This was our last panto of this season and as always, we were made to feel extremely welcome by the Blackmore Players as we arrived at the production.
This was our fourth year reviewing for Blackmore and we are always amazed by the new talent we see with every different production.
Cinderella is an age old classic and this was a real family friendly production of this tale. My only comment is that a pantomime should only ever be 2 hours long to make it children friendly and this at two and a half hours was just a little too long.
The main role of Cinderella, played by Becky Hunt was sweet and innocent, with a fantastic singing voice and epitomized the ideal of Cinders being a kind and caring girl who has is treated like a slave by her overbearing and cruel Stepsisters.
The Ugly Sisters, Beryl and Cheryl were played respectively by Keith Goody and Rhys Burrell and played the dames as complete opposites but it worked well together and I really loved Rhys as the bearded sister with the gruff voice – it was a breath of fresh air.
Buttons played by Adam Smith was also extremely loveable and interacted well with the audience giving us some great moments of humour.
Becky Smith as Dandini was a fun performance, although her poor diction occasionally made it difficult to understand what she was saying and Linda Raymond as the stepmother wasn’t as evil as I would have liked but she embraced the part, nevertheless. The fairy godmother, Rosemary Nelson and her side kick Ruby Stephens opened the show well and kept in character throughout.
However, the highlight of the show for me was Samuel Haskell as Prince Charming. I felt there was a slight David Walliams feel to his performance at times showing a great sense of comedic timings and his ease at ad-libbing and working with the audience, his use of different accents to great effect, the fun he brought to the stage and his obvious charm were just some of the reasons why he brought the show to life.
There were some great gags throughout the show and even the in-cast jokes were done in such a way that the audience never felt excluded. Not all the numbers I felt added to the overall production, some we had trouble recognizing until we were way into the chorus and others just didn’t do the rest of the production justice. But the band were strong and not too loud and added to the quality of the production as did the creative sets and colourful costumes giving a great feel for any show.
The chorus worked hard and made the most of the scenes they were in and I couldn’t help but notice Martin Herford giving it all in the ball room scene – crazy dad dancing at its very best – so very entertaining!
This was a really enjoyable evening of pantomime and congratulations to everyone involved in offering a great night’s entertainment to all those who were able to see it.