Date 21st December 2017
Society In Your Face Theatre (Seaham)
Venue Seaham Town Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Jon Isbell & Steph Peacock


Author: Peter Oliver

Cinderella for me is one of the best pantomime tale and love story ever told it is a story which is as popular today as it was way back in 1721 when it was originally known as Finetta, the Cinder Girl, it wasn’t until 1804 that it came to England showcasing at the Theatre Royal, Dury Lane, re- named Cinderella as part of the new Grand Allegorical Pantomime spectacular. Therefore with this province I was not surprised when I arrived at Seaham Town Hall to be greeted with a full house for In Your Face Theatre Seaham interpretation of “Cinderella”.

Co- Directed by Jon Isbell and Steph Peacock they ensured that they brought the magic of Cinderella to life, with its own individuality and charm underpinned by a well-chosen selection of musical numbers which captured the fun of a traditional pantomime whilst Jon’s creative flair enhanced the script bringing the story up to date and included not just two ugly sisters but four.

Congratulations must also go to the technical team, Duncan Baxter and Jack Richardson for providing good sound and lighting and to Liz Scott for wardrobe and props with over 50 costumes involved in this production it certainly took some creativity and organisation to ensure that it worked seamless and as expected it looked fantastic and it was great to hear the audience gasp when Cinderella arrived in her beautiful blue wedding gown, every young girl’s dream.

A pantomime should have the following ingredients; it should be fun, exciting and have the audience engaged from the opening scene and In Your Face Theatre Seaham certainly had all these ingredients. The show opened with the Fairy Godmother played by Anne Peacock setting the scene, she certainly brought this character up to date with the use of a mobile phone and I enjoyed her musical number “Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo” the two younger fairies,’ Blue played by Emily Kerr and Green Fairy played by Aimee Curtis had the audience amused as Blue was confident in rhyming and Green struggling to get her rhymes in order but what they did deliver with ease was their musical number “The World is Upside Down”.

Peter Baker in the role of Buttons had the audience engaged from the start he had good charismatic charm and stage presence and lead the pantomime sing along “Witchdoctor” which the younger audience certainly enjoyed. Deborah Taylor-Smith was everything you would expect and delivered a sterling performance in the lead role Cinderella, great stage presence and a lovely singing voice, I particularly enjoyed “A Thousand Miles” and her duet “”Perfect” with Prince Charming who was regally played by Alie Roberts who had good stage presence and vocally he delivered his musical numbers well I enjoyed “his interpretation of “Love is in the Air”.

Darrel Rush was perfectly cast as the poor but loving father Barron Hardup good characterisation as did JoJo Leithes as the Wicked Stepmother who ensured that she had the audience booing in all the right places. No Pantomime is complete without the panto dame and the audience wasn’t disappointed Barry Thomas excelled himself as Mildred (Mildew) as did David Jackson as Maude (Mould) they certainly made Cinderella’s life unbearable but were a treat to watch and I loved their musical number “Sister’s” very entertaining. Playing their younger half-sisters, and the youngest dames I have ever seen in an adult pantomime, were Corey Clarke as Milly and Sam J Scott as Molly, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work but I was pleasantly surprised and I loved their characters and how creatively there were dressed to match their older sisters good performances and again enjoyed their decorating scene and musical number “This Ole House”.

There was good performances from Paul Henry as the King and Jennifer Henry as the Queen, last but not least was Norma Ord as Dandini, as ever Norma delivered a stand out performance she certainly can captivate the audience, she has a natural ability to emulate her character and has good stage presence for me Norma stood out and delivered a great performance.

The ensemble scenes were robust and engaging and were performed with great energy and enthusiasm congratulations to the junior ensemble inclusive of Chelsea Barker, Niamh Bushby, Georgia Leithes, Danyl Neil, Amber and Daniel Scott, Anna Patchett Ian Rush and Katie Smith, I loved their Woodland scene and member of the adult ensemble including Donna Hanley, Catherine Hillam, Aimee Honnor and Tracey Neil.

Christmas for many of us would not be the same without the seasonal pantomime as for many of us pantomimes was the place that we all first discovered the magic of theatre, well done to everyone at In Your Face Theatre Seaham for bringing that magic to life with your interpretation of Cinderella. Well done to everyone