In David Wood’s version of the story, a ‘play-within-a-play’ technique is used. The townsfolk of London gather to greet Sir Richard Whittington on his installation as Lord Mayor. A voice of dissent in the crowd belongs to a young boy who resents the acclaim given to ‘a wealthy nob like him’, who is unlikely to help ordinary folk. The crowd explains to the boy that this Lord Mayor is different and has helped many ordinary people; they then tell the story of Dick Whittington, and the boy plays the young Dick. He wins the friendship of young Alice, and becomes involved with the Fitzwarren family and store, a brace of swash-buckling pirates, the lovable Wondercat, and a traditional ‘dame’ character – Bertha the Cook. Dick’s story takes him from the depths of despair and disgrace to his triumph, with Wondercat, defeating the rats infesting the home of the Queen of the Barbary Coast, who turns out to have been educated in England!
- Genre: Theatre for Young Audiences, Christmas/Holiday
- Cast Attributes: Expandable casting, Flexible casting