Christmas officially arrived in Cheltenham on Friday 27 November 2015, in the form of Everyman Theatre’s annual pantomime, which this year is Cinderella.
After posing for photographs and showing off his pet kettle before the curtain rose, Tweedy the Clown kicked off the evening entertainment to the immediate sound of cheering and laughter, with a routine encompassing a musical number, balancing act and rubber duck.
The music of Tick Tock Goes the Clock was woven throughout the panto by the live band, while a sparkling fairy godmother, played by Lynette Clarke, flew onto the scene to a blaze of fireworks, before a fabulous opening number of Winter Wonderland Fair.
The show saw a cornucopia of colour on stage, with magical highlights including the grand reveal of Cinderella’s coach and ball gown before she was whisked off to the ball; a walk through the creepy forest which saw a scary ogre cause plenty of ‘he’s behind yous’; and the magical ball itself with plenty of sparkling golds and silvers.
Boasting a magical set of giant pendulums, dark woods, grand castles and Cinderella’s parlour, the pantomime showed off the Everyman Theatre’s skill at making the most of the space, boasting what its ever diverse stage is capable of.
The whole cast performed beautifully, particularly Ruth Betteridge, who made a stunning Cinderella; while Tara Dixon and Frankie Jones made a knee-slappingly good Prince Charming and Dandini respectively.
Similarly, Wendy Abrahams and Kerry Whiteside made perfectly dislikeable wicked sisters, and despite plenty of ‘Oh, no you’re nots’ from the audience, they were indeed, fabulous.
A particular highlight for little and big kids alike was the dynamic duo Tweedy and William Elliot, playing Buttons and The Baroness. Making a perfect Laurel and Hardy-esque double act, they performed laugh out loud scenarios chocked full of slapstick comedy, sing-a-longs, a daring bow and arrow challenge, dance performances, and of course, some rude innuendos to make the adults giggle.
A special mention must also go out to the young dancers from Corraine Collins Dance Studios, who performed to an already professional standard, bursting with energy in all of their dance routines and singing numbers.
In true panto style, the show saw an endless catwalk of dazzling costumes specially tailored for each of the cast members. The Baroness’s outfits got more and more absurd each time she appeared, while the ugly sisters sported a host of getups which wouldn’t look out of place in a 1990s disco.
Meanwhile, from rags to a ball gown to a beautiful golden wedding dress, Cinderella’s costumes became more beautiful in each scene; ultimately looking like the perfect Disney princess.
While everyone knows the magical tale of Cinderella, the anticipated local panto put the Everyman stamp on the classic, with its musical numbers bringing it bang up to date – Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' and Bruno Mars' 'Uptown Funk going down particularly well with audiences – while a stunning rendition of 'For the First Time in Forever' from Frozen saw excited kids singing along, while I was in awe of Ruth Betteridge’s vocal range.
Encompassing everything that is great about pantomime, make the Everyman Theatre’s Cinderella top of your festive Gloucestershire bucket list.
By Alice Lloyd
Monday 30 November 2015
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