NODA review of - "Dick Turpin the Panto"
Friday, Jan 29, 2016 6:12 pm
Benenden Players Dick Turpin the Panto
Written and Directed by: Beverley Beveridge
Musical Director: Graham Beveridge
Benenden Village Hall
Saturday 23rd  January 2016 

Another super script from Beverley Beveridge, again, something a little different, bending the history of ‘stand and deliver’ notorious Dick Turpin, in the vicinity of Benenden, Kent.  The story revolves around the new community shop, The Squire and the good villagers, and was developed on the spying of poster mentioning highwaymen in the local hostelry The Bull, with a good Parish Council stir. As in all good pantos we have a Dame, owner of the village shop, Lotta Dumplings assisted by simple son Seymour, who surprises us all, and the lovely Lucy Luscious for whom he has a soft spot.  We have a gang of cheeky smugglers who supply the store and the Cock and Bull, with filched goods from Rye! Fly in the ointment The Squire, a mean and miserly man sees fit to help himself and there is no comeback as most of the villagers are his tenants. Upsetting the system DT arrives and makes himself known by stealing from the honest smugglers! Seymour decides to impress Lucy, takes on a James Bond persona, forms his own police force made up of well known ‘mini’ super sleuths to apprehend the dastardly DT.  Together they get their man, who has been in disguise as a man of the cloth!   

MUSIC: Graham B provides a great sound and versatility with his keyboard, and this year was no exception. Well known titles were being played on arrival with Robin Vesma on his new electric Double Bass, with Simon Pain, the third member of the band making his first appearance this side of stage drumming, for last year he was stage crew – SM John Clarke naturally reluctant to let him go!  Hours of hard work collating the right music, rehearsing culminated in an excellent performance from the band, soloists and ensemble work.  

PROGRAMME:  Solid, glossy, coloured 16 page A5 programme, front cover depicting crossed duelling pistols and the black mask of Dick Turpin, complete with NODA crest and wording albeit it small, well put together by Ruth Clark and produced by the Cogent Partnership.     

With support from Travis Perkins and Webbs the construction team created and painted some very good scenery, with a fine opening of the village store, full of character, and splendid Cock & Bull interior (nearly as good as The Bull itself) This year the use of gauze drops certainly made for an easier workload for the backstage crew and looked most effective.    

COSTUMES:  A very noble effort all round here from Ruth, Dee Shelley, Kath Malaugh and Mad Hatters of Bodiam ( The young smugglers complete with tricorns and stripes perfect, the youngsters as the various sleuths with great finishing touches, Colombo had a wonderful large cigar, Miss Marple the handbag, Sherlock Holmes the deerstalker and curly pipe and so on.  Dame Lotta Dumpling’s garb was quite outrageous, colourful, showing off her unnatural  assets beautifully with makeup to equal.  Great Parson disguise, fooling us with a central hair parting and those ‘Dick Emery’ teeth aka Turpin, who exposed himself in full highwayman regalia towards the end. Neat waisted, full skirted, all in pink with hair to match, gave us a lovely Lucy Luscious.  Not forgetting the delights of Margate, Lola Bidot and Lilo Lil dressed in fine sequinned and feathered cabaret style.  I must not forget, The Farmer and his wonderful manure dropping Horse. The nasty Squire was sporting a revealing pair of combinations, whilst Seymour transformed himself from tank-topped Frank Spencer lookalike to the dashing, debonair, shaken not stirred, Benenden’s own James Bond action man.  

  A big team effort here from those of the upper shelf, with sound levels good, lighting and effects well cued. 

  This production was very much a pantomime with real local influence and the reaction from the audience applauded this.  Fun from start to finish, the performance was well executed with banter flying, even if the Director said they couldn’t change the script this only encouraged the actors even more! How ever did prompt Nick Snow keep up? The live band was terrific, working so hard throughout using so many familiar tunes. The Beveridges’ certainly have a winning recipe. We heard some excellent solos with great ensemble work. The young members were well rehearsed, confident and obviously enjoying themselves. Male members of the audience were coaxed on stage, donning wigs and boas.  Entrances and exits using the main door and steps up to the stage plus the usual on stage made the production more interactive, and put the audience in range of the water pistol!  Congratulations to you all on a very funny, successful, quite different Dick Turpin. 

 A précis will appear on the NODA website ( shortly. 

Anne Lawson
Regional Representative
NODA South East District 3