Metro Theatre
Dick Whittington and His Cat
by Johnny Duncan

Dates and Venue 18-19, 22-23, 26, 29-30 Dec & 2, 7-9 Jan 2010 @ 7.00 p.m Matinees 2.00 p.m. 19-20, 26- 28 Dec & 1-3, 9 Jan | Metro Theatre (1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

I was chatting right before the show with Metro's expert pantomime writer, director and actor, Johnny Duncan, who writes and produces the annual Christmas panto of this community theatre, and he was saying that his first acting role was playing the Captain in a London production of Dick Whittington and His Cat. The actor apparently backed out and he was asked to play the part. Since then, he's been involved in the panto, and has been doing the panto yearly for Metro. The difference is, this year, he's left the directing to Spencer Snashall, an actor, singer, dancer, director, teacher and a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

Most pantomimes are fantasy/fiction, but Dick Whittington is actually based on fact rather than fantasy, as Dick did exist and served as Lord Mayor of London on three occasions. So far, this production has been the best panto I've see in Metro. It's good to see the energetic Amber Shikaze back as Dick Whittington; she played Aladdin in last year's Panto. It's good to see the regulars: Trent Glukler (Demon Distastely), Tony Bordignon (Sara Suet), Rob Gillespie (Alderman Fitzwarren) and many young talents like Sarah Lacey and Danielle Lee-Hogervorst who shared the role of Tommy the Cat.

Dawn Ewen's choreography was fabulous, and the jokes by Duncan are as corny as they should be (drum rolls and cymbal) with the usual local references. As is usual in all pantos, the children boo the villain Demon and cheer the Fairy of the Bells (Andra Norton), and at the end, everyone sings and dances to the 12 days of Christmas.

This yearly affair always gets the house jampacked, especially during matinees, the most convenient time to bring young and old to the theatre. I attrended the December 27th matinee and, was the theatre jampacked. I was with my granddaughter who was a bit scared at first when the villain first appeared, but later on, enjoyed booing him, as did most of the kids.

The panto has been a tradition for chilldren during the Christmas holiday season, and for Metro, it's always been a treat..

© 2009 Ed Farolan