a flare for getting this group to work together and bring us a good evenings entertainment. Choreography by Rob Gore and Ben Clark was well thought, and executed superbly for the small stage and along with good costumes (Lorraine Apps, Zoe Chapman, Julie Chenier, Trudi Haughton, Rita Issacs and Valerie Pankhurst). Lighting and sound (Paul Austen and David Mills) were all spot on que. Sets and scenery were of good quality I presume executed by all as no mention in programme, also good choice of music but no mention of a Musical Director?
Rob you should be proud of your production of this Dick Whittington you worked them well on such a small stage ,this is not an easy feat, but it worked, and you should carry on directing as all in this production came together. My only gripe would be diction and take up of dialogue, in panto it needs to be slicker and faster, thus, this could have shortened the evening by at least 20 minutes. Act one thank you for inviting me and I look forward to many more productions.
THIS IS KENT REVIEW
PANTOMIME is generally considered to be a traditional family show, but Act 1 Theatre Group served up a show packed with comedy that would keep the adults entertained from start to finish.
Rob Gore, the writer and director behind the group's production of Dick Whittington, created a script full of fresh jokes that were topical and funny.
His choice of songs ranged from musical theatre to 70s disco, to this year's dance sensation Gangnam Style, and had everyone clapping and toe tapping the whole way through. Caroline Pankhurst played the thigh slapping principal, on a journey to find his destiny. Caroline clearly relished being in the lead role, and engaged well with the audience. Dick was guided along his way by the magical cat Tabby, played by the charismatic Brooke Jones. Lauren Friday played Alice Fitzwarren, Dick's love interest. She was sweet, endearing, and her somewhat early scepticism about love soon evaporated after meeting Dick.
Act 1 Theatre Group is a family affair for Lauren. She was joined on stage by her sister Beckie as the glitzy good fairy ***** Bowbells, her brother Ben Clark played the outrageous Captain of the ship and her mum Michelle is the group's president. Melissa Maxted made for a superb villain as Queen Rat, arousing boos and hisses from the audience for her evil plotting. With a strong projection of her voice, it was clear why Melissa had been chosen for the role.
Probably the most entertaining of all the performers however was Oliver Mills, who played the Dame Sarah Dumpling. Oliver, had a touch of the David Walliams "I'm a lady" about him, and had the audience in stitches, as he paraded around the stage in high heels and a skimpy bathing suit. Oliver was as camp as Christmas and devilishly funny, just like the whole script.