Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cinderella -Review- People's Theatre

12 December 2011

It’s that time of year again – trees are sprouting up in living rooms and house fronts are looking like Blackpool seafront, without the sea…So obviously it’s time for guys to don false boobs and preposterous wigs, dust off the corny old jokes and try out a few new topical ones…Yep, it’s Panto season. I would venture to suggest that no Christmas is complete without a visit to the Panto. My Other Half would be inclined to disagree, and on Saturday I dragged along my none-too-enthusiastic thirteen year old, to see Cinderella at the People’s Theatre. I was not to be disappointed and the reluctant teenager seems to have been converted…Result!
Cinderella, written by Toby Cooper and directed by Sally Anne Cooper, has everything you would expect. The singing and dancing, the jokes – those that make you chuckle and groan, and the ones that make you laugh out loud; the dames, the baddies (boo hiss!), the magic!
The cast performed with enthusiasm, and obvious enjoyment. The story is told by The Fairy Godmother (Kath Frazer), aided and abetted in her magical endeavours by the very cute Christmas fairies. Lyndsey Fenn plays an endearing Cinderella, and sings her heart out, while Bryan Watson provides a suitably square-jawed, handsome prince. Their duet medley of love songs earned praise from the reluctant teenager – for both the choice of songs and the seamless transition from one song to the next. Good choices, well sung, one of the best parts of the show (he said, and I would have to agree). The Ugly Sisters (Keith Wigham and Kevin Gibson) were, frankly, ugly! Scheming and conniving, in an array of ridiculous costumes, to steal the baron’s money and keep Cinders away from the ball, and managing to get all the best laughs in the process. Dandini, the prince’s manservant, played by Moira Valentine, provided the perfect glamorous foil to the sisters’ bad taste.
But, as we all know, the star of any production of Cinderella is Buttons and Tayler McCullough certainly stepped up! He had the audience on board pretty much from the start, encouraging our participation with his cheeky grin and silly jokes. We didn’t miss a single call of “Hi-ya Buttons!” and oh, our hearts broke for him when he declared his love for Cinderella only to find that she had fallen for someone else!
There were, of course, some blips – a couple of cues missed, a bit of a costume change clanger, but they were slickly covered for and converted into laughs – and isn’t that all part of the fun?
I think the production team can be suitably proud that they have produced a pantomime that is great family entertainment: some fantastic music, and lovely dance routines (from Andrew Clarence and Laura Kelly respectively). Scene changes were quick and unobtrusive – with some pretty nifty scenery! Watch out for the forest scene – it was my favourite bit – who knew trees could be so interesting!

Cinderella runs till the 18th December. Everyone should see a pantomime at Christmas – make yours this one!

Denise Sparrowhawk


  1. Review by the Reluctant Teenager

    So, the full moon was high in the sky and unblocked by the clouds, when my mother decided. “Let’s go to the Panto!”. So I was dragged from my comfortable abode and taken to the People’s Theatre to see Cinderella. I was sceptical at first, then my mother offered me sweets and I was all set.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Cinderella; I was anticipating a boring evening filled with over the top acting. Of course, I got the over the top acting. But the boredom was not present. The audience and actors and actresses were full of enthusiasm and joy. The jokes were in good pantomime spirit and were corny and old but always good and always got a chuckle or two. Many jokes actually made me laugh properly. However some jokes seemed maybe just a bit too sophisticated for the audience, but those were the best. But now to the cast:

    Lyndsey Fenn and Bryan Watson are the leads of the production, both playing a wonderful duo of Cinderella and the Prince, they are (according to the booklet) first time pantomime leads. And for a first time, they did very well, they both performed very well in the acting and singing department, especially when they have their compilation of love ballads, which was probably my favourite song. The Prince, in my opinion, had the most convincing costume whether he was hunting or attending a lavish ball his costume suited the occasion.

    Keith Wigham and Kevin Gibson were very convincing Ugly sisters. They donned the personas excellently of horrid, revolting, repulsive…things, and also did well besides one costume malfunction at the end. The sisters clothing was…odd. Going to a Royal Ball as Lady GaGa and an Oven, and then going to the Royal Wedding, what was probably the event of the year, dressed as Cheesecakes.

    Dandini was portrayed by Moira Valentine and she did an excellent job of being the Prince’s aid. She was probably my favourite character with one of the most creative costumes in the show.. And after that performance I can understand why she is nicknamed “Legs”. And a crowd favourite, Buttons, was played wonderfully by Tayler McCullough, who was an excellent comic relief. Although there were many of those characters. He kept the crowd enthralled when he dashed on the stage. His costume was a odd servants clothes with red converse. His playing of Cinderella’s rock to lean upon was very convincing and it was obvious how good friends him and Cinderella were.

    Next we have Tony Childs who entertained us with his enactment of The Baron. He plays the bumbling but well meaning character very convincingly. And his costume was excellent, his wig being the cherry on the cake.

    But now we at last arrive to the Fairy Godmother, who was a good character portrayed by Kath Frazer, she had a lavish dress and her little fairy minions. She had the high demeanour of someone important. But the maggot in the rice; her magic. She was supposed to be some great witch, yet she required our participation of good-will and happiness to let her cast a spell to make Cinderella’s dress, Carriage and horses. But then it only lasted until midnight. She really needs to find a different line of work, if it takes so much effort to cast a simple spell like that and it’s only temporary as well! Maybe she should get a job with the Elf-Care service.

    Cinderella was a good family experience and would be a shame to miss. It is open until the 18th of December, I advise you go check it out.

  2. we went to see this panto last saturday night it was fab best of all was buttons he made the show watch out for this young lad in the future