Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Stronsay panto: Cinderella



Cinderella
The Stronsay Pantomime January 2015
By Ian Cooper


With the excitement of Christmas well past, what can be done to lift the gloom of a dreich and windy January? Well, the easy answer in Stronsay was clearly ‘Go to the Pantomime’ and this Norman Robbins adaptation of ‘Cinderella’ undoubtedly soon dispelled any gloom! Produced by Gaynor Smith and Sarah Evans under the direction of Rosalind Neville-Smith, this age-old favourite was moved along at a cracking pace and soon enthused the audience in the packed hall to participate with the customary cheers, boos, hisses and the essential ‘Oh yes he is, Oh no he isn’t’ debate! 
Prince Charming’s squire Dandini (Andy Rose) set the scene well, portraying a self-assured servant who was a peedie bit too aware of his own importance!  Earl Hardupp (Andy Whiteman) soon gained the sympathy of the audience as he struggled to cope with his fearsome new bride (Shirley Whiteman) and her two daughters Thistle and Nettle (Mike Erdman and Roger Neville-Smith). The latter two had numerous costume changes through the performance, each more outrageous than the last, and played their parts throughout with the extravagance and flamboyance expected of the sisters, the occasional meander off script only adding to the audience enjoyment! The Stepmother’s feisty temperament and determination to impose her will on all around was handled to perfection by Shirley, and her pursuit of her daughter Nettle with a huge axe was real class! Celebrating her sixteenth birthday, Josephine De Geer gave a very polished performance as Prince Charming, conveying the poise and regal bearing expected of a prince while also letting his wish to lead an ‘ordinary’ life and to find love shine through. There was an assured performance from Rebecca Fish as Buttons, commanding the stage with her presence and singing with confidence and clarity – a star of the future for sure! For one so young, ten year old Elizabeth Miller gave a truly outstanding performance as Cinderella, conveying her various emotions with poise and conviction. One scene in particular that brought lumps to more than a few throats was her misery as she was consoled by her father for not being able to go to the dance. Thomas Fish and James Macleod enacted Fetch and Carry, the broker’s men, with flair and impeccable timing as they struggled firstly to remove items from Stoneybroke Farm and latterly to evade the clutches of the Ugly Sisters. The lovely Fairy Godmother (Molly Shearer) gave a sparkling and convincing performance as she ensured that Cinderella could get to the dance despite her magic wand having something of an off day.  Oh, and the environmentalists among us were well pleased to see the Fairy Godmother’s  emphasis on reducing Food Miles by the use of a neep instead of a pumpkin for Cinder’s coach!
The younger cast members also all contributed well to the performance as they played their parts with confidence and enthusiasm – Charlie as Major-domo, Millie and Melvin as the children comforting poor Cinders, Charlie and Jude as the footmen and Johnny as the grandfather clock. Stronsay’s young songsters Millie, Melvin, Sam, Dan and Toni-Anne all sang their hearts out in ‘Old Macdonald’ and also formed part of the Chorus, their numbers there being swelled by the addition of  Erynn, Charlie, Molly and Marion.
No pantomime would be complete without the obligatory Pantomime Horse (or in this instance Cow) and, courtesy of Mike Holland and William Caithness, it too made an appearance during the singing of ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm. Having been cooped up in the byre for the last two years, the cow was quite lively and at one point, while having a frolic among the audience, lost the heid completely!
In a fitting finale, the whole cast appeared on stage to round off the evening with a rousing rendition of Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ before taking their final bows and curtain calls to rapturous applause from their appreciative audience.
The meticulous care and attention to detail that had obviously gone into the preparation of costumes, scenery and props was a tribute to all concerned, while the effective use of lighting enhanced the mood and setting of each and every scene. Under the musical direction of David Hudson, the songs and musical accompaniment all flowed together magnificently, contributing to the sensation of a real ‘big theatre’ atmosphere in such a small and cosy venue.
Overall, this was a highly polished performance by the entire cast with the interaction between characters and their obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment in what they were doing making this a joy to watch. It isn’t possible to name all the cast, backstage crew and helpers individually but suffice to say that upwards of fifty people were listed on the programme and, in addition, there were numerous others who did what they could to help – a true community effort. As for a star rating for this pantomime – well, all I can say is “stars one and all!” Well done.
This production was staged by the ‘Support Our School’ committee and they would like to say a huge ‘Thank you’ to all the Stronsay folk  who came together to ensure ‘Cinderella’ was such a success! They are also deeply indebted to the ‘Palace Players’ for so willingly loaning the superb costumes and to Stewart Shearer for the use of his sound and lighting equipment, all of which came together to help bring the show to life. Grateful thanks are expressed also to WRC Construction for cheerfully acting as piano movers. They are delighted to report that ‘Cinderella’ has raised approximately £1000.

No comments:

Post a comment