ON Saturday at the Nadder Hall the audience included a little boy attending (with some trepidation) his first pantomime, and a pensioner to whose eyes the story brought a tear … “It’s the first time I’ve been to a pantomime in more than 50 years, and this was the first one I saw,” she said.
The tradition of panto at the turn of the year is firmly established, and whether it’s the professional show in the big local theatre or watching your friends and family on the village hall stage, the experience of joining in, the colour and the songs and the romance, hissing the villains and cheering the hero, is firmly embedded. Joining Europe never transported the genre across the channel, and leaving won’t take it away.
Cinderella is the best loved of all the stories, all about kindness and goodness, magic intervention, slapstick humour, real friendship and dreams coming true.
This year TAG has again chosen a Ben Crocker script, written first for Exeter’s Northcott Theatre. Dashing through the back story (Cinderella’s parents’ untimely deaths and her servitude to a cruel stepmother and two hideous stepsisters) it all starts as the lonely girl wishes for something good to happen.
Nichola Gee’s production at Tisbury makes excellent use of music – Cinders’ performance of Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl and Masquerade added to the usual audience pleasers.
The comedy is BROAD, with incontinent puppies and a really menacing Mummy Bell to summon the ghastly Baroness.
The cast ages range from the excellent Joanna Croucher as the athletic Mouse and 15-year-old Kieran Castle as a touching Buttons to Sean Moran and Steve Whittingham as lurid un-lovelies Cheryl and Beryl. Christian Allsopp is a Jack-the-Lad Dandini and Charlie Greenwood the elegantly charismatic Prince, with Rosie Bacon in the title role.
TAG had a bear outfit for A Winter’s Tale, and they are making the best of it. I’ve never seen an ursine cast member in Cinders before, but very nice he was.
The show is a sell out, and deservedly so. Long live pantomime!