Dick Whittington (Sheringham, Little Theatre)
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.