|Date||15th January 2022|
|Society||Bishop Auckland Theatre Society|
|Venue||Bishop Auckland Town Hall|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Musical Director||Charley Stamp|
|Written By||Josh Railton|
Author: Helen Abraham
In my second visit to pantoland in two days I had the pleasure of making the journey to my old stomping ground, Bishop Auckland to watch Bishop Auckland Theatre Society (BATS) pantomime Cinderella. Like many other groups they were forced to postpone their production which was written in 2019, cast in 2020 then eventually made the stage in 2022 meaning the Brexit jokes had to be binned and replaced by the Covid isolation and 10 Downing Street party references. Not that this held BATs back in any way. They appeared on stage with a gusto and full of enthusiasm, ready to entertain their four sold out audiences over this weekend.
It was so special to be attending in any event, as after a 10 year hiatus from NODA membership BATS wereback and clearly ready to make their presence known. They’ve been present in the local community in one form of another for 90 years and if this performance was anything to go by they are going to be around for a long while yet. While groups around them were cancelling performances due to the effects of the pandemic, BATS have battled on through lockdowns, isolation periods, venue issues and every other factor staging a performance normally brings to ensure that Cinderella came to the local community with a gusto.
We were treated to absolutely stunning hand made costumes by Brenna Finn and Jan Wilby and hats off to those two as everyone was absolutely stunning. We even had a Frozen-esq reveal of Cinderella’s ball gown on stage which was truly impressive and the audience loved it.
Jade Carney playing the titular role was a beauty on stage, truly engaging and with a lovely singing voice. Emma Westwood-Fulcher had the audience engaged throughout as Buttons and kept us entertained with her high energy antics. Charley Stamp as the Fairy Godmother was a comedy vision and her ever growing confetti cannons kept us all entertained. I loved her lighting up dress and her comedic timing was superb, very cleverly done! Amanda Stewart as the Stepmother was the epitome of a baddy and encouraged the audience interaction with a vigour. Robert Proud and Ritchie Ballard were hilarious as the ugly stepsisters Priscilla and Gertrude, though I’ve never seen two dames touch their boobs so often! Really well done though guys, the engagement on stage and especially with the very enthusiastic children in the audience was really positive and everyone was loving it. Susan Bloor gave us a consistent handsome Prince Charming ably assisted by Iyla Westwood-Fulcher as Dandini. The choreography was simple but well-rehearsed and effective so the audience very much enjoyed the beautiful dance displays choreographed by Jade Carney executed by the youth ensemble, a fabulous talented bunch. For a predominantly drama group, the vocal selections which were presented by musical director Charlie Stamp were really very well done.
The script was written by director and Chairperson Josh Railton and was a smooth clever delight, really well done Josh.
All in all we had a lovely fun filled evening, a true pantomime with audience engagement and lots of laughing. Thank you BATS for being a lovely engaging pleasant group, displaying the true meaning of team work and dedication, and I can’t wait to see you again!