BWW Reviews: DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT Charm Kids and Adults Alike at SCT
If you need a break from the bitter cold outside then step on in to Seattle Children's Theatre for the new musical version of "Dick Whittington and His Cat". Whether you're 4 or 40 this rollicking romp will warm your heart and have you beaming with joy from the sheer charm of it all.
Based on the English folktale, this new adaptation from Jeff Church and Richard Gray follows the thrilling adventures of young Dick Whittington (Mike Spee), an orphan who finds himself in London with no prospects other than finding fabled streets of gold. He soon finds himself in the employ of the kindly Mr. Fitzwarren (John Patrick Lowrie) and his quiet daughter Alice (Fawn Ledesma). But the cruel housekeeper Mrs. MacGrundy (Jayne Muirhead) has no use for him so she sends him to sleep in the attic with the rats. While out on an errand, Dick finds himself lost in London but happens on a mysterious stranger (Richard Gray) who gives him his lucky cat to help the boy find his way. And he does and with the help of his new feline friend, Trueheart (who has a talent for catching rats), he finds his way home and off on adventures that will take him to the far off Barbary Coast where he meets the mysterious Cabier (Jared Michael Brown) and the vicious pirate Bloody Bess (Hana Lass).
This is one of those gems that leaves you with a satisfied little sigh at the end as it wins you over with one glorious character after another. Not only is the adaptation and the music from Church and Gray a complete winner but the sets and costumes from Carey Wong and Catherine Hunt are so rich and enjoyable that they alone are almost worth the price of admission. And I must mention the wizardry of Annett Mateo who created such a wonderful and expressive puppet for Trueheart. She's just so articulate that she goes beyond prop and becomes a complete character.
Cobey Mandarino and Vickielee Wohlbach round out this stunning ensemble that infuses this story with tons of joy and heart and each take their respective moments to shine. Brown completely owns the ridiculousness and fun of the Cabier and turns in one of the best numbers of the show as he explains the tale of the cat. Muirhead is delightfully wicked as the stodgy Mrs. MacGrundy. Lass looks to be having a great deal of fun which translates into our fun as she swashbuckles her way around the stage as the vile Bloody Bess. And of course Spee is adorably sweet and charismatic as the optimistic Dick and makes the perfect hero for the tale.
This is a complete win for SCT and the perfect addition to the holiday season for all ages. I found myself completely swept up in the magic and adventure of it all right along with the kids around me and for that reason with my three letter rating system I give Dick Whittington two YAYs. One for the kids and one for the adults as each can walk away with a wonderful time.
"Dick Whittington and His Cat" performs at Seattle Children's Theatre through December 21st. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Children's Theatre box office at 206-441-3322 or visit them online at www.sct.org.