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KATS - Dick Whittington

16th to 18th February 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

The KATS whiskers

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: Dick Whittington, at Kennet School from Thursday, February 16 to Saturday, February 18

The annual KATS pantomime is always worth a visit for young and older audiences alike, and this year was no exception. It had a good traditional storyline, lots of colourful characters, corny jokes and lively musical numbers.

Directed by Janet Kilgallon-Brook, the production was well-rehearsed, slick and we felt we were in good hands. The large-scale musical numbers were well-staged by choreographers Claire Helyer and Mandy Cole and the large cast of adults and children moved around the stage and auditorium with energy and well-drilled efficiency.

The young members of the cast had quite a lot to do and it was good to see them tackle it so well.

There was a wonderful nasty-but-quite-nice-really portrayed from Mark Lillycrop as King Rat, a brilliantly clowned Idle Jack by John Lovell and a perfectly-polished Alice by Claire Helyer, who resisted the usual-sickly sweet approach.

Tamsin Witt gave us a great-looking posturing and upstanding, if slightly underplayed, Dick Whittington, Steve Lovell made an engaging Dame (Sarah Suet-Pudding!) and Dave Richardson's swashbuckling Cap'n Hand was a delight.

There were also notable performances from Bob Cole (Tommy), Kayleigh Hill (Tabatha the cat) John Hicks (Antonio Macaroni) and many smaller roles. I must mention Mike Brook who not only played the part of Lord Mayor but also wrote the original script: congratulations, this is no easy task.

The musical numbers were backed by tapes (some complete with vocals) which was not to my taste, however there were some memorable moments, including Me Old Bamboo, It's a Kind of Magic and Bon Voyage, Is This The Way to Amarillo, to name but a few.

With well-cued lighting and sound effects, heaps of colourful costumes and special effects, it all added up to make a hugely entertaining evening with a great community feel.

Kats next production will be A Tomb with a View to be presented on April 7 and 8, and in July they will be presenting Oklahoma!