Date 11th January 2020
Society Winton Players
Venue Festival Hall, Petersfield
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Roger Wettone
Musical Director Tony Blackford
Choreographer Teresa Butcher, Roger Wettone and Molly Bryant


Author: Mark Donalds

Despite taking part in a pantomime every year, I’m not normally a huge fan of watching them, but when you are presented with a production of this quality, you can’t help but enjoy every fun-filled moment. It was excellent in all respects: acting, singing, dancing, music, scenery, costumes, sound, lighting and script - it was the full package!

The Artful Bodgers always make excellent sets for Winton Players, and this one was no exception – well painted and put together, and flexible, allowing swift scene changes by the hard-working stage crew. The props and effects were excellent too – I particularly liked the tree with the naughty arms! The Wardrobe Wizards stunned us with the sparkling, well made and colourful costumes and wigs, and the lighting and sound were spot-on too.

Iris Holt was charming as the Fairy Godmother, helping the plot along with her (almost) risqué rhymes. Ben Bedford bounced on stage as Buttons, quickly getting the audience warmed up. He was eminently likeable and had just the right amount of “cheeky chappie”, easily gaining our sympathy when he loses Cinderella to the Prince. Tara Taylor and Roamy Hunt were well paired as Dandini and Prince Charming, making the role change easy to believe. Both had excellent singing voices and stage presence. Roamy’s voice was particularly well demonstrated in her touching duet with Cinderella – you could feel the tension in the air. The put-upon and down-trodden Cinderella was perfectly portrayed by Grace Moritz, another great singer, and when she arrived at the ball you really felt she couldn’t quite believe her luck.

Panto would be nothing without a dame and, of course, Cinderella gives us two: The Ugly Sisters, played in true panto style by Phill Humphries (Cheryl) and Joff Lacey (Beryl). Supposed to be identical twins, you really couldn’t tell them apart in looks or behaviour! Both stayed just the right side of “over the top”, despite the fun they had with the slapstick and comedy routines – a great pairing.

Cindy Graves and Martin Johnson had fun too as the broker’s men, Snitch and Snatch – great characterisation; Faye Thompson made Lady Devilia Hardup a real dragon and you had to feel sorry for her poor husband Baron Hardup (Simon Horrocks); while Eve Horrocks and Georgia Pinhorn managed to give the pantomime horse, Devon Dumpling, great character and nimbleness of foot.

The small but excellent band, directed by Tony Blackford, was perfect for the show, never overwhelming the singers. The huge chorus of singers and dancers were well drilled, and all looked like they were really enjoying themselves. This makes such a difference to how much an audience enjoys the show.

A good script containing all the right ingredients for a traditional panto, strong direction by Roger Wettone, assisted by John Edwards, and a talented and enthusiastic cast, all added up to a truly memorable production of this favourite show. Looking at the list of the Creative and Production teams in the programme makes you realise just how many people it takes behind the scenes to put on a show like this. Well done to everyone for your hard work – it was appreciated with great enthusiasm by the big audience.