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Cinderella is always an appealing pantomime, with plenty of fun, and the obligatory evil.
I liked the sets, they were colourful and gave plenty of scope for the cast to move around. The transformation scene worked well, with the UV lighting for the lizards and mice, then the coach with the young people providing the horses and coachman was lovely.
I felt the lighting was a little basic in places, but particularly liked the effect of the lights down stage left which created magic with the glitterball during the Prince and Cinderella’s moment.
Sound was good throughout.
I felt that some opportunities for audience participation were missed, which was a shame.
Costumes were good overall – just small touches that needed addressing. I wanted Cinderella’s ball gown to be a bit more special, it was very tame compared with the ensemble, and she needed her hair to be styled. The Uglies and the Baroness had some beautiful costumes, which really looked the part.
It was good to have live accompaniment, but I felt that at times the music was a little too highbrow for pantomime.
The opening was nice and bright and used the cast well – always good to engage the audience from the start.
I loved the ‘wall’ song, very well accomplished by the Prince, Cinders and Buttons, such energy too – very well done.
It was nice to see the children used with the ensemble, they sang and spoke extremely well, and were very animated. They also accomplished the transformation scene very well.
The concept of a male Fairy Godmother was very interesting, with Lee Marsh making her light and believable, I enjoyed his performance.
Kat Knight made a charming Cinderella, showing her fear of the Uglies, but also showing her care for Buttons and love for the Prince. Kat always gives her songs a lot of expression. Nicely played.
Roseanna Bloxham and Taylor Farnella as the Prince and Dandini played well off each other, and were typical principal boys – I enjoyed what they did. Roseanna showing a very nice singing voice, which blended well with Kat.
I particularly liked David Lodge as Gwynneth, he certainly looked the part of an Ugly Sister, wore his costumes and wigs really well, and managed to get a certain coquettishness into his portrayal, which brought the character to life. I enjoyed his portrayal.
Neil Goulder as Gwendoline created a slightly more familiar Ugly Sister, but looked a little untidy at times. However the pair interacted well, and sang with gusto.
Terry Casserley and Katie Lovell as the Police Sergeant and PC99 were very energetic, and carried off some one liners very well.
Burglar Bill was played well by Fran Watkins, she intermingled with the cast and was very agile when negotiating the stage.
Adam Briffett was a kindly Buttons, his care for Cinderella shone through, and we all felt very sad for him, he also interacted well with the audience, and sang nicely.
An enjoyable production, which was colourful and involved everyone.
Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company
review date: 17th December 2017 -
Director/Choreographer: Amber Dye
MD: Ben Weitzmann