Westfield Folkhouse Pantomime Group launches Dick Whittington at Palace Theatre

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Dedicated pantomimers are pulling out the stops to make their 75th production the best yet.

Dedicated pantomimers are pulling out the stops to make their 75th production the best yet.

Cracking comedy sketches, sparkling song and dance numbers and sets which have graced professional productions will light up the stage at Mansfield Palace Theatre.

Westfield Folkhouse Pantomime Group launches its production of Dick Whittington this weekend, with a cast of 50 treading the boards.

Director Brandon Stafford said: “It is a real labour of love - we don’t get anything for it, apart from the love of doing it and we all thoroughly enjoy it.

“It is really expensive to put on, in the region of £20,000 as we get the best scenery we can.

“We are very fortunate in that we have an excellent costume mistress in Julie Wright.”

The panto has been a year in the making. Brandon, Dave Gell, Sally Ann Davis and Charlotte Oscroft began writing the script last January and the cast has been rehearsing since September.

“It’s a traditional panto geared towards a family audience, for children of nine to 90 years,” said Brandon

He’s not only directing the production but also teams up with Dave Gell to play comedy duo Bob and Sam.

Dave is a veteran of 35 pantos and specialises in comedy roles. Brandon has been in 18 pantos, inspired to join by his dad Brian who was a member of the group for 35 years.

Jane Wright heads the cast as Dick Whittington, with Charlotte Knowles playing Alice Fitzwarren and Jono Wilson as King Rat.

Brandon said the group was proud of its tradition of presenting a family panto at a ‘very affordable price’. “For under £5, people can come and enjoy a wonderful evening of live theatre with comedy, dancing, singing, and audience participation,” he said.

The pantomime runs from Saturday, January 10, to Saturday, January 17. Evening performances start at 7.15pm (Sunday 6.30pm) with matinees both Saturdays at 2.30pm, and on Sunday at 11am and 3pm. Tickets £4.75. Contact Mansfield 633133, or on-line at www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre