THERE were some very fishy goings-on down in Tweedledum recently - and Dick Whittington and his cat were the least of the town’s troubles.
Coldstream Community Theatre had a brand new cast line-up for their production of the pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’, written and directed by Janet Hodge, and they produced a thoroughly entertaining show with plenty of laughs and nonsense. Janet’s script got them off to a flying start, with witty one-liners and some naughty bits that children (and adults) always enjoy, and from start to finish it was non-stop action.
Alex C Bass (aka Bobby Hanlon) was the big wig in Tweedledum, which lies on the banks of the River Twiddle - or so he tried to convince everyone - but his dodgy dealings in selling salmon poached from the river to London ‘toffs’ such as Boris, soon got him into hot water. When Mr Bass suspected that someone was onto him he tried to get the assistance of the local children/scallywags and turn them into his fish spies but they were an unruly bunch and mayhem soon ensued. The youngsters playing the scallywags showed great confidence and were clearly having a ball and their enthusiasm and enjoyment couldn’t help but rub off onto the audience.
As well as the dubious Mr Bass, Tweedledum was blessed with a certain Delia Delicious (Graham Sanderson in full panto dame regalia) who enjoyed more than a glass of sherry and male company. A certain London toff, Boris (Malcolm Bolam) arrived in town and fell for Delia’s delicious charms and it wasn’t long before things degenerated into a hilarious Benny Hill style romp. Coldstream residents are more used to seeing Graham and Malcolm behind the butcher’s counter on the High Street but they have clearly been hiding their lights under a bushel and proved they have all the makings of an outstanding comedy duo, their comic timing and facial expressions reducing the audience to fits of laughter. They may not have been word perfect, but then it was the opening night and nerves may well have played a part, but that was easily overshadowed by the entertainment they brought.
There was plenty of traditional panto audience participation of ‘Oh no it isn’t’ and ‘behind you’ but as an audience member I have to admit there were times when we fell short. Delia Delicious had a pleasant but not very bright assistant called Joe (Susan Romanis) who kept falling asleep and it was the audience’s job to wake him up by shouting ‘cock-doodle-do’. The children in the audience were very good at it but the adults were a bit forgetful and at times required a little ‘enouragement’ from Joe himself - no one does ad libbing as well as Susan and on one occasion when she fell asleep and dreamed of a fairy, that fairy was none other than Susan’s daughter Abbie who has obviously inherited her mother’s stage presence and talent.
The show was certainly topical, with a certain newspaper lady, Rebekah Crooks (Freja Allen) arriving in town hot on the heels of Boris and eager to unearth the story - although whether she’d tapped into his mobile phone to get to the bottom of what was going on in Tweedledum was never explored fully!
In amongst all this Dick Whittington (Euan Allen) had arrived in town with his cat Tom (Taneth Allen) and surprise, surprise he fell in love with Ms Delicious’s employee, Miss Cinnamon (Rebecca Lyons) which made him abandon his plans to go to London and seek his fortune and remain in Tweedledum.
In the big finale Alex C Bass found himself up the Twiddle without a paddle, Boris and Delia looked to be heading for the pages of ‘Hello’ magazine as the country’s new celebrity couple, Dick got the girl, the scallywags remained just that.