Cinderella at Buckhorn Weston

THERE is one essential element for a village pantomime, and that is that everyone – the cast, the crew and the audience – needs to be involved.

And it’s impossible to think of a more successful example of the genre than this year’s Cinderella from Buckhorn Amateur Theatrical Society at Buckhorn Weston Village Hall.

Alison Barfoot, who was responsible for kick-starting the group many years ago, took a back seat this time, handing over the directing role to Craig White from Sturminster Newton, and the “baddie” role on stage to Alanda Phillips.

They chose Toby Bradford and Tina Webster’s script for the show, designed specially for the big forces of the amateur companies. Not only are there the Ugly Sisters but also a queen – all outrageous drag roles taken with colourful relish by Rupert Dyke as Trinny, Graham Elsworth as Susannah and Mike Kerby as Queen Prudence.

These larger-than-life characters threaten to overwhelm not only the stage but the audience, but all’s fair in the pursuit of love (or, in the sisters’ case, any man!).

Introduced by a much funnier than usual fairy godmother (another SNADS import in the shape of Annie Henschel) it’s the familiar story with added bells and, of course, Buttons.

The script is very witty, with some lovely lines for the Malapropistic King Cornelius and his queen and frantic and local ad libbing by the hilariously ghastly sisters.

Tessa Gosney and Kate Barfoot perform the Prince Charming/Dandini swap with gusto, leading to a chase that really does fill every corner of the hall.

Naivasha Pratt-Jarvis is a delightful Cinders, with Grady Crittall as the lovelorn Buttons, always a favourite with the audience and giving an amazingly assured performance.

Alanda Phillips is a wonderfully hissable villain, histrionically and high-camply horrid.

There wasn’t a weak link in this ensemble, from the five-year-old Lola Davis to the most experienced trouper.

Emma Gould kept the whole thing going from the keyboards, and we didn’t even miss the traditional percussion.

And on a personal note, as a Picasso hater, the running joke about the prince’s portrait, with both eyes on one side of the head causing him to be called “fish face” by his subjects, was a complete delight, and I can only ask for more of these aesthetic insights in the many pantomimes I see every year!


Posted in Reviews on .