Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Broadclyst Theatre Group: Dick Whittington & His Magic Cat

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Christmas has come and gone, with Aimee and I ferrying ourselves around deepest, darkest Devon visiting our respective parents and gorging ourselves in turkey and chocolate. But having returned to Somerset, and with little planned in the way of new year celebrations, my thoughts now turn to our next trip to Devon in what is becoming an annual tradition of ours: Broadclyst Theatre Group's annual pantomime, which this year is Dick Whittington & His Magic Cat.

 Very loosely based on the life of real-life Mayor of London Richard Whittington, Dick Whittington has been a fixtured of English folklore for centuries, with the first pantomime version being performed in 1814. Like all pantomimes, there are a few common or recurring elements - Dick as the hero with his trustworthy cat, King Rat as the villain, the main character fleeing and then returning to London to become Mayor, and so on. And as has become typical of Broadclyst, you can expect a high standard of singing and choreography, with a witty script and slapstick which is anything but slapdash.
As I've made clear on numerous previous occasions, I've performed as part of this theatre group and many of its members have become extremely good friends. But it's not out of mere sycophancy or nostaglai that I choose to publicise their work. I genuinely believe that they have set a bar to which all amateur companies should aspire; they never treate the material or their audience with contempt or low-ball the production for the sake of getting cheap laughs. Just as pantomime should not be a by-word for lazy writing and shoddy production values, so local theatre can often be as vibrant and creative as the professionals, and Broadclyst's track record is evidence of that.
Dick Whittington & His Magic Cat will be performed at Broadclyst Victory Hall on January 267th, 27th and 28th; there are performances every night at 7.30pm, along with a matinee at 2.30pm on the 28th. Tickets are £9 for adults and £5 for under-12s, and are available from Broadclyst Post Office or online via TicketSource. We will be there for the final performance on the Saturday night - hope to see you there!

Daniel

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