Snow White

Date 28th December 2023
Society Cloud Nine Musical Theatre Group
Venue The Academy, Selsey
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Rebecca Townsend
Musical Director Simon Townsend
Choreographer Amelia Aburrow
Written By Rebecca Townsend

Report

Author: Mark Donalds

It's a stroke of genius to schedule your pantomime in the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year. No one else seems to do it, all the excitement of Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve is yet to come, and people are looking for something to do. The result? A sell-out run for Cloud Nine. Based on my previous visits to this company, I entered the packed auditorium with great expectations, and I was not disappointed.

Given the limitations of a school hall without a proper stage, Director and Writer Rebecca Townsend, has made the most of the black platform surrounded by black curtains. A few props and pieces of furniture, brought on by the stage crew, were all that were needed when complimented by the high-quality projected scenery (Simon Townsend) and imaginative lighting (Charles Townsend). Add to this stunning costumes, especially for the woodland creatures and the ballroom scene (Rebecca Townsend and Maddi Butler-Townsend) and makeup and you have a really colourful picture which delighted us all.

Every panto needs an evil baddie, and Maddi Butler-Townsend as Queen Morticia was exactly that, quickly working up the audience to boo her every appearance. Her fabulous costumes and makeup added to the character, as did her beautifully melodic singing. Of course, a Dame is another vital component, and Les Hilton as Nursey showed his experience at handling (and terrifying) a live audience, making me wish I wasn’t sitting so close to the front! He had a marvellous array of outlandish costumes and wigs, making his character more and more outrageous at every appearance. Hannah Skelton made Snow White the beautiful, caring person that is portrayed in the fairy tale, always wanting to help others. Her hair and makeup were spot-on, and she sang beautifully too. Louise Latchford made the perfect love interest – Prince Arthur – in full thigh-slapping panto tradition, and complimented Snow White’s voice nicely in their duet. How she managed to keep a straight face and keep singing when she was being frisked for the lost fiver, I will never know!

Roland Robinson was the Huntsman – the poor put-upon servant who gets the blame for everything, and Karen Amis showed great comic timing as the Magic Mirror, with lovely attitude! Niamh Whitfield looked beautiful as Fairy Nuff, flitting in and out setting things right with her dialogue all in rhyme, and stunning makeup. The Dwarfs were all well dressed and I loved their names – carefully chosen to avoid problems with Disney’s copyright lawyers!

The huge chorus gave great support to the leads, with strong vocals and good characterisation, especially as the woodland creatures. The youngsters from Arabesque School of Performing Arts were well used, their precise and flowing movements enhancing every scene they were in. Amelia Aburrow’s choreography was very inventive, using every inch of space available, and well interpreted by the cast. MD Simon Townsend had chosen some high-quality backing tracks and a good range of appropriate and modern songs for the cast to sing. Sound quality was excellent throughout, every word could be heard, and the music never overpowered the singers,

Becki Townsend, you wrote the script, picked the costumes, directed the show and managed the stage, but your cast did the rest and must have made you mightily proud for the excellent job they did. Well done everyone!