Cinders, The True Story
|Date||3rd February 2022|
|Venue||Peaslake Memorial Hall|
|Type of Production||Pantomime|
|Musical Director||Zara Morley|
|Written By||David Tristram|
Author: Jane Turner
Author David Tristram can always be relied on to produce a solid and humorous script and this was no exception, with an amusing and different take on the traditional Cinderella story. Clever adaptation of the script by Director Di Ferguson (with the permission of the author!) brought in frequent local references and amusing innuendo, which added to the entertainment. Some characters were totally unexpected, such as an elderly Buttons, a geriatric Town Cryer and a glamorous equestrian Baroness, while the essence of the story was unchanged with a delightful, innocent Cinderella, a handsome Prince, two outrageous Ugly Sisters, a Hairy Godmother with a difference and an ill-matched Baron and Baroness. There was even a Panto Horse for good measure. Bob Good did a marvellous job on the piano, keeping up with all the goings-on around him. It all fitted together perfectly and kept us entertained and engaged from beginning to end. It was also the perfect length – some amateur companies fall into the trap of over indulgence but not so here.
The flats on either side were brightly painted with appropriate scenes on both sides and clever use of projected pictures on to the back wall of the stage added an extra dimension. Props were simple and lighting was unobtrusive and effective with good use of the follow spot. Traditional panto costumes for the leading characters and the chorus were colourful and varied and the Ugly Sisters were suitably garish with outrageous wigs and make-up. The Baroness took everyone by surprise as an imperious, bossy, equestrian, wearing a glamorous outfit complete with riding whip.
The show was opened by the Hairy Godmother, Mike Sutton, who burst on to the stage with boundless energy, setting the pace for the rest of the show and engaging the audience with constant banter. His rhyming verse throughout was very clever and funny. The Chorus was especially strong, both in their singing and movement and their interaction with each other, and the young Urchins were slick with some good moves in their dance routines. The hapless Town Cryer, Ian Allen, stumbled on and off to announce the news which everyone already knew, amusingly changing his traditional cry to “Oh Yesss, Oh Yesss”. Innocent Cinderella, Molly Palmer, was delightful, taking everything in her stride including a magic scooter instead of a carriage on which she expertly sped off to the Ball. Her charming singing voice was very clear and mature for her age. Her relationship with the elderly Buttons, Kim Ferguson, was touchingly engaging and Buttons himself was a steady anchor throughout the show. The Prince, Felix Wood, was suitably handsome and debonair who satisfyingly fell in love with Cinderella early on. Baron Hardup, Bobby Knott, was very funny as the put-upon luckless husband of the fearsome Baroness. His humorous song was very clever. He sustained a very believable lisp the whole way through – I began to wonder if in fact it was genuine! Dandini is not an easy role to play, running around after the Prince with little reward or recognition but Katie Kinnes filled the slot well. The Ugly Sisters, Nick Boisseau and Mark Taylor, played their parts to perfection with all the elements required for these two classic characters. As for Baroness Hardup, she was a revelation and took command from the moment she first set foot on stage. It was genius to portray her as a glamorous equestrian, in total contrast to the other more traditional characters. Congratulations for thinking of that. Sarah Knott was spectacular in the part and cannot be faulted.
Congratulations to Director Di Ferguson for such an imaginative and enjoyable production. Peaslake Players never fail to put on a really good show and this was no exception.