Whittington and his Cat

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Whittington and his Cat

recording of Whittington and his Cat by E. L. Blanchard (1820 – 1889).

Read in English by Cori Samuel; Andy Minter; Jc Guan; mb; Philippa; Anne Cheng; Anna Roberts; Ruth Golding; David Lawrence; Tom; TriciaG; lkku; Lucy Perry; Kim Stich; Phil Chenevert.

Whittington and his Cat, or Harlequin Lord Mayor of London was the 26th Grand Comic Christmas Annual, written by E. L. Blanchard for performance at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London in 1875.

Pantomimes are a favourite Christmas entertainment in England, and in Victorian times were usually written in rhyming couplets. They featured a Principal Boy (played by a girl) and a Dame (played by a man). Over the years they became ever more elaborate with fantastic costumes, huge casts and spectacular transformation scenes. We shall have to leave these to your imagination, dear listener, but we hope that our performance will give you a flavour of Victorian panto.

This version of the story of Dick Whittington was produced from a torn and well-used copy of the pantomime script, and a long search online and in various British libraries for the original music, details of which may be found .

The lyrics of the last song are the cast’s curtain call and include the names Wright, Vokes and Coveney, the Vokes family and Harriet Coveney being famous celebrities in Victorian pantomime.

Dick arrives in London to search for the fabled “streets paved with gold” and after being reunited with his cat Tom who has followed him, finds the mercer Mr. Fitzwarren (for whom business is not going well), his lovely daughter Alice and the fearsome Dorothy the Cook. Many high jinks ensue. (Summary by Ruth Golding)

Dick Whittington – for this recording.

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