CINDERELLA Review by 'ACTS'
St Joseph’s Players
Directors: Doreen Johnson & Pauline Nevell
Musical Director: Craig Barlow
Choreographer: Callan Tennant, assisted by Jennel Unsworth, Angela Grime, Christy Coleman, Louise Bailey, Scarlett Moss-Turner and Paige Collier.
It was refreshing to have a different interpretation of this fairy tale pantomime. Commercial theatre conveys the story in a few scenes keeping the casting to the minimum, which is understandable. As writer of this piece, Doreen Johnson’s concept took the audience on a pleasingly different selection of locations. The principal characters were there, along with new ones, to tell Cinderella’s story of becoming a princess.
All this was set against colourful, well-lit scenery and cloths, complementing a delightful set of costumes. Hair, wigs and make-up gave the finishing touches to all the well-drawn characters.
The direction was as traditional as it could be; proving that if you stick to the pantomime format, you will capture your audience. Music is an equal player with this tradition and the song selection is very important. The band and song interpretation were well executed. Movement and choreography were slick and added to each of the scenes.
The ensemble was made up of villagers, dancers and juniors, Pantomime Sunbeams”. They all enhanced Cinder’s journey to find her Price Charming. Similarly, other characters, the Queen (Vicky Dixon), Ella’s friend, Belinda (Hannah Parr), the fairy godmother’s little helpers, Eeny (Scarlett Moss-Turner), Meeny (Melissa Kendrick) Gazella (Paige Collier) and the very capable Kitti Dixon, as August, all helped to bring magic to Pantoland.
Comedy is such an important element. There are two comic duos, the Broker’s men Hook (Chris Lovelady) and Crook (Luke Ellam). They kept up a funny inept harassment of trying to get payment from Baron Notabean. Then there are the two grotesque stepsisters, Dolce and Gabbana. As in all double acts, one has to be the feed. Paul Jameson, as Dolce, set up all the business and fed the lines for the hilarious antics of Gabbana, played by Carl Hughes.
The 12 days of Christmas (the traditional subjects replaced with pantomime words) was a highlight of their duo fun and games.
Baroness Notabean was given all the necessary cruel delivery by Donna Wood and trying to find a compromise for daughter Cinderella’s plight was the Baron, strongly characterised by Keith Hindley.
The ever faithful Buttons was too shy to disclose his feeling for Cinders but found a friend in Belinda. Cameron Lyth was suitably hopeful, but resigned to the friend only zone, when she realises she couldn’t compete with the prince.
Principal boys are rarely seen. It was a treat for both Prince Charming and Dandini to be played as originally portrayed. Zoe Unsworth gave a strong vocal interpretation as the friend of the prince. Clare Nash was every inch the charming prince. They were both convincing and carried their roles with gusto.
Looking after Cinderella was Primrose Goodbody her Fairy Godmother. Katherine Roberts gave enchantment to the fairy tale making sure Cinders got to the ball. The transformation scene achieved the right response from the audience.
In the title role, Karen Jones sang and acted her way into Prince Charming’s arms: the glass slipper was rightfully hers.
This was an evening of playful drama, music, dance, and fun, “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”.