|Date||8th February 2020|
|Society||Audlem 5A Company|
|Venue||Audlem Public Hall|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
Author: Joe Clarke
Audlem Theatre Company opened their 2020 season this week with their pantomime production of Cinderella. Written by Nigel Holmes and adapted by Colin Cliffe, this funny and clever script had all the elements of a rip-roaring panto fiasco but sadly, due to a lack of pace and projection at times, this production nearly missed the mark. Directed by Katherine Black, it is clear to see that a lot of hard work has gone into this production. There were many scenes in this show and scene changes were quick. The different areas of the stage, as well as in front of the cloth and the auditorium were used well to keep the audience entertained and keep scene changes to the minimum. The clever script had some great one-liners and a few near the knuckle (but funny) innuendos (clearly from Colin Cliffe). Some of the cast had great projection but sadly others did not, which meant that some of the jokes landed and some didn’t. Some of the actors also devoiced at the end of sentences which meant that it was hard to hear, despite having a mic on. The biggest disappointment was the overall pace. Some of the scenes from the main cast had great pace but some of the others, particularly the Prosecco and Cava scenes, didn’t. I’m being really picky here. The sell out audience loved this show and it did have many great attributes, for me, it wasn’t consistent all the way through.
The staging of this piece was very good. I liked to use of the set and props as well as the lighting and sound. The costumes were fabulous, and a lot of hard work has clearly gone into costuming this production. I also appreciated the choreography which had various choreographic elements in it with regards to shaping etc.
Cinderella was played by Sarah Shillito. Sarah was well cast in this role and was suitably sweet. Sarah was able to display her lovely vocals in her songs and she had a nice rapport with Buttons (David Davenport). David was a great storyteller and quickly established a great rapport with the audience from the offset. He was very well cast and looked like he was having the time of his life onstage.
Tinkly and Sprinkly (the comedy duo) were well played by NODA award winner Helen Katterloher and Paul Turner. Their energy and pace were great, as was their projection. They brought some nice slapstick into the piece and really helped get the pace flowing in their scenes.
Prosecco and Cava (The Dames) reminded me of Matt Lucas and David Walliams from Little Britain. Cava (Dave Halliday) was the funnier of the two for me. He had a lovely rapport with his sister (Trevor Hough) both they both delivered their lines using a high-pitched voice which devoiced at the end of the sentence which meant that many of the funny jokes were lost in translation. Some of the ad libs with the audience seemed a little apologetic which doesn’t work for these characters. The audience obviously knew the actors behind the dresses and laughed in all of the right places, but I fear this was because of the actors, not the characters.
Prince Charming (Cat Hunter) was great in this role. Suitably cast, Cat displayed excellent projection and I could hear every word she said – lovely storytelling and energy. She had a lovely rapport with Dandini (Matthew Pascall) who sadly also devoiced in some sentences. Overall though, their scenes were enjoyable to watch, and it was great to see the smile on Matthew’s face throughout.
Fairy Mary’s opening speech was very funny and set up the tone for the performance. With a added explosions, lights in her costume and a lit up wand, Lucy Davenport couldn’t really go wrong! Lucy did well to hold the audience’s attention whilst speaking in rhyme and was suitably funny as well as being a good storyteller.
Other parts were played by Rebecca Dutton, Frankie Webster, Kieran Campion, Evie Howes and Elise Campion. Each had their own part to play and it is clear to see that Audlem Theatre Company have a great little future ahead of them by bringing these children through the ranks in each show. It is abundantly clear that this theatre company are very well supported by their audiences and so they should be. They are the backbone of this community and enable children and adults to come together to create wonderful pieces of theatre whilst developing fundamental life skills. Audlem Theatre Company are what amateur theatre is all about. This production of Cinderella was entertaining and very well supported by their audience and long may that continue. I thank Audlem Theatre Company for their kind hospitality and wish them all the very best for their future productions this year.