Past Shows

Information for Dick Whittington and his Cat (2016)

Dick Whittington and his Cat, was a Pantomime directed by Evelyn Earles & Phil Barfett.

Holsworthy Amateur Theatrical Society (HATS) presents a traditional family panto suitable for all ages.
HATS' annual pantomime for 2016 is Dick Whittington and his Cat, written by Peter Long & Keith Rawnsley, directed by Phil Barfett & Eve Earles, Musical Director Mike Wonnacott.
The Show runs:
25th Jan - 6th Feb 2016 (except Sunday)
Monday-Saturday eves 7:30pm (doors open 7:00pm)
Saturday matinees 2:30pm (doors open 2:00pm)


NODA Review and Other Comments

“Wow…what a show! Super quality as usual! You all sounded so professional and when you sang together your voices really gelled! Costume, set etc all great. Thought the finale number was perfect…We were both thoroughly entertained in Row D (amidst all the noisy scouts etc!)” - Stephanie Devoy

“What an amazing panto again. We came Friday night, even brought our 16 month old who was sat on my lap the whole time watching. Brilliant performance as usual :)” - Anna Greenaway

“Great show tonight guys...really loved the finale number...brilliant!!!” - Amy Clarke

“Would recommend going as the whole family enjoyed it. Lots of laughs. Well done and thank you to everyone at HATS.” - Yvonne Denning

“Wow, what an amazing panto!!! Congratulations to all involved xx” - Stephen Wyatt

“U were all amazing yesterday, thx for a brilliant afternoon’s entertainment.” - Hazel Cartwright

“Brilliant show, well done to you all, it was very very entertaining.” - Simon Scott


REPORT FOR:-  “Dick Whittington and his Cat” by Peter Long & Keith Rawnsley

HATS  Holsworthy Amateur Theatrical Society

Performance:  The HATS Theatre       Monday 1st February 2016

Reviewed by:  Nick Lawrence, Regional Councillor 

Opening with an eye-catching map and the story setting HATS ensured the audience’s attention was grabbed from the very beginning. “O Fortuna” certainly woke everyone up and led powerfully into the opening chorus.  Unfortunately there was a pause here which rather let everyone off the hook, but the company gave full voice to “London is London” and won well deserved applause.

Characters were clearly introduced with everyone speaking clearly and most including the audience. The difference between good and evil was distinctly maintained although once or twice the evil Rat strayed on to the “good side”. This is a tradition that is good to maintain and every effort not to stray is appreciated. There were some early lighting cues which announced the approach of Queen Rat. Even the thickest audience can tell evil is approaching when everything goes green. Over anticipating the arrival of evil is not so good at this time. Her rats did very well with two very strong routines emphasising the nasty side of their characters. 

The company played their roles well with some nice interaction between the villagers without dominating the scenes. Company numbers were given full measure although a little more movement would have enlivened the songs. Simple routines like for “Oom Pah Pah” do get the audience joining in and maintains the public’s interest.  Everyone was dressed with Panto style and the range of colour palettes for each scene worked very well, capped by the stunning finale where costumes matched the bright set completing the expected Wow factor.

The choice of songs was particularly good and everyone of them short enough to leave the audience wanting more. The interpolated song for the Fairy was particularly lovely and beautifully sung. It was such an excellent song but in the Pantomime context perhaps some elegant dancing from the fairies would have given it a little sparkle. Even so it was well presented. There were a number of excellent voices on show, displaying attention to detail in the singing. It must be remembered that microphones do not produce consonants that the singer doesn’t use or replace tone when the performer insists on singing down the nose or with a jutting jaw. But generally the principal singing was most enjoyable and in some cases a highlight.  The accompaniment was very tight and sympathetic and the balance of voice to band extremely good. 

The whole performance was aided by some beautifully painted sets, complementary costumes, and sympathetic lighting. The scene changes were handled quickly and efficiently although not always quietly. Changing the set is an integral part of the whole and as essential to be done well as the leading actor performing with panache. Actors should be thankful for such assistance, but the crew must remember why they are there.

The story was well told with a healthy mix of comedy and the serious story-telling.  There were some very confident and enjoyable portrayals of the various characters.  The slap-stick was well set up and in general lightly presented. The comedy characters worked well setting up the gags and giving the punch-lines.  One can almost never emphasise the punch line too much and a lot of rehearsal is required to time the gags to get the best laughs out of the audience. It was most encouraging to see the youngsters handling the timing like seasoned old-hands and their enjoyment of what they were doing helped keep the audience smiling.

Dame Gertrude handled the ice-cream/custard pie gag well and made the most of her varying wardrobe. There was a beautifully tempered portrayal as the cat. It is not easy to handle the many “off the ball” incidents in this role, but with some nice cartoon-like mannerisms this portrayal stole the audience’s hearts. Dick & Alice made a complementary pair and Maisy & Jack got some good laughs. There was some nice work from Beau Larrat and Beau Lamova with Beau Lamova nicely linking the physical and scripted humour. The more experienced players led the way with appropriate confidence and did not rest on their laurels.

The large team required to stage a production of this type worked well together from the warm welcome of the Front of House team to the backstage staff. This is a very good reflection of the hard work all the club put into the annual Pantomime which is greatly appreciated by the audience.

Cast, includes (amongst others)

Dick Whittington Hannah Cook
Alice Fitzwarren Bethany Lock
Alderman Fitzwarren Peter Whitehead
Gertie Sprat (Housekeeper) Ron Lester
'Idle' Jack Sprat (Gertie's Son) Leighann Johns
Maisy (Alice's Maid) Eleanor Skuse
Captain Cutlass Crispin King
Sultan Peppa Colin Burton
Beau Larrat Charles Jeffrey-Hudson
Beau Lamova Rosalind Honey
Queen Rat Lesley Wonnacott
Fairy Bow Bells Jo Taskis
Tommy the Cat Brodie Burnett
Sopwith the Camel Pam Johns & Mary Osborne
Rats/Girls/Messengers/Dancers/Sunbeams Chorus