It’s pantomime time at Saxlingham Nethergate this week as the show Dick Whittington and his Cat is set to take to the stage.

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The festive favourite is being performed by the Saxlingham Players which is in its 61st year, and the production, written by Ben Crocker, is the Players 126th show.

The pantomime has a cast of about 25 and is directed by Ron Jeffery, the president of the Players.

He said: “It is a traditional pantomime. There is a lot of music in it and a lot of laughter. It is just great fun. Everyone has really enjoyed putting the show together.”

It is a real family affair for Mr Jeffery as his wife Hazel is an assistant stage manager (ASM), their daughter Amelia the assistant director and an ASM, their daughter Melissa is playing the fairy, their eight-year-old granddaughters Eleanor and Tilly are playing mice, and their 19-year-old grandson Edmund is playing the dame.

The actors playing the title roles are sisters Lucy Finnie (Dick Whittington) and Katie Cary (Tommy the cat).

Mat Briggs is playing Alderman Fitzwarren, Captain Horatio Fitzwarren and the Emperor of Morocco, while Mike Pye is playing the King Rat.

Alice Fitzwarren is played by Christine Osbourne and Idle Jack is played by Sammy Balsillie.

The oldest cast member is 81-year-old Olive English who is playing one of the citizens and has been a member of the Players for many, many years.

The set has been designed by Alex Watson and the music has been arranged by Claire Reeve.

The Players’ history goes back to just after the second world war when Saxlingham Women’s Institute invited men to join them to perform pantomimes and plays at the village hall.

Mr Jeffery spoke of his pride that the Players had helped to launch professional theatre careers, including the career of Sophie Austen who trained at Rose Bruford College and is now rehearsing for the Harold Pinter play Old Times which is due to be performed in London.

For more about the players visit www.saxlinghamplayers.org.uk

Dick Whittington and his Cat is being performed at Saxlingham Nethergate Village Hall from Thursday to Saturday at 7.30pm each night. There is also a 2pm show on Saturday.

Tickets cost £7 for adults and £5 for concessions. To book call the box office between 9am until 9pm on 01508 499369.

Are you putting on a festive show? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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