This week Warwick Arts Centre have once again opened its doors to a Three Spires Guildhall (TSG) production, this one being a pantomime take on the classic tale of ‘Cinderella’. Pantomime is a theatre genre which is usually associated with the Christmas period; however, TSG have perhaps unearthed a hidden gem of an idea, for what better way to combat those ‘January blues’ than with fun, humour and thrilling entertainment?
Cinderella, written and directed by Jamie Sheerman, quite literally opened with a bang and had everyone engaged from the very first moment. The audience were primarily introduced to the ‘Fairy Godmother’, played brilliantly by Claire Griggs; her initial task being to narrate the background to the story. It is here that TSG showed the first (of many!) wave of ‘theatre magic’ with a simple, shimmering mesh across the entirety of the stage; paving the way for the narration to come to life as the actors, cleverly placed behind it, showcased the story-telling, immersing the audience into the depths of the tale.
The rest of the stellar cast line-up continued the show in expert fashion, with some certainly being worthy of note.
Ian Meikle’s ‘Buttons’ quickly became a fan-favourite with his comedic antics, hilarious puns, a heart-warming secret love for Cinderella, and his ability to interact with and engage the audience.
‘Prince Charming’ is notoriously played by a female in a pantomime setting, however Connor Clemons took on this role with great flair and was ably joined by Siobhon Thornley, who played the Prince’s loyal sidekick, ‘Dandini’; the duo had an excellent dynamic together on stage.
Kaitlin Berridge stepped into the title role with perfect grace, elegance and sincerity, displaying excellent diction, projection and a sensational singing voice across the show; her duet with Clemons singing ‘Shallow’ was outstanding from the pair, with Berridge herself providing the beautiful harmonies throughout.
The standout comedic element of the night must go to the Ugly Sisters, ‘Derma Tosis’ and ‘Halle Tosis’, played by Max Goode and Jon Andrews respectively. From the minute they first entered the auditorium with their elaborate costumes and outrageous wit, the audience were enthralled both by their presence and entertaining performances.
Finally, the Ensemble, along with ‘Team Cinders’ and ‘Team Buttons’, all worked incredibly hard throughout the entire show to keep up energy levels, dazzle the audience and expertly perform the phenomenal choreography by Julie Bedlow-Howard; they were a true asset to the production.
This show was full to the brim of the aforementioned ‘theatre magic’, from the multiple artistically created curtains and 3D painted flats which allowed for slick and unnoticeable scene changes, to the quite extraordinary ‘rags-to-riches’ transformation of Cinderella which saw the backdrop shift from a simple dining room to a starlit sky and Cinders herself transform from raggedy clothes to a stunning ballgown within the blink of an eye! Alongside these wonders were many of the traditional pantomime expectations of over-the-top comedy, audience interaction (which even involved audience members being called to the stage at points!), a fun-filled ‘it’s behind you’ sketch all cleverly intertwined with a comical rendition of A Teddy Bear’s Picnic, to name but a few.
The technical team were well looked after under Ian Broadbridge’s Stage-Management, with expert lighting from Craig Shelton, spot-on sound from Ian Hodgkiss and Jan Phillips on props, who hopefully managed to regain her well-chosen props after Buttons’ highly amusing rendition of the 12 Days Of Christmas!
The fast-paced entertainment and hilarious comedic timing, the pyrotechnics and confetti cannons, the glittering costumes and real-life pony(!), and the well-known, brilliantly executed musical numbers under the guidance of Claire Tyler, are just a few reasons why audiences should flock to this outstanding show; TSG have a high reputation amidst the world of musical theatre across the Midlands, and this production is just another example as to why.
Running until Sunday 12th January 2020, you still have the opportunity to catch the show so
don’t miss out! Follow the link below to get your tickets now:
Review by Kirsty Wright, Pulse Productions