Little Waltham Drama Group at the Memorial Hall
As the Group embarks on its 40th year, they've revisited the first panto they ever did, the classic Cinderella.
Many things have changed – keyboards, lasers – but three members of that original show were involved again this time, and of course the plot and many of the jokes are untouched by progress.
Susan Butler's fun-packed production succeeded not because of the music – though we did appropriately reference Mr Cinders and La Cage Aux Folles – or because of the book. Many of the best laughs came from the busload of Buttons fans in the cheap seats at the back. And from the spontaneous script embroidery which ensued. Inveterate ad-libber Richard Butler met his match this year in Gordon MacSween, [more than a touch of Dame Maggie about that one] a spicy Masala to his dodgy Tikka – tandoori puns were a feature. Another welcome newcomer was Karen Allen, who played a sweet Cinderella, coping coolly with the improvisation around her. Her thigh-slapping Prince, in modest fishnet, was Salley Abrey, Karen Wray was the mentor Fairy Godmother, and Jenny Broadway was a dragon of a Baroness. More classic panto turns from stalwarts Gill Haysham as a daffy apprentice Fairy, Brian Corrie as a doddery Dandini, Ken Little as a brilliantly bashful Buttons, and Glyn Jones as Baron Hardup.
Nothing impoverished about the production though, with the costumes especially stunning. If the transformation scene had to happen out of sight in the car park, we did at least have before and after pumpkins in pride of place either side of the proscenium.
Musical Director was Chrissy Gould – the show's greatest hits were the Uglies' Duet Nobody Does It Like Me, and an impressive piece of “follow that!”, the timeless Moon River.
photograph: Peter Travell