‘Everything starts with a wish…’
Doomed to drudgery by her wicked stepsisters, Cinderella can only dream of escape and romance. Enter a Fairy Godmother with a pumpkin and a touch of magic to whisk Cinders from pantry to the Prince’s party. But with her sisters digging their ugly heels in, it’s not an easy ride to Happy Ever After. With breathtaking costumes, laughter and music to make you tap your feet, you’ll have a ball this Christmas at our traditional family pantomime.
…this is the story of a starry night…
|Fairy Godmother||Val Watkinson|
|Prince Charming||Marina Anderson|
|Baron Hardup||Michael Muldoon|
|Clare Muldoon||Jacinta Russell|
|Louis Woodcock||Sam Gravett|
|Anna Gravett||Emily Waldie|
|Elie Forest-Raney||James Devereux|
|Matthew Hines||Eleaner Baron|
|Jo Hodcroft||James Calcutt|
Review of Cinderella by Julia Taylor for remotegoa
Fun for the whole family
The only thing that deviates from a traditional panto in the Garrick’s production of Cinderella, written and directed by Alan Clements, are the young singers and dancers who have the audience clapping along with them. Otherwise, this favourite of fairy stories sticks to the tale of Cinders in the kitchen, bullied by her two ugly sisters and longing for a prince charming to sweep her off her busy little feet. When her sisters go to a ball at the Palace, it would seem she is doomed to drudgery. But then, in a flash, Val Watkinson’s Fairy Godmother appears and transports her there in a magical coach. Tania Owen, who plays the title role, has an uncanny likeness to another who transformed from commoner to royalty, the Duchess of Cambridge. Her excitement at the fortunate turn of events is palpable. Everyone in the audience both adults and children feel sorry for her and hating the way she is treated, boo her sisters as loudly as they can. Dressed in garish clothing, the appropriately named Trafford (Barry Spencer) and ‘her’ sister, Etihad (Dave Midgeley) bully and chide her for all they are worth. Forcing her to tear up the precious invitation to the ball, they set off in their glad rags to seduce Dandini (Kate Millington) in the belief he is the prince. This show isn’t primarily about the story, it’s about the atmosphere, the interaction with the audience especially well carried out by Adam Gonet’s Buttons as well as the sisters, the smattering of slapstick, the song sheet and the kids coming on stage. Mention should be made of the sparkling costumes, designed by Mike Shaw and his wardrobe team. They are especially dazzling in the ball and the finale. The important thing is that there is something for everyone adults and children alike.
NODA REVIEW by Kevin Proctor
This Christmas, the Garrick are presenting the classic and probably most favourite and traditional of all Pantos; ‘Cinderella’. It was wonderful to see that the theatre was a full house, the atmosphere was electric and I really got that Christmassy feeling of excitement while waiting for the show to begin. Pantomime is an art form which I?m very fond of! Not only is it patriotic, I love the challenge for a company to get creative and go as over the top as they want, really let their hair down, show off what they?re best at and above all, have bags of fun! This script (written in-house by the shows director: Alan Clements) was personally a tad old hat for me, with the benefit of having material written in-house you’d expect the writer to take advantage of playing to the company’s strengths. I believe the hitch with the script was due to the approach of the writing style, for me, the balance was too heavy on the classic fairy tale presentation with not enough comedy and popular pantomime traits, we got too much ‘story’ with not enough gags and punch lines, the poking at politics and references to the local news and the area were few. The use of songs from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical version of ‘Cinderella’ didn?t really work for me, the ugly sisters song from the musical didn’t suit the guys in this particular context and it didn’t help that they weren’t really given anything funny to do during the number. If more of the song choices were a recent and up to date selection, I’m certain it would have vastly improved the shows enjoyment for both the cast and the young audience, bringing it into this decade, particularly for the chorus of youths who only seemed to come alive during the ‘Gangnam Style’ section which was really well received. It was no surprise to see Adam Gonet as Buttons, he looked the part and didn’t fail to have the audience right where he wanted them. I appreciate being left to address the audience is a daunting task for some actors, when Adam was alone with the crowd his dialogue was rushed and he frantically paced around the space, I can only assume this was either a result of opening night nerves or as an attempt to try to energise his performance, however, the frantic pacing made him seem unsure of what to physically do. The two ugly sisters played by Barry Spencer and Dave Midgley made the show – they were both excellent together but weren’t used enough! They both absorbed their time on stage wonderfully, as an audience we instantly knew that we were in safe hands with these two, their costumes were fabulous and both had me chuckling away at every possible opportunity – a perfect duo! Val Watkinson as the Fairy Godmother was lovely, she delivered the part as it should be, full of grace and charm, again – as one of the stronger players she could have been used more. Tania Owen as Cinderella had the strongest singing voice on display, though I don?t think her song showed her at her best. Tania delivered the part as you’d expect but the biggest distraction for me was her make-up which wasn’t really in keeping with the look of a princess for 8 year old girls to idealise. Patsy Newhouse’s choreography and movement did not inspire and failed to energise the young ensemble who performed their numbers with the help of vocal tracks, if you are going to do this, it would be an idea to sing along with it or mime at the very least. The kids in the audience loved their participation sections, it was a shame they weren’t given the opportunity to do more of it! We got the classic, ever favourites, ‘ghost on the bench’ and ‘present of a pheasant’ gags which were really well played – they?ll never grow old – I?m a sucker for these panto routines and always will be! Finally, I must give a special mention to Mike Shaw and his team for a simply fantastic collection of costumes, Mike is nothing less than a master of his craft whose designs never fail to impress, a terrific job!
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