By Helen and Garry McWilliams
The magic of panto and indeed one of the best fairy tales ever written (in our opinion) was brought to life in Malvern, last night.
With its mixture of past, current and some original music, two live Shetland ponies and ten costume changes a piece for the Ugly Sisters – this was a production of Cinderella that undoubtedly had it all.
The glamorous ‘Fairy Godmother’ was played by the ever popular Ruth Madoc. Fresh out of Calendar Girls and back in pantomime after a three year break , she was a ‘matriarch’ to be treasured and ably raised the roof with the enthusiastic audience members within the first few minutes.
‘Hi-5’ presenter Emma Nowell played the title role with sweet gentility and she has an amazing singing voice. Coupled with Owen Thompson’s ‘Prince Charming’ who by all accounts likes to get down ‘Gangnam Style’(!) they were a leading pair of an extremely high standard.
Comedy was there in abundance from the Ugly Sisters: Gaga (Bobbie Kent) and Gertie (Anthony West) the latter unwittingly chose Garry to be his ‘love interest’ throughout the performance, much to Garry’s delight! We only hope that Gertie’s boyfriends are all as interactive… The programme mentions that they have received the accolade of ‘possibly being the best Ugly Sisters in the business’ – we wouldn’t argue with that. They have wonderful chemistry and any pantomime company would be lucky to have them.
Don Crann also entertained as ‘Baron Hardup’ with a dry and quick wit.
Having watched and appeared in a number of pantomimes between us in the past, this was the first time we had seen ‘Dandini’ portrayed as a comedy character part. It worked brilliantly and Bobby Windebank who took the role is one to watch out for. A special mention must go to the rendition of ‘Me and My Shadow’ with ‘Prince Charming’ and it appears that ‘Dandini’ also goes in for a spot of ‘Gangnam Style’!
The set was impressive, all that we would expect from pantomime scenery with a beautiful coach for Cinderella’s journey to the Ball. Isn’t it amazing what one can do with a pumpkin? Pulling the coach were two white Shetland Ponies who stole the show during their cameo appearance.
We particularly liked the finale song choice of ‘Love is in the Air’, one of the last songs we expected to hear, yet one of the most apt for the story. We feel that the Director, Scott Richie has put together a happy team who have delivered the magical experience that ‘kids’ of all ages appreciate and we would be keen to see his work again in the future.
“Have we missed anybody out? Who? Buttons? No, we mentioned him didn’t we?!” - Jamie Rickers from ‘Nickelodeon’ is the best ‘Button’s that we have ever had the pleasure of watching. He is pure comedy genius and a fantastic all-round entertainer. Need we say more?
Cinderella runs at the Malvern Theatre until Sunday 6th January 2013, for more information or to book tickets please visit the website www.malverntheatres.co.uk. This is a pantomime not to be missed.