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Review: Evening of purr-fect slapstick
Published 20/01/14

TWO separate casts of children from Henley and the surrounding areas, aged between three and 16 years old, put everything they had into this year’s Henley Children’s Theatre Group pantomime, Dick Whittington.

The show was opened by the pantomime fairy, confidently played by Jennifer Haigh and Wendy McLoughlin, inviting amusing audience interaction from the very start.

Dick Whittington was very ably performed by Molly Clarke and Jemima Pilgrim-Morris. Nicole Johnson and Olivia Dunning brought their own spin to Ratman, and Alice (Dick’s sweetheart) was played beautifully by Megan Firth and Anouska Hawkes.

Bizarrely, Julie Andrews, beautifully sung by Amber Weller and Rosie Henman, also made an appearance — but then that’s panto for you!

The infamous puss was played by Isobel Benster and Eleanor Waldren with a lot of charm and feline characteristics.

And since there’s nothing quite like a dame, Rachel Aldous and Millie Cook had a lot of fun playing Dame Cleggie.

Even Quasimodo, amusingly played by Ted Aplin, James Dunning and Joshua Hogan, made some very enjoyable appearances.

The Henley Children’s Theatre Group has been working with children in this area since 1969. Its ethos is all about putting new children on the stage. Some of the magic of this year’s performances was seeing new faces in the pantomime for the first time: Della Luke’s portrayal of Nigella Lawson was captivating and Milly Thomas made a very commanding king.

This show is all about the younger children too — without the rats, Londoners, villagers, slaves and sailors it just wouldn’t have been panto. Muffin Hurst and her production team have done it again. This was a great family show — not just from the children on stage but also from everyone who worked to ensure the show went like clockwork.

Dick Whittington was a great show, full of audience participation, local and not so local jokes. Above all, it was good old-fashioned slapstick. Purrr-fect!

Dick Whittington

Kenton Theatre

January 1, 2014

Lindsay McLoughlin

PUBLISHED 20/01/14

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