Sunday, 6 December 2015

"Cinderella" by The People's Theatre Company.
Nottingham Arts Theatre.

Written and directed by the award winning Amanda Hall there's just one word that comes to mind after seeing this show. "Perfect".

Amanda has an amazingly talented production team with Tom Mowatt designing the lighting, Amy Rogers-Gee in charge of choreography as well as stage managing the show, Ray McLeod handling the music and Mike Pearson as producer. A powerhouse of a crew.

From start to end this show was slick, pacey and professional and I can't put my finger on what is different this year, or what Amanda has done but she has yet again raised that panto bar again. And I thought it would be difficult to top last year's, but she did.

Cinderella, in the performance I saw was played by the lovely Lauren Stephenson, in other performances Cinders is played by the equally lovely Eva Sheppard. Lauren has a beautiful voice and she is so believable in her scenes with Buttons and Prince Charming.

Buttons, played by Sean Goodwin, straight away won over the female sector of the audience with his good looks and cheeky disposition. Ever smiling with a twinkle in his eye, he also showed off a voice that could match any of the boy bands around, especially with the boy band songs that were sprinkled throughout the show. Buttons' role was also to chat to the kids who were brought up on stage and he carried this role really well. Not the easiest of jobs for an actor as you never know what will happen and it's not scripted, but Sean managed this really well.

The lovely Laura Thurman played the Fairy Godmother, or "FG" to her homies. It's always a pleasure to see Laura in PTC productions as she is always smiley which straight away melts hearts of even the hardest audience member.

Loved Marie Rogers as Baroness Hardup, the baddie of the piece. just the right amount of evilness mixed in with comedy to make the character unlike-able but with a comedy element. Loved the facial expressions from Marie which reminded me at times of June Brown who plays Dot Cotton in Eastenders. A lovely characterization role.

There was comedy gold with the two ugly sisters and a casting made in heaven, the two sisters, Susperia (Mike Pearson) and Mellifluous (Rob Goll) were wonderful in the traditional "sisters" roles but were bang up to date with their comic retorts and their working of the audience. Pure class!

Prince Charming and his right hand wingman, Dandini were played by Hannah Rogers-Gee and Catherine Cunningham respectively and the pair were electric in their vocal duet. Both have brilliant voices which were showed off wonderfully in their solo and joint sections.

Cliff Hart played the "under the thumb" Baron and Roy Smith played Major Domo.

A brilliant ensemble of regular faces were so tight in the choreography pieces. The enthusiasm showed by every dancer and singer in that group was just brilliant to see. So many times you spot the odd one who looked like they were just in there to bump the numbers up but not here. A posse of brilliantly executed talent who lived up to the old adage of "eyes and teeth". They looked like they were loving every minute on that stage.

Great sets and exciting lighting and more than a touch of panto magic, especially when Cinders old rags just seemed to disappear and her ball gown appeared as if by Fairy Godmother magic. A wonderful piece of theatre and great costumes from Jules Sheppard and Jason Pollitt.

A brilliant script and some very funny and topical jokes made this a fresh show with great energy for all ages. When your job is to look out for errors and mistakes and there are none, you really very quickly settle into enjoying the show as an audience member, and I did this very quickly. This is as close to perfection as you're going to get. Great group of actors, wonderful singing, great music choices, spanning several decades and genres, pyrotechnics and a wonderful script all result in the best panto I've seen this year.

"Cinderella" is on at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Sunday 20 December 2015.

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