15th December 2017
Danbury Village Hall
Type of Production
Jenny Tyler & Gary Jarvis
Author: Christine Davidson
I love a traditional pantomime that has all the ingredients of pantos past. It should have a girl as principal boy, men dressed up women and a fairy godmother or even two, great songs and an excellent dancing ensemble. Cinderella produced by Danbury Players had all those things and more. This very friendly group were packed to the seams with families and groups of children all very excited to see the show and with Christmas just round the corner this was an exciting treat for them all.
Two fairy godmothers with L plates opened the show with the prologue. Resplendent in mauve and pink costumes, their clear voices and excellent characterisation set the scene. Fairy Kindheart 1 (Caroline Bradley) and Fairy Kindheart 2 (Lydia Rose) were great fun, Kindheart 2 was definitely the scattier of the two, with the highest heels I have ever seen! How she walked on these with her long train I will never know, I’m in total admiration on how she stayed upright.
Buttons (Andy West) entered with confidence and great comedic timing. With a huge smile, he had the children screaming, when he asked them all to tell him when anyone tried to take the present left in the corner of the stage. He was very at ease with the audience and obviously enjoyed his reaction with them. This was a very strong, confident performance from Andy and I look forward to seeing him do more on stage in the future.
Baron and Baroness Hardup (Stuart Charlesworth and Emma Jarvis) gave good solid performances with a kindly Baron and an evil stepmother. A great evil laugh from Emma, although note to directors - in pantomime evil always enters stage left.
The wonderful ugly sisters, in lurid costumes and wigs totally took over the show and enjoyed every moment of being dressed up as women. Fifi (Al Pitcher) and Fru Fru (Danny Gillingham) were tremendous fun and had the audience going from the start. Their opening song in the second half – Jailhouse Rock - really got the feet tapping, this was a great choice. The Ghost scene was well directed with the added Thriller dance scene, well-choreographed by Zoe Insull, the scene was obviously enjoyed by the dance troupe.
Cinderella (Paris Bone) and Prince Charming (Lucy Charlesworth) were excellently cast by directors Jenny Tyler and Gary Jarvis. Cinderella was given a more modern touch of being totally confident, strong and assured, she sang her songs well. Performing ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen, she had every little girl in the audience singing with her. Prince Charming was superb, providing yet another very strong performance, with a lovely tone to her singing voice. She strode around the stage with assurance. Young Dandini (Chris Chudley) as the Princes aide de camp, acted confidently on the stage and his face when he was between the two ugly sisters was a joy especially when he yelled ‘Be gentle with me!’
The very young ensemble .who looked so cute in their animal costumes, were all excellent, the choreography was well thought out and blocked well. I would have just liked to see some of the older actors smiling, as so many looked so serious. One of the ensemble ladies did stand out for me. Jacquie Boreham, in a red dress and a lovely smile and with glowing stage presence, which goes to show even if you don’t have a major role you can still make an impact.
The set was super, simple and effective, with revolving flats complete with photographed scenes of the castle and forest. Lighting covered all but the top of the set where there was some shadow but competently operated by Trevor Hammond and crew; although I would have liked to have seen warmer colours used to soften the castle scene. The sound and mics used by the cast worked well.
Costumes were excellent notwithstanding that I would have loved to have seen a change of costume for the Ballroom scene. I did however love the quick change from Cinderella’s rags to ball dress, which was very clever.
Direction by Jenny and Gary was well thought out with great casting of all the main characters. A great deal of thought and hard work had gone into this production which the audience absolutely loved. I really enjoyed being back at Danbury after many years away and I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome that I received and to say congratulations to you all on an excellent show.