Review: Hickory Dickory Dock, St Serf’s Church Hall

Hickory Dockory Dock. Pic: Comp

Hickory Dockory Dock. Pic: Comp

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YOU can’t accuse St Serf’s Players of not providing value for money. With 50 performers on stage at one time or another in Hickory, Dickory, Dock for a bargain £7 entry fee, that’s 14p a performer.

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Celebrating their 65th year of local theatre and already sold out over the weekend, St Serf’s are certainly looking spry for their age.

Part of their success seems to be the many generations that are involved in the production, they’re a family show by a local ‘family’.

As a result of all those enthusiastic thesps taking to the stage, St Serf’s have chosen a script by amateur favourite Norman Robbins, which has a generous range of principal roles.

There may be only one pantomime dame, in the form of a frisky Philip Wilson as Dame Foxtrot, but there’s no shortage of scheming baddies, from a malign magician to an incompetent imp to an abominable baron. Keeping up with the plot, which has holes as large as Swiss cheese, often requires more focus than really ought to be required of a panto audience. A little judicious editing by director Phyllis Ross would help the story feel less like fairyland’s answer to Inception and give it a pacier feel, a couple of jokes also sail uncomfortably close to the non-pc line.

It’s a little disappointing to see such a large and invested cast caught up in a script with such a great deal of vague exposition describing what happened off stage rather than action and dynamic resolution.

That said the production has several lovely visual jokes within it and may just win the golden goose for number of costume changes in a single panto. Somewhere behind scenes is a seriously dedicated costume department.

• Run ends tomorrow