Well folks, they’ve done it again. Eyemouth Community Youth Theatre have set a very high bar as the first group to throw their hat into this year’s panto ring.
Producers Pauline Grieve and Andrea Thacker and their spritely band of youngsters have proven in the past that their all singing all dancing affairs can light up the darkest of rooms and ‘Dick Whittington’ was no different.
While some companies toe the traditional panto line, the youth theatre aren’t afraid to inject a generous dose of 21st century pop culture.
Nicole Scherzinger’s ears would have been burning as her name was dropped and also when resident dame, and the only adult in this year’s cast, Campbell McNeil made a sassy entrance to the Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Don’t Cha’.
The 2005 number one was a veritable chart veteran amongst a sea of hits from the last two years.
Any 1D fans in the audience would have been tapping their feet to rousing group number ‘Live While We’re Young’, while devotees of Olly Murs would have given their seal of approval to ‘Dance With Me Tonight’, which morphed into ‘Sail With Me Tonight’ to great aplomb.
Saying that, you can have all the cracking songs you want but they fall flat if you haven’t got a great voice to lend to them.
Fortunately that is something that the Dick Whittington cast had in abundance.
In the title role, Carly Robertson led the pack in superb fashion.
After impressing as Lisel in’The Sound of Music’ earlier this year, Carly continued her fine run of form with a commanding acting performance and some outstanding vocal moments.
Her solo of Emeli Sande’s ‘Clown’ was ,as Gary Barlow would say ‘right on the money’ and her duets were just as good.
The majority of these came with on stage love interest Alice, played by Kirsty Doogan.
It’s the first time I’ve seen Kirsty in a lead role but like Carly she put in a great all round performance and I’m sure hers is a talent that we’re bound to see again very soon.
Like past Eyemouth Youth Theare and Variety Group productions, this was a show with many stand out performances.
As far as panto villians go, you really couldn’t have asked for a better one than Kirsten Hood as Queen Rat. She had a sinister stage presence beyond her young years - every time she trod the boards all eyes were on her.
Her confident and venom-laced delivery of the dialogue commanded just as much attention as her fantastic costume.
And a special mention to sidekick Rory Fairbairn for some riveting rapping!
The sweet alternative to Queen Rat’s sourness was Fairy Bowbells, played by Miranda McFarlane who like many others showed she was a name to keep in mind for the future.
Joker of the pack, Mak Wilson was a real star and a deserved audience favourite as Idle Jack, as was Jack Ritchie’s Alderman Fitzwarren.
Archie Bogle’s Captain Cuttlefish and Emma Worters’ Scupper were the perfect double act and Caitlin Lauder was a tremendously terrific Tom the Cat.
Eyemouth is a hot bed of vocal talent which was brought to the fore in closing number ‘Wonder’ and also in my personal highlight of the show ‘Part of Your World’, The voices of Brooke Heary, Hannah Ritchie, Erin Robertson and Sophie Johnston were absolutely top drawer.
‘Dick Whittington’ was brilliant from start to finish gave other theatre groups a very tough act to follow.
Dick Whittington- Carly
Alice- Kirsty Doogan
Queen Rat- Kirsten Hood
Fairy Bowbells- Miranda
Alderman Fitzwarren- Jack Ritchie
Idle Jack- Mak Wilson
Dolly Dumpling- Campbell McNeil
Tom- Caitlin Lauder
Captain Cuttlefish- Archie Bogle
Scupper- Emma Worters
Rupert- Rory Fairbairn
2nd Mate- Sophie Ritchie
The Sultan of Morocco- Grant Maltman
Guard 1- Alice Ellwood
Guard 2- Ailsa Landels
Ratlings: Cara Heary, Toni Patterson, Freya Cook, Colbie-Kate Ross, Layla Crowe, Sadie Worrall, Max McNeil, Alisha Cooledge
Mermaids: Brooke Heary, Sophie Johnston, Hannah Ritchie, Erin Robertson
Dancers: Allison Flockhart, Shannon Smith, Hannah Combe, Elle Drummond, Roma Peakman, Ellie Smith
Chorus: Leokie Barnett, Poppy Latham, Leona Maltman, Nicole McCrudden, Arianna McCulloch, Tara MacDonald, Tamara McFarlane, Mirren McTavish, Charlie Ross, Ellie Mae Turnbull.