As the theatrical year draws inevitably and swiftly to its close, it is time once again when local community theatres tend to conclude the year with the time- honoured end-of -year productions of pantomime.
VentureTheatre Company is first cab off the rank with its show Cinderella the Pantomime.
Written by Peter Bond, this Cinderella is a modern “pop” version, based loosely on the original classic fairy tale of,“ will they or won’t they get Cinders to the ball?”
The piece is directed by Nicolle Smith assisted by Jo Bell on a largely empty stage which takes advantage of its narrow configuration.
The key focus to Ms Smith’s direction is for her cast to play with full energy, which to their credit, is what they did. To a certain extent, this compensated for an obvious lack of pace, a fundamental requisite of panto. The first act comprises largely a series of non-segue vignettes, punctuated by snatches of songs from Dolly Parton and Tina Turner.
More vigorous, knockabout farce would have carried the show along to jolly up the opening night audience of some 20 hardy souls and a few children.
In a cast of 17, made up predominantly of young players, there were only 4 boys, thus most of the roles, male or female were played by girls. (Shakespeare turns over in his grave!)
David Giles played the Queen with a great sense of fun and a grating falsetto, whilst Fanny(Carly Brady) and Polly (Shelley Carman) played the two Ugly Sisters with appropriate aggression. Lucy Marshallsay was a sweet Cinderella, and Kristy Mundy was a bright bubbly Buttons.
Others to do well were Emma Kinlock(Prince Charming), Kerriann Mitchell (Baron Hardup), Deb Wheaton ( Marquis) Leanne Albers (Mr Bear) Eryn Kralj (Paragraph).
Steph Vivian(Baroness Hardup), James Hanna( Sir Cumfrence) Cady Butterfield and Carter Mundy (the two Must Get Heres!!) also added to the fun.
Katrine Hildyard was an amusing Fairy Godmother and Adelynne Mossop and Ivy Kinlock were quite delightful as (Mouse 1 and Mouse2.)
The costumes were a little hit and miss, but were quite sparkly at the ball in the second act.
David Pace’s lighting scheme was generally effective however there was a “dead” spot downstage right.
The songs introduced into the show were largely forgettable and the Company sound system needs a little tweaking.
With limited resources, Venture Theatre Company provides live theatre in the area, so it is to be hoped that the word spreads among family friends and local theatre lovers.