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Dick Whittington (1971)

Dick Whittington

A pantomime by Fred Locke, in a new version by Alan Brown; performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, from 23 December 1971.

Overview

This version of Dick Whittington is based on the original production at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, which was performed in 1893.  The well known Victorian pantomime follows the title character's progress from impoverished orphan to Lord Mayor of London. 

Dick's cat, Tommy, is dispatched to foreign lands, where his formidable talent for catching rats dramatically improves his master's fortunes.  With his position in society secured, Dick can at last marry his sweetheart, Alice, the daughter of the rich Alderman Fitzwarren.

Dick Whittington takes its audience on an adventure from the Land of Fancy, to the London Docks, to the coast of Morocco, and many places in-between.

'Cheer the hero!  Hiss the villain!  Join in the old songs!' exclaims the theatre programme.  It even includes a song sheet, so that the audience can take part in the musical fun.

Cast

Dick Whittington ... Una McLean
Alderman Fitzwarren ... Martin Heller
Maggie, Alderman Fitzwarren's cook ... Walter Carr
Idle Jack ... Anthony Haygarth
Tommy the Cat ... Zoe Wanamaker
Fairy Bowbells ... Jennifer Lee
King Rat ... Christopher Martin
Alice, Alderman Fitzwarren's daughter ... Christine McKenna
Captain Ginjah and Rustifustican ... Norman Henry
Urchin and Jujube ... Louise Breslin
Neptune ... Christopher Martin
Sunbeam Fairy ... Celia Orr
Harlequin/Masher/Drunk/Sailor/First Fish ... Michael Harrigan
Clown/Masher/First Customer/Sailor/Second Fish ... Anthony Trent
Watchman/Masher/Policeman/Boatswain/Native Guard ... Bill McCabe
Butcher/Masher/Second Customer/Sailor/Zeldomphed ... Ian Ireland
Monkey/Masher's Girl/Sailor's Girl/Jack Frost ... Suzanna Scott
Musk Rat/Bailiff ... Martin Coveney
Black Rat/First Child/Drunk's Wife ... Jeni Giffen
House Rat ... Maureen Jack

Dancers: Selina Dick-Lauder, Annabel Helmore, Doreen Leslie, Celia Orr, Adrienne Sadler, Janice Sinclair

Crew

Directors and choreographers: Noel Tovey and Richard Eyre
Musical director: Adrian Secchi
Designer: Geoffrey Scott
Costume Designer: Lorraine McKee (with additional costumes by Gerrard Scott)
Lighting Designer: Andre Tammes
Stage Manager: Elizabeth Ashwell
Orchestrations: F.W. Frayling-Kelly in collaboration with Adrian Secchi

Notes

For Dick Whittington, Zo returned to Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, with which she had recently performed The Cherry Orchard.  Around this time, she also appeared in the company's production of The Hostage.  She subsequently joined other company members on the British Council Tour of the Far East, performing in When Thou Art King and The Birthday Party (both 1972).

This production is the first of two pantomimes in which Zoe has appeared (the second being Jack and the Beanstalk in 1973).  She drew on her experience of the genre when participating in 'The Story of Pantomime', a 1976 episode of Omnibus, the arts-based TV documentary series.

Dick Whittington's director, Richard Eyre, may have had Zoe's performance in the production in mind when he remarked, 'Everything shows in her face.  It's an enchanting face, a bit like the pantomime cat!' (see 'Me, a Star?' interview).

Zoe clearly enjoys working with Eyre; following their productive period as part of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, in 1975 she accepted his invitation to join the Nottingham Playhouse Company, after he became artistic director of its theatre.  Zoe speaks warmly of the director, describing him as 'Intelligent, funny, sensitive, encouraging and enthusiastic'.  (See 'Zoe Wanamaker: Nottingham Playhouse Made Me' interview.)

Having played Dick Whittington's cat in this production, Zoe starred as another of our four-legged friends, when she performed as a stray dog in Sylvia (1996).

Related links

History of the Dick Whittington story - BBC Legacies (UK history guide)


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