Classic pantomime takes to the ice with a twist in the tale

Dick Whittington - Lydia Smart Tommy the cat - Ellie Markey
Dick Whittington - Lydia Smart Tommy the cat - Ellie Markey
0
Have your say

Young ice dancers have spent their holidays supporting local children in need.

The Blackpool Ice Drome Children’s Association (BIDCA) has been staging Dick Whittington at the Pleasure Beach Arena right through the Christmas season.

Under the banner ‘Children Helping Children’, BIDCA puts on its annual showcase each year to raise money for local good causes - and celebrated its 75th anniversary with the 2014 show.

The cast of 70 skaters, aged from four to 18 have this time been telling a classic pantomime tale, with a few unusual twists, in aid of Brian House Children’s Hospice at Trinity Hospice and Bugs to Butterflies Youth Group Blackpool.

And 700 children from local charities - Blackpool Boys and Girls Club, Blackpool Young Carers, Brian House, Aiming Higher, Aspired Futures, Activity and Leisure Solutions and Barnardos young carers - were invited to attend performances. A further 200 tickets were distributed through Rock FM’s Cash For Kids scheme to smaller charities such as Fylde Coast Women’s Aid, Unity Family Centre and Sure Start Centres in Blackpool.

Script writer Simon Davies said: “It’s always crucial we choose the right story for the show, because the script is the frame on which everything hangs.

“We need lots of weird and wonderful characters for parts for the children to play, and we need lots of different settings for all of the fabulous numbers David choreographs and produces.

“So that’s why we have a Cockney fairy and an evil rat king, and a daft dame and a dashing hero. And it’s why we globe-trot from right here in Blackpool, to London, via Morocco and - well, why not - King Neptune’s undersea lair.

“And if the director asks me to write a scene involving hip hop fairies, then I’m happy to oblige.”

Heading the cast this year is Lydia Smart in the principal boy role of Dick Whittington, with Ellie Markey as Tommy The Cat, her pal on the road to London.

James Horrocks is the baddie, King Rat, while Robert Lambert plays the dame Daphne Dumpling.

Also in the main character roles are Jennifer Francis as Idle Jack, Lauren Bailey as Alice, Kathryn Bradley as Fairy Bowbells, Ellen Craggs as Alderman Fitzwarren, Nadia Craggs as Sea Captain, Michael Tonge as Sultan, Isabell Lewis as Sultan’s Daughter, and Reece Heer as Neptune.

The show’s director and choreographer David Walsingham added: “Dick Whittington may be one of the less well-known pantos, but it lends itself perfectly to the children’s ice show.

“And what skaters! It’s a real thrill watching the script burst into life as these young performers take to the ice with such skill and gusto - especially when I’ve never dared step foot on the slippery surface myself.

“This is a story about achieving your dreams - and that’s what our cast are doing in this show.”

The BIDCA show has given many local skaters a chance to get their first experience of ice shows, with past cast members including Dancing On Ice professionals Dan Whiston and Kate Stainsby, Winter Olympics competitors Paul Robinson, Steve Picavance, Paul Ascombe and Sharon Jones, Matthew Grimstead who’s spent 12 years with Disney On Ice, and Josh Cowell who joined Holiday On Ice in 2014.

Pleasure Beach managing director and president of Stageworks Worldwide Productions - which runs the Hot Ice show - Amanda Thompson even cut her ice teeth in the productions as a teenager.

The final performance of Dick Whittington takes place today. Call 0871 222 9090 or visit www.childrenhelpingchildren.co.uk to book tickets.