Performance Review: Dick – The Whittington Story

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Photo credits: Dave Shaw

There are some theatrical productions that stir something deep within you leaving the theatregoer with a higher sense of comprehension of themselves and their place in the world; Dick was not one of these shows. Instead, the slick screen play and compelling acting left the audience in raucous laughter as all worries of deadlines and grad jobs were forgotten as they indulged themselves in the joyous comedy of Pantomime.

The storyline is simple enough, Dick, (played superbly by Clemmie Pollard) for some reason leaves the feudal countryside for London, inexplicably joins a ship of ‘not-pirates,’ following which, for the sake of moving on the storyline, is then imprisoned for traffic offenses after-which he then fights off an army of rats being led by his arch-nemesis who keeps on popping up throughout (we never really know what the beef is between them.) Look, in panto the storyline is the least important bit, what really comes out is the razor-sharp wit of the writer of the script, Sam Lamont.

A variety of surreal jokes ranging from quantum physics to political philosophy kept the audience in hysterics throughout. The total omission of Dick jokes was welcome. The villain of the show was played excellently by Gemma Barnett who did a fantastic job of goading the audience into booing and hissing. Dick is accompanied in his story by his half-witted yet lovable brother Dom (played wonderfully Sophia Malnight-Alvarez), ‘in da Bungalow’ jokes were exploited to their full extent.

Photo credits: Dave Shaw

The most discernable of the Whittington family was the Mother who was played by Oscar Brennecke-Dunn who pulled off green eye shadow and a frock unnervingly well… Joshua Whyte’s portrayal of Captain Captain Bloodthunder McJollyrodger was brilliant as was his ability to put on a half believable Scottish for the whole show. Lucas Fisher-Horas’s captivating performance as ‘The King’ offered a nuanced interpretation of modern day lad culture.

The underfunded nature of student theatre was brilliantly inverted with overtly dreadful props, effects and staging actually proving to be ironically amusing; this was pulled of thanks to the tireless efforts of stagehands Annayah Prosser and Russell Reed. Indeed the whole cast should be commended as they electrified the stage keeping the audience engaged throughout.

The energy was palpable and you could tell that all on stage were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Pantomime is not the most cerebral form of theatre; however it is one of the most hilarious and entertaining. For what it is, Dick was a fantastic performance that certainly engages and ticks all the boxes for being an overwhelming success.

If you’ve got a chance to go see it over the next few nights (it is on till Saturday), make sure you take it! It is rare to see theatre written, produced, and acted by students as enthralling as this!

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John Heath is bathimpact's cultural correspondent. He is an Economics and Politics student and also writes about national British politics.

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