ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

CINDERELLA by Alan P Frayn Directed by Rob Brittles Friends of the Art Theatre What a treat it is to be back inside a theatre and watching productions again, especially pantomime where audience participation is a must. This time the chosen pantomime was one of the most loved of all time, the story of Cinderella. So much goes through my mind as I eagerly anticipate the performance. Will the audience play their part? Will the prince be charming and sweep Cinderella off her feet? Will the step mother be nasty and make us want to boo? Will Buttons admit that he loves Cinderella and bounce onto stage and sweep us all along in the story? The big thrill is, will the ugly sisters be glamorous, funny and horrid all at the same time? This pantomime did not disappoint. The opening number got the production off to a great start. Under the guidance of the very experienced musical director, Claire Sweeney and accompanied by Rob Hawkins, the musical numbers were well sung by all the cast. The choreography by Cathryn Yates, was well drilled and showed imaginative use of the space on stage. I was very impressed that even Hagan the Horse completed a full tap routine. The production values of pantomime were extremely good. The sound, operated by Nick Howe was excellent. The wardrobe department was colourful; Hazel Bowker, Phil and Caroline Dent made sure that every cast member sparkled. Brian Berriman and Pauline Rowe made sure that with a touch of make-up everyone looked their best. Any show needs props, which work and have to be sourced, either bought or made, Sandra Bullen, Geoff Lunn and Moira Whiteford made sure these were available. The water pistols and supper bazooka had the audience diving for cover and was a real scream! Alice Bowden was just what I had in mind when I thought about Cinderella’s character; kind, innocent, funny, sang beautifully and looked every inch a princess when she went to the ball. The transformation of her rag dress to ball gown was superb. I very nearly missed it as I was watching all the action onstage at that point. Lisa Quinn, as her love struck Prince Charming, was