6th December 2017
Over Community Centre
Type of Production
Matt Sweeney. Kirsty Smillie & Ander Jordan
Author: Julie Petrucci
One can always be assured of one thing on a visit to Over Players, the show is bound to be visually stunning. This year’s offering of Ben Crocker’s Cinderella was no exception with a lovely painted back cloth plus other appropriate scenery and absolutely beautiful and colourful costumes. Lighting was good and I liked the sparkling title projected on the curtains as the audience waited for the show to start. Technology was well used too in the transformation scene with the pumpkin morphing into Cinderella’s coach as the Fairy Godmother and her Nymphs worked the transformation. Most impressive. There were a few sound issues particularly in the first half when the music overpowered the singers albeit they wore radio-mics - which were not without their own problems.
This was a traditional pantomime with all the regular characters that we associate with Cinderella. The Fairy Godmother (Sue White) got things off to a good start - in rhyme of course. Melissa Jordan (Dandini) was in good voice as she led the 20+ strong chorus in the opening number and worked well with the Prince and the Ugly Sisters. Super portrayals from Davinia Fisher (Prince Charming) and Kirsty Smillie (Cinderella), as our hero and heroine. Both had elegance with the added bonus of beautiful voices. Buttons (Alex Turpin) always has to work hard as he is the link to so much of what happens and, although a bit low-key initially, he built up a good rapport with the audience. The requisite comedy duo, Snitch and Snatch The Broker’s Men, were in the capable hands of Mandy Turpin and Jason Smart, who had just the right touch.Dumpling the Horse, alias Helen Foster and Gemma Anderson as always was a scene stealer. Compliments to Dumpling on handling the moves in some pretty confined spaces at times.Then of course we had the Horrible Hardups. Baron Hardup (Les Wheeler) full of failed schemes and Jane Beresford in her element as Lady Devilia Hardup with twin daughters only a mother could love. Beryl and Cheryl the Ugly Sisters. What can one say about these two? Matt Sweeney and Jamie Tipple were great. The slosh scene was something else! Unusually this script had the sisters being much more amicable than we normally see them. They traded the odd insult though in the main they were pretty friendly, but they worked superbly well together.
MD Sarah Rees challenged the cast with some difficult songs, whilst Choreographer Jack Stinton took on board the limited space available to create some interesting routines. The show was directed by Matt Sweeney and Kirsty Smillie and, as both directors were in the cast, Andrew Jordan was Executive Director. I think the show suffered a little bit from this situation. Some scenes lacked pace due to line problems and there was a bit of masking in major scenes which meant sometimes it was hard to see who was speaking. However, because of the expertise bought to bear, in the main I think it worked.
In a production that generally offered lots of fun and super moments, noticeable line problems dogged some scenes. At one point Beryl saved the day by calling on the safety net that is Francis Pullen much to the amusement of the audience.
With all shows, particularly panto you have to ask “Did the audience enjoy it? “ I think in this case the reply would certainly be “Yes”. Thanks TOPS for a fun evening.