Dereham Theatre Company (formerly Dereham Operatic Society) is a charitable Trust and was formed in 1948 to offer the local community education and enlightenment in amateur dramatic arts. A very grand way of saying that we were formed to entertain the people of Dereham and Norfolk!
Our Shakespearian motto “Mere folk who give distraction are we” comes from Cole Porter’s musical “Kiss Me Kate”, which we first performed in 1970, and is based upon one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays “The Taming of the Shrew”.
We stage three productions a year (not including the productions of our youth group) including a major musical in the autumn, a pantomime over the Christmas period and a play in the spring. There is something for everyone!
If you are looking to join one of the premier operatic and dramatic societies in Norfolk as either a performer (we actively encourage all whatever your ability or experience, whether you are a singer, an actor, dancer, or just enjoy being on stage), backstage helper, front of house staff or just looking to purchase some tickets for our next show . you need look no further; Welcome to our website.
Memorial Hall, Dereham. 1st January 2012
“Without a doubt the star of this show was the newly refurbished and extended Dereham Memorial Hall what a fantastic job has been done and DOS were lucky nay privileged to stage the first public show at this super venue. The public, who were less than keen to come to last years super panto at the High School, came in their droves, perhaps to see this new venue, but also to see a traditional family panto, and on both fronts were not disappointed. Dereham pride themselves on their traditional pantomimes and this one followed that fine tradition.
Firstly it was apparent that the live music with MD Ian Futers and percussionist Matthew Crittenden were ‘up for it’ and in tune with every opportunity for underscoring and musical sound effects, this can add so much to a panto! They both clearly enjoyed the whole package and had selected some great songs for principals and chorus. Additionally and perhaps unusually, I will give my first accolade to the six young ladies who made up the dance troupe (Martha Bailey, Rachael Bird, Jade Copeman, Amy Futers, Emma Hammond, Bryony Rowe). They were truly a highlight of this show with some twenty plus routines, they did not put a foot wrong and should be considered for the Olympic Synchronised Swimming (My assistant critic, Thomas Major age 10, said ; “I liked them a lotthey were brilliant and they put lots of effort into their parts!”).
Now Mother Goose is not a pantomime with a great story, with the good and evil sort of tagged on, but lively cockney Fairy Fortune (Emma Gall) with great pyrotechnic entrances, was a lovely rough and ready counter to Demon Discontent (Nick Bird) who worked hard and gave us all plenty of chances to boo and hiss as he made a play for the villain of the year probably not enough exposure in this show Nick need to see more of you next year ? In this panto you clearly need a Mother Goose and here was a fine Dame in this role (Gareth Evans) building on his excellent debut from last year as he was much more confident and totally comfortable in the various frocks and fineries that adorned his entrances. Good facials and his/her ‘bra’ jokes were a great and clever running gag, making this an uplifting performance! Maybe a more adventurous costume when the transformation takes place would have been the icing on the cake. He is a great Dame in the making Daughter Jill (Ellie Buckingham) was truly beautiful and sung with great style as she played the romantic role opposite our hero Colin (Jayne Andrew) who looked great, a truly traditional Principal Boy, with the occasional thigh slap (more please!), great stage presence and attitude. Perhaps a slightly less affluent costume would have been appropriate until their wealth was restored. We knew this pair were made for each other, perhaps a bit more suspense was needed as the path of true love ran abnormally smoothly. Not so that of Mother Gooses’ younger offspring, as ‘Silly’ Billy Gosling (Charlotte Buckingham) had all the kids on his side and ‘in his gang’, even if stealing a dubious pot of Christmas flowers was hardly worth shouting about we all did though! Billy kept up the energy throughout in a lively and engaging way a real audience pleaser (My assistant critic, thought she/he was great). In this panto there was little for the human baddies to do but with excellent bumptious blustering, the Squire (Tony Wilds) was suitably obnoxious and un moving in his desire to have Mother Goose evicted and to increase the rents of all the villagers. He was ably or not assisted by his henchman Bill Bumpkin (Kevin Reeve) and Ben Bogtrotter (Mark Wells) who had some nice comedy moments and worked well together as a fine pair of incompetent bumbling baddies. I particularly liked their sketch with the ‘broken crockery’ parcel.
Thus far, no mention of Priscilla the Goose, sent from space it seemed, and a fine eight foot specimen she was. Real goose feathers, beak and moving eyes (sadly nothing else did) she dominated the stage, dwarfing everyone around her, and of course she laid the golden eggs rather too soon in the proceedings I felt; and all at once! (I felt the script was a trifle lame in this respect). So the story had little else except the beautification of Mother Goose which worked well with ghosts and goblins by the enchanted pool a nice scene, of which I felt more could have been made. The Goose perhaps looked a trifle past its ’sell by date’ as not all parts were in working order, but it was ably handled from within by Amy Evans complete with in built duck call! Her ‘parents’ King Proper Gander (Peter Havis) and Queen Goosegog (Pat Tabor) gave well portrayed cameos, and yes there were plenty of goose gags!
This script was not particularly inspiring (the best of nine scripts read) but Dereham made the most of it and technically it worked well with excellent costumes and home made scenery giving the audience a great night out, the song sheet needed a bit more thought but we clapped and sang along with the ‘army of kids’ invited onto the stage to assist. They will all remember their, albeit brief, first time on stage! Well done, a show fit for this great new venueEnjoy it!