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Dick Whittington (Sheringham, Little Theatre)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
From the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith to the Little Theatre in Sheringham is quite a distance. Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson initiative in acquiring last year’s Hammersmith production of Dick Whittington pays dividends with the script by Joel Horwood, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Steve Marmion being given Norfolk references under the guidance of the Lyric’s Dan Herd} and the Little’s [Simon Thompson.

Some of the more recondite allusions to 21st century London probably slid by non-commuting and younger audience members, but there’s no doubt but that Nathan Bryon’s street-savvy hip-hopping moggie Catimus Maximus is the most successful of transplants. Aaron White plays Dick, not the brightest of newcomers to big-city life, but thoroughly likeable as well as naïve. On either side of the proscenium are animated talking-bells, a nice touch of extra fantasy.

Then there’s King Rat, a Dickensian villain with a claw like Captain Hook’s and blackened teeth. Jonathan Metcalf really goes to town with him, aided by cheeky sidekick Scaramouche (Georgia Goodson), who hails more from the rodent-infested sewers and Fagin's lair than the commedia dell-arte. Suzanna Kempner is the slightly mouthy, standing-no-nonsense Alice (no shrinking and dutiful daughter is she).

Sarah the Cook is personified by Russel Hicken, who has a way with the audience as well as with David Davies’ Fitzwarren. Hicken has good rapport with everyone encountered either on stage or through the numerous appearances through the small, steeply-raked auditorium. Ron Sayer is the musical director, tucked away out of sight, and the designs by Matt Nunn and Kate Withers work well in this context.


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