Date 30th December 2021
Society St Paul's Amateur Players Adlington
Venue Adlington Community Centre, Railway Road, Adlington, Chorley
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Graham Cohen
Choreographer Lorraine Robinson and Pearl Williams (Assistant)
Written By Alan P Frayn


Author: Jim Briscoe

CINDERELLA a pantomime staged by St Paul’s Players at Adlington Community Centre, Railway Road, Adlington, Chorley on Thursday, 30th December, 2021.

I think we all know the story of Cinderella. Mother dies, father remarries, stepmother and step sisters make Cinderella’s life a misery. Prince Charming is looking for a wife and organises a ball, Cinders is invited but her Stepmother and Step Sisters put pay to that…. or so they think!  Our Fairy Godmother arrives… a pumpkin and two white mice later; Cinders has her coach, two white horses, the dress of her dreams, a pair of glass slippers and off to the ball she goes with only one thing to remember, “she must be home by midnight”!  At midnight she dashes from the ball leaving the prince dismayed and only a single glass slipper to remember her by! The prince declares “whomsoever this slipper fits, I will marry” and commences a search of the land. Cinderella is finally found and they live happily ever after!

It was so good to be back at the revamped Adlington Community Centre.  Re-painted with new tiered seating which added to the wonderful atmosphere that is always present here!  The centre holds around 300 people when full, but, due to the current situation, St Pauls’ had decided to run a ‘socially distanced night’, so although not full to capacity, the atmosphere created by those present, suggested it really was!

There is little, or no doubt, that the past couple of years have been a challenge, not only to Amateur Theatre, but to theatre as a whole! Having spoken with many societies and to St Pauls this evening staging any production in this current climate is a true ‘leap of faith’.  The possibility that this production would never see the stage was always “real”, so to keep people interested and enthused was a challenge and the Production Team of Graham Cohen (Director), Lorraine Robinson and Pearl Williams (Choreographer and Assistant respectively) should be congratulated for their hard work, dedication, determination and enthusiasm.  Well done guys, all that hard work paid off!

Those that have read my reviews before will know this is where I usually “stick my neck out” and start identifying my favourite performances or favourite moments, but I am of the opinion that to start doing that for this production would be wrong…. WHY? … because I do think that every cast member on that stage that night gave of their best. They all added something to the production, each created a believable character and what was so obvious was the comradery between all the cast!  There were no stars,  just actors thankful to be back on stage with friends in front of a live audience having the time of their lives and you can’t ask for more than that!  We may well have just watched St Paul’s Players perform their panto, but the “FINALE SONG”– said it all for me and convinced me it was there for a reason, to emphasise that - “WE ARE FAMILY” and this really did feel like a “family” coming together; so, to start saying someone was better than someone else, “in my opinion”, would be wrong!

The CastYzzy Heyes played Cinderella, Gareth Mabon Played Buttons, Robyn Burns played Prince Charming, Georgia Hilton played Dandini, Dax Owen and Kieron Garlick played Gurtrude and Grizelda (Ugly Sisters), Ryan Norse played Baron Hardup, Jane McQueen played the Baroness, Jayde Hyatt played the Fairy Godmother, David Greenfield and Leanne Romney played Bodget and Legget (Comedy Duo) and Abigail Roseden played Chambers.

Youth Dancers: Frankie Budge, Emily Chandler, Ophelia Chappelhow, Ariana Chappelhow, Alice Gilbert, Rose Gilbert, Freya Grundy, Belle Haworth, Declan Hodge, Leah Kirkman, Darcy Locke, Amelia Lockwood, Sophia Lockwood, Reuben Minto, Jake Newns, Lilly Newns, Freya Norse, Isabella Owen, Evie Perry, Lila Philpott, Isla Porter, Francessca Robinson, Lela Roseden, Aveana Rothwell, Neve Stafford, Safiye Taycur, Hollie Thompson, Ethan Towner, Connie Upton, Mae Upton, Lila Wilkinson, Ebony Williams Goodman.

Those of us who love and support theatre in its widest forms and, more importantly, amateur theatre can only be encouraged by seeing young performers on stage and the impact they have both now and almost certainly way into the future. The Youth Dancers were amazing; the routines just right and provided a platform for each of them to shine and show off their talents, credit for that has to go to Lorraine Robinson and Pearl Williams.  I previously said that I would not identify favourites and I’m not, but I do feel it would be remiss of me not to mention one young lady who did not have a principle or supportive roll, but whenever or wherever she was on stage with the dancers – be it front and centre or on the back row her stage presence was amazing. Mae Upton was obviously going to make every second on that stage count - never without a smile, every movement expressed to its full potential. Be proud, young lady/ We could all learn something for this performance!

St Pauls are without doubt blessed with a wonderful Stage Crew, who, under the watchful eye of Stage Manager, Jill Heeks, made the pushing and pulling look effortless.  Smooth/quick scene changes added to the overall performance, so congrats to Barry Heeks, Howard Bates, Stephen Pilkington, Paul Stanley, Sam Heyes, Vincent Taylor, Judith Armstrong, Richard Houghton and Tony Henry. Job well done, guys!

Lighting was superb throughout (Jamie Flavell and Rob Armstrong) - congrats guys!  We did have a few hiccups with sound, none that affected the overall performance (Jo and Natalie Sweet) be proud you two!  Costumes - outstanding especially those worn by the Youth Dancers (Lisa Cohen and Judith Armstrong) congrats ladies.  Props were appropriate and used well (Sue Heyes and Becca Hilton) well done ladies!
Matrons/Chaperones - when young people are involved in productions the law requires them to be looked after properly. This means matrons/chaperones are required and although I haven’t got names, I’m aware that my friend Liz Blundell was part of a much bigger team, who gave of their time to allow these young people to perform…. well done folks, could not do it without you!

Drum Roll” please - “CINDERELLA’S COACH” (which I’m told was a ‘TEAM EFFORT’ to construct) – had to be - in the words of Craig Revel-Horwood … FAB - U - LOUS!  Well done one and all, be ever so proud!

You can usually gauge the success of any production based on audience reaction, before, during and after the performance.  Tonight, the buzz of anticipation before we started was tangible, the generous cheers, boos and applause throughout and the acclaim and comments from both adult and child as we left, left me with little or no doubt that this production had been a huge success….   job well done guys!

St Pauls had dedicated their Panto to two past members who had passed during the previous twelve months… Sally Cornes and Keith Brian… our thoughts are with the families of these two stalwarts.

Thank you so much for inviting my wife and I and for your hospitality throughout, we are already looking forward to Kinky Boots in March.  Happy New Year to each and every one at St Pauls... let’s hope and pray that 2022 allows us to carry on with doing what we all love best… being involved with Amateur Theatre!

Stay safe, keep well…

Jim Briscoe
District 6 Rep