A family pantomime by John Morley
Directed by Erin Jones
This traditional fairytale is turned into a magical pantomime including Prince Charming, Buttons, the Ugly Sisters and, of course, the Fairy Godmother who turns a pumpkin and mice into a carriage and horses.
The following review for Cinderella was published in the St James Church “Pewsletter”:
The Magic of the Panto season comes to New Malden!
(Oh, yes it does!)
St James’ Players latest production was Cinderella – well, it was panto season! The pantomime was a new spin on the traditional fairytale of a poor girl, Prince Charming, a Fairy Godmother, some Ugly Sisters, a pumpkin and some mice. Most know the story of this popular fairytale, so the challenge is to make it fresh and relevant to the year it’s produced and enjoyable to the audience watching. Thankfully this version, directed by Erin Jones, was hugely entertaining with many a new joke referencing the latest pop culture, to the more traditional panto elements such as audience participation – throughout we were given various cues to shout out either ‘Subjects’ or ‘Pockets’ and of course there was the more expected ‘He’s behind you’ and compulsory ‘Oh no it isn’ts’! There was a good mix of songs scattered throughout that would cater for all the audience: The Sun Has Got His Hat On certainly had my Nan singing along; Adam and the Ants’ Prince Charming opened the second half with a good use of the auditorium for the entrance to the ballroom; the Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict A Riot was adapted well for the giving out of the invitations and, back to the audience participation, a community song, ‘Proper Cup of Coffee’, proved great fun to get the audience and cast ready for the finale.
The regular Players were on fine form as ever, relishing in their respective roles. Sarah Collins, Judith West, John Taylor, Lucy Neary and Elaine Brain received many laughs and kept the pace of the panto flowing along. The Ugly Sisters, or Maxie Mum and Minnie Mum, were played by Phil Hall and Chris Feltham. Both bounced off each others lines effortlessly and their interpretation of womanhood (or Panto dames at least!) reminded me of Monty Pythons’ ‘Terrys’ (Jones and Gilliam). And what panto of Cinderella would not be complete without? Yes, you guessed it, Buttons! Performing with the Players for the first (hopefully of many!) time, Charlie Edwards is a great find, suiting the role of the loveable Buttons down to a tee. Charismatic, engaging and enjoyable to watch, Charlie easily got the audience on his side and gave the panto a solid entertaining back bone, running through the production. And, of course, the title character of Cinderella played by Amanda Hewett managed to capture the hearts of the audience. With a solid singing voice, she charmed with many songs, no more so than with a lovely, entertaining duet with Buttons.
A great panto (oh, yes it was!) from a well-rounded ensemble. The humour could be enjoyed by adults and children alike. While it might have been cheesy and even groan-worthy at times, isn’t that what Panto season’s all about?
So that’s it for another year,
And we wave goodbye to dear PantoLand,
But do not fret, or shed a tear,
We’ve had such fun, so give them a hand!