Barrow Voice
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First Publised 1975
3,000 copies published quarterly and delivered FREE to all households in Barrow upon Soar

A turn again for Dick

This season’s offering from the excellent Barrow Panto Group is one of the more diffi cult pantos - Dick Whittington - or how to become a mayor by dealing with rats. The script alone is a handful and with a few familiar faces (we are not going to do that again) missing, it was a challenge to mix the old with the new.

Alex Thompson, who wrote the script, did this successfully by kicking off with ‘S Club Barrow’, introducing the characters, mentioning Barrow a few times and Sileby once, then focusing on the village bakery overrun with vermin. Thus he set the scene.

The story line drags in the usual suspects, and here are the big performance shout-outs. First of all it’s for ‘Sarah the Baker’. A lot of the audience will be changing churches, to get a weekly dose of Graham Dunn, the Baptist Minister and superglue for any panto, even if he is missing his doubles partner. Second big shout out is for Jo Dring, as Queen Rat, dressed in a very sinister outfi t. Sometimes she was reminiscent of the wild Bette Midler in ‘Hocus Pocus’ singing ‘Putting a Spell on You’ and gets this reviewer’s ‘Best in Show Award’. She, along with Fairy Bowbell, had a good voice to boot. You cannot fault any of the performances: all were played with great maturity even from the younger members of the cast. Think we will see Captain Rugswash again if only for the accent.

You have to admire the director for the overall effect. Apparently, Abi Crossley, for all her demure looks, is a real slave-driver! The script was well blended by Alex even to getting in the traditional panto, "He's behind you" business. The band is very good, in key and in sync under Wendy Miller; the tech/sound team under Jonny Doda, should get a job at Loughborough Town Hall. Why? The sound at Barrow’s pantos is outstanding, something lacking when we recently went to "Allo Allo". Both young and old can sing, which makes a change from the strangled cat sounds of some other pantos, no offence to Dick’s Cat Stephen! Back-stage work, props and scenery, are up to the usual high standard and the ship was very good indeed. My personal highlight was the scene on the ship where the cast finally murdered the theme from Titanic and put it to bed with classic panto gusto. Well done! So next year will it be more Dick? Or maybe Puss in Boots!

The Barrow Voice theatre critic