Pantsoc Presents: Dick Whittington

Review: Dick Whittington
Stars: ****
Date: 30.01.10
Writer: Rosie Fletcher
Director: Alexander Lawless and Patrick Fysh
Producer: Anna Shaw and Alice Woodhall

I have been to the pantomime at least once every year of my life, being taught from day one that this is tradition. Despite the inherent English-ness of this tradition, however, I am aware that it has become an acquired taste. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the student PantSoc as different sources told me different things: raving about it, condemning it. Rarely did I come across ambivalence – it seemed very much a marmite issue. At 7:30pm on Saturday evening I prepared myself to enter Central Hall and pick the seat in which I would sit for three and a half hours in, apparently, either raucous laughter or despair.

As it turns out, the latter becomes impossible: the cast attack all musical numbers, scenes, and dances without restraint, and challenge the audience to interact. Panto-haters would be hard-pressed not to laugh and marvel at the sheer courage of the 52-strong cast.

Rosie Fletcher’s script left no aspect of pantomime unexplored, from the irresistible “Dick” jokes, and “he’s behind you!” to political satire. As they pulled out all the stops, they also took conventional aspects of pantomime to another level. The all too memorable Miss Anne Throppe, played by Josh Giles, stepped up the role of drag queen with a shocking fishnets/leotard/heels number for a rendition of ‘Single Ladies’. As the show progressed, the jokes became more daring. Having begun with a light-hearted and spot on parody of York University stereotypes (to which the audience knowingly laughed), at the end we were left screaming as Idle Jack is trapped under ‘The Jizz Blanket’.

Every scene or character, however seemingly unrelated it may have been, was redeemed by something memorable, explicit, or knee-slap funny, and they themselves would recognise any blatant inconsistency. I shrank in my seat as they sought out the Nouse reporter to shout over a mock apology for something explicit or irrelevant.

The confident and self-mocking production was complimented by slick choreography and costume, leaving everybody speechless and impressed by this tribute to the national tradition of pantomime.

16 comments

  1. 31 Jan ’10 at 5:56 pm

    Miranda Fay Thomas

    Agreed, Mia de Graaf, agreed! The principles were undoubtedly the best I’ve seen in a York Panto – commendations to Tom Crowley (yes, I know), Giles, Max Tyler, Chris White, Sion Clarke, Emily Thommes and Helen Marrison!

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  2. YAY FOR NOUSE LIKING PANTO! Really glad you enjoyed it my dear, Lord knows we all did – hold your breath for the summer one, it’s sure to be an absolute stonker!

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  3. Biggest congratulations to Rosie Fletcher, for sure. Dressing up in drag and delivering innuendo is one thing, but writing two and a half hours of hilarious dialogue is bloody difficult, and takes real talent.

    The script was certainly what made this Panto far better than any other over the past few years.

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  4. 31 Jan ’10 at 9:14 pm

    Justin Stathers

    Hooray! I’m so glad people have enjoyed the panto, even the exacting journalists of Nouse. I think I’d be right in saying that the – well-deserved, in my opinion – praise will mean an awful lot, to an awful lot of people.

    Of course, now that PantSoc and Nouse have the opportunity to bury the hatchet, according to Panto tradition all that remains is for them to get married and live happily ever after together. However, I’m not sure the current laws recognise marriages between whole student societies, and in any case it’d be a pain getting everyone into the registry office, so I rather think a simple “Huzzah for panto, and huzzah for Nouse!” should suffice.

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  5. Biggest ego award goes to… HENRY JAMES FOY! Who else would link to their own page of substandard journalism?

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  6. @HJF lover, yay for commenting on topic…

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  7. P.S I loved the panto! It was amazing. Well done especially to Idle Jack and Miss Ann Throppe and ELS as the legendary Yarkshur man. Genius!

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  8. 31 Jan ’10 at 11:36 pm

    PantSoc Person Numero Uno

    What a way to end a fantastic week for PantSoc, thanks Mia! Also fantastic to see Nouse supporting pantomime. I’m sure Rosie will be more than pleased to hear your comments too, Mr Foy-sir!

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  9. 31 Jan ’10 at 11:38 pm

    Ernie Goldberg

    Panto was shit, why wasn’t Laura Horton in it? She’s beautiful

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  10. 31 Jan ’10 at 11:38 pm

    Ernie Goldberg

    Did anyone see University Challenge by the way?
    Also, looking forward to Rent xxxxxxx

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  11. 1 Feb ’10 at 12:09 am

    Laura Horton lover!

    She’s well butters!

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  12. 1 Feb ’10 at 12:09 am

    Laura Horton lover!

    She’s well butters! I had to turn my telly-box off.

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  13. 1 Feb ’10 at 9:01 pm

    Ernie Goldberg

    Can anyone explain why Laura Horton wasn’t in Panto? I miss her face. Does anyone have the answer? Laura? Do you read this?

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  14. 2 Feb ’10 at 4:44 pm

    Justin Stathers

    @Ernie Goldberg

    She didn’t sign up to be. Next.

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  15. 2 Feb ’10 at 8:48 pm

    Ernie Goldberg

    Yes but WHY didn’t she sign up? Does she not know how much we love her? How much panto would have been improved by her beautiful heart-shaped face and luscious, dark hair?

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  16. 20 Feb ’10 at 11:45 am

    Miss Understood

    I thought the pantomime was truly wonderful this year. Well done Pantsoc.
    The writing was slick and Fletcher has done well to weave in some more intellectual jokes along with traditional panto banter (banto). Highlighting the repetitive (but in my panto veteran opinion ‘needed’) dick jokes using a the very commanding Josh Sisskin was a brilliant touch.
    The storyline was clear… having recently made the transition from York to London myself, I found many a witty comparison to my own often baffling state of Northerner/Southerner. Little touches of randomness made me almost urinate with laughter, for example Richard Barker’s solo ‘Roxanne’ dance and a lot of things Miranda Crowhurst said. The VT was also side-splittingly hilarious, playing on the sites and sounds of York we all know and love… the pianoman… the pasty shop… Supermario…
    The leads were fabulous weren’t they? I’ve heard Josh Giles has never (publicly) donned a dress before, but he did so with panache and professionalism. Tom C has an amazing grasp of comic acting – surpassing the overblown slapstick of pantomimes that are usually aimed at children to produce a more subtle yet more hilarious comic evolution to his every look and movement. Chris White was just lovely wasn’t he? Max Tyler was a fantastic villian, particularly in the way he knocked back a winning retort to any outspoken member of the audience. The standard of singing was excellent this year, Emily and Helen’s ‘Wont say I’m in love’ sounded incredible and Dan Chatfield has the voice of an angel.
    All the cast members had energy and commitment – a special mention to the three virtues who remained deliciously and disgustingly seductive throughout the entire show. Another special mention to those that were involved in the costumes for the show – the dame always looked fabulous and there were more corsets onstage than Goth Night at the Moulin Rouge.
    Overall, a great achievement winning even Nouse’s approval! Here’s to the future of Pantsoc!

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