Century Church offers classic pantomime

A medi­­eval tale of musical fun and comic adventure will come to life as Century Church Theatre stages the pantomime, Dick Whittington and His Cat.
Opening on Nov. 30 for a two-week run, the play follows the trials of a young man who travels to London to seek his fortune.
With the help of his cat, Tammy, Dick Whittington finds true love and becomes Lord Mayor of London – but not until he has been framed as a thief, kidnapped to a spooky African island, and done battle with the magical villain, King Rat.
Pantomime is an English theatrical tradition dating back to the early 1700s, featuring slap­stick humour, popular songs, audience participation, chase scenes, political satire, chore­ography and cross-dress­ing. Unlike mime, it is anything but silent – especially when it is time to boo the bad guy.
This is the third pantomime written for Century Church by Bev Nicholas. Last Christmas it was Aladdin, and in 2005, Cinderella. For this production, he is the writer, director, and a member of the cast.
He has tapped into a tradi­tion that started with Richard Whit­tington, a rich and influ­ential businessman who lived from 1350 to 1423 and served as Lord Mayor of London and a member of parliament. People loved him for the improve­ments he made to the city and the huge sums of money he donated to worthy causes.
Legends about his life became popular (as well as fic­tional), and a play about him was performed in 1605. Eng­lish theatre was influenced by Commedia Dell’ Arte, a style of travelling street theatre from Italy featuring stock characters and much buffoonery, and that developed into pantomime.
In 1814, a Dick Whittington pantomime was performed at Covent Garden Theatre in London. Ever since, play­wrights have been recreating it with new songs, new plot twists, and new jokes.
Evening shows are Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7, and 8, starting at 7pm. Matinees will be per­form­ed Dec. 1, 8, and 9, at 2 pm. The theatre is located on the west side of Main Street.
Tickets are $10, including tax, and are available with cash at The Erin Toybox, 110 Main Street, or Hillsburgh Library. Tickets may be purchased with VISA by calling the Box Office at 519-855-4586.