Date 31st January 2024
Society St Joseph's Players
Venue St Joseph's Hall Leigh
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Pauline Nevell
Musical Director Stuart Peacock
Choreographer Callan Tennant & Jennell Unsworth. Children's Choreography-Christy Coleman & Louise Bailey
Co-Dircetors Gabriell Fitzsimons & James Tennant
Producer Gabrielle Fitzsimons


Author: Liz Hume-Dawson

Cinderella is the chosen pantomime this year for St Joseph’s Players directed by Pauline Nevell.

With a live band complete with sound effects which I particularly liked and added to the comedy slapstick. Some great song choices and Hannah Parr singing A Thousand Years was simply beautiful. I love the choice of the classical music too. Musical Director/ Keyboards was Stuart Peacock. Guitar Tony Preston, Keyboards Jeremy Sleith and Wayne Oakes. Keyboards and Sound effects Phil Boardman and Drums Anna Richmond.

The set was flats and painted cloths of various scenes with forests, ballroom and dungeons to mention a few. The ball room had a very large clock with moving hands. Gold carriage for Cinderella moving too looked great. Scenic designer Helen Loynd. Set Director/Builder Terry McCabe. Stage Crew - David Hall, Jim Heaton, Claire Mullaney, Sarah Mullaney, Danny O’Rourke, Claire Cavanagh, Wayne Lythgoe, Kian Power and Paul Collier. Props - Pauline Dowsett.

The costumes looked lovely and the colour scheme was evident in using pink for the finale - a delightful spectacular. The animals were a delight and looked so cute on the Sunbeams. I really like the effect of the butterflies.  Primrose’s pink Fairy Godmother costume was stunning. Costume Liaison was Donna Wood, Costume Teresa Knowles, Ann McLoughlin, Barbie Breeze, Kathrine Roberts, Josie Evans and Tracy Thompson. Chorus Costume was Maureen Marshall, Kay Unsworth, Callan Tennant and Dawn Webster. Make-up, Hair and Wigs all in keeping too by Vikkey Dixon.

Lighting and Sound all added to the show - Technical Manager Karl Gerrad, Lighting Design by Matt Johnson, Josh Smith and James Tennant. Technical Crew John Dowsett, James Tennant, Andy Garvey, Rebecca Gerrard and James Warner.

The Sunbeams were a delight and all in groups of animals including a cute little white bunny all getting their moment in True Colours. Children’s choreography was Christy Coleman and Louise Bailey.

The Choreographer Callan Tennent and Jennel Unsworth definitely worked in sync with each other to pull off some lovely numbers. I particularly loved the contemporary dance feel (Martha Graham would be proud) The Gypsy Kings compilation worked really well and was effective.  The ballet number was delightful. The whole feel was the dancers did their job and the choreography was simpler for the cast to do the big group numbers making sure they were all in time and it looking effective - well done!

With such a large cast it would be impossible to comment on everyone but it was evident the cast were having a great time and the auditorium was used for entrance and exits and the stage steps were made great use of. In Twelve Days of Christmas, we were even treated to flying toilet rolls. Keira Collier played Fawn, Jack Wilcock-Huntsman, Hannah Parr was Hannah, Vikky Dixon-Crook, David Wood-Hook (aka Squiddly and Diddley). Terry McCabe played Major Domo, Joseph Usher was Page, Sarah Twist-Queen, Caitlin Davies-Tess and Paige Collier-Claudia.

Kitti Dixon played Gussy and signed the whole of her performance and was a delight - she was like the narrator of the show and kept watch on the action. Kay Unsworth as Primrose the fairy who keeps forgetting things and got to wear the stunning pink gown. Worked well protecting Cinderella and forest animals. Prince Charming and Dandini were Clare Nash and Olivia Todd who had to ward off the ugly sisters’ amorous advances. Buttons was played by Kynan Derbyshire who has lots of energy and made a great Buttons. Cinderella was played by Annabelle Whitter who looked like Cinderella and had good interaction with Buttons. When the ugly sisters were being mean to her it was quite harsh but worked. The ugly sisters played by Ciaran Travis as Chanel and Paul Jameson, Coco were certainly larger than life coming on to Pretty Woman through the audience. I did feel they took the first act to warm up and then got into their stride. Interacting with the audience, the water pistols and the Manchester football clubs bibs was hilarious and the moments when they were awful to their step dad were well played. Last but not least are the Baron played by Ken Ogg and Donna Wood playing Baroness who lit up the stage on every entrance. Baron’s throw away comments to the audience and his quiet rebellion towards his wife. The Baroness eagerness to climb the social ladder and will stop at nothing for her daughters. They were great together. Good work.

A production like this takes a lot of work beforehand and backstage with over 100 people involved in the production – it’s good to see young and old being included. I am aware of all the people not mentioned - Front of House, Chaperones and various others. It’s good to see the community thriving. Thank you so much for the invitation and lovely hospitality and making my guest Matthew and I so welcome.