Cinderella

Date 20th January 2016
Society The DODS
Venue Lister Hall, Dursley
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Craig Hewlett
Musical Director Alex Hogego
Choreographer Lydia Kenny

Report

Author: Dee Way

This version of Cinderella was written some years ago by the Director and came complete with slapstick, corny jokes, ugly sisters, wicked stepmother, a fairy godmother and a charming prince. There were some very inventive touches in this version of the story that were very well communicated. I still do not know how Cinderella’s dress was changed for the ball-gown! However, I do feel that the script could use a little editing before being used again (this may have reflected in some enegry levels) and it would help to clarify the roles of the bailiffs, in particular.

The opening set was excellent, with a clock face circling the stage and a glitter ball creating a festive atmosphere. Then the overture led into the market scene started and we were introduced to various characters, including Buttons, Ella, her father and her fairy godmother. The traditional sweet sharing was well handled, now that throwing them is considered a health and safety issue.

The lighting, sound, costume, choreography and music all formed integral parts to an excellent staging. The set changes were very well handled, with a smooth backstage operation. The provision of steps, a platform, kitchen and ballroom were very well done. The lighting was good, with follow spots used to very good effect and some very atmospheric nuances. I liked the ‘tree’ gobo in the woodland. The sound and special effects were very good. The thunder was so realistic that I ducked and looked for the storm! 

The choreography by Lydia Kenny fitted well into the show, with dancers from a local dance school filling the roles of villagers and courtiers. In fact, the company was very well disciplined throughout, and the use of slow motion ball dance to show the passing of time was great. The lit-up clock face at the back of the ballroom scene was a masterpiece, with the moving hands underlining the approach of midnight.

Music was well chosen and where required, the lyrics had been rewritten to fit the show. The live music led by Alex Howgego adjusted speeds and pauses to the performers really well. Unfortunately, the tailoring of the lyrics were hard to grasp in the course of the pantomime at times.  However, ‘Ella’s Window’ for ‘Amarillo’ was a particularly good fit, as was ‘Raining in my Heart’.

Costumes were bright and cheerful throughout. The Fairy Godmother’s cloak was really effective, as it changed from dark to pink as she revealed who she was to Cinderella. However, I did feel that more ragged clothes for Cinderella might have made her transformation more amazing, and more differentiation between the Prince and Dandini would have helped the audience know who was who.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable show that made excellent use of staging variations, lighting and music.