The tale of the 14th century London mayor provided the good citizens of Braemar with their annual pantomime and they won’t have been disappointed.
What a hoot!
Taking us to London and Morocco and a highly-entertaining but disastrous sea voyage in between, Dick Whittington, provided some rollicking good fun on a cold winter’s night on Deeside.
Director John Macpherson began the special effects right from the start with the eerie entrance of Queen Rat (Clare Strachan).
From there on there followed some memorable sequences involving a mobile phone, a shipwreck and even a full-scale naval battle in which the audience was left with no choice but to join in!
Clare Strachan’s first panto appearance was in 1993 and she knows well how to get the biggest boos from the audience, ably helped by some charming “mice” and “rats” from the Braemar Cub Scouts.
At the other end of the scale, Braemar panto debutante (and Braemar Castle manager) Laura McMeekin made a huge impression as the gallus cook Sarah.
Over the top and larger than life, she provided many of the major comic moments.
Richard Baker was an admirable Alderman Fitzwarren while his wife Marilyn had the fewest lines (“Meow”) but one of the biggest parts as Tommy the Cat.
She did well to extract so much drama out of one word and a few whiskers.
Katie Strachan provided an enchanting Fairy Bowbells while Cameron Lawrence and Susie Farquharson were as reliable as ever in the roles of Idle Jack and Dick.
Panto veteran Pete Mulvey did a splendid turn trying to remain in charge of the cast, crew and pyrotechnics of the good ship Saucy Sall while Rhianna Cameron was a late recruit to the cast as the Empress of Morocco and held her own while chaos was all around her.
Jessica McIntosh as Alice Fitzwarren finally got her “man” in the end with the bells ringing out for her wedding to Dick.
As ever, director John McPherson worked miracles with a tiny stage.
Credit goes to all concerned for months of hard and dedicated work to get this production on stage and maintain a remarkable and worthwhile tradition in the village.
Music was provided by Dave Westall on keyboard and welcome newcomer, Angus McNicol, on drums.