Jon Keen wrote in the programme:
"This is my fifteenth pantomime to be performed by CATS, although several of those were updates or re-writes of previous scripts, as is this one. I first wrote "Dick Whittington" for CATS in 1988, when I was first learning the craft of panto writing, and in hindsight this showed in the quality of the script. Then in 1992 an alternative script suddenly fell through, so we took that same script "off the shelf" and performed it again with minimal changes.
Since then, I always had the aim of re-writing an improved "Dick Whittington", and this year had the chance to do so at last. I've tried deliberately to produce a very "traditional" pantomime, with features which "pantomime purists" will appreciate - for example, the baddie always enters Stage Left, and Fairies speak mainly in verse.
I have also incorporated several well-established "Dick Whittington" routines into this script, and I think I have achieved my aim of a traditional script. I think it is only small, local groups such as us who are keeping truly traditional pantomime alive - in my view, any show which depends on soap opera stars and Gladiators, or in which the script is just a succession of TV catch phrases strung together cannot be called "pantomime".
This is also the first CATS pantomime which I have directed myself. Although in my time with CATS I have directed eight other shows, none of them has been a pantomime I have always enjoyed being up on stage in them too much! This year, though, I "bit the bullet" and put in a bid to direct "Dick" as the Christmas show, and was lucky enough to have my bid accepted.
However, things don't always go the way they are planned, and sometimes we are reminded that everyone involved in CATS is an amateur with lives outside the Society too. That's why, as I write this four weeks before opening night, I am no longer director but am rapidly learning my lines, having stepped into the cast when one of those originally cast, Steve Youster, sadly had to withdraw. In some ways this gives me the best of both worlds, and whilst I know that I could never do this part as well as Steve, one of life's natural stars, would have done, I am still glad to grab with both hands this unexpected change to take the stage. But I could never have done this without the massive assistance of two people: Sophie and Myf (Caroline), both of whom were a fantastic help before I joined the cast, and who are now even more indispensable. Putting it simply, without their tireless efforts, there wouldn't be a show!
To them especially, but also to all the many people involved in this show, whether they are on-stage, behind the scenes or front of house, and of course to you, our supporters, my very sincerest of thanks."
|King Rat||Simon Heffer|
|Ratling 1||Matt Sykes / Ria Zmitrowicz|
|Ratling 2||Maddie Cook / Sarah Jordan|
|Ratling 3||Joanna Prince-Wright / Laura Sloan|
|Ratling 4||Jamie Heffer / Rory Hill|
|Queen Rat||Louise Sinnett|
|Dick Whittington||Kim Still|
|Daisy Dumplings||Jon Keen|
|Idle Jack||Jayne Dickinson|
|Alderman Fitzwarren||Sid Clough|
|Alice Fitzwarren||Laura Gosden|
|Tommy the Cat||Lauren Prince-Wright / Jack Hill|
|Fairy Petal||Robyn Heffer / Emily Grieve|
|Fairy Fleur||Jo Heffer|
|Captain Cod||Lynn Gosden|
|Mr Chips||Nick Skinner|
|Sultan of Morocco||David Rhodes|
|Wotta Cutie||Sophie Levine|
|Directors||Jon Keen & Caroline Jones (myf)|
|Production secretary||Kim Edwards|
|Stage manager||Caroline Jones (myf)|
|Assistant stage manager||Pete Gosden|
|Musical director||David Rhodes|
|Choreography||Chris Holley & Kim Edwards|
|Set design||Jon Keen|
|Programme & poster||John Taylor|
|Box office||Sarah Hill|