Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews 2017
PADOS Theatre Group
It’s that time of the year……” Oh yes it is!”
This production meant a couple of firsts for me. It was the first pantomime of the season that I watched, and also the first time that I had paid a visit, in any capacity, to the PADOS Theatre Group. Though over the years I have been aware of its great reputation through various written articles and show reviews. My wife and I were thrilled to attend the final night of Cinderella. The society members made us both very welcome and invested the time to offer us hospitality and to discuss the group's history, and various past and present productions. Thank you, Janet.
The PADOS Studio Theatre is a small and intimate venue. The staging area and wing space are at a premium and I wondered how a pantomime such as Cinderella could be played in such a limited way. The answer to that is , with creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm and that is exactly what the audience got from the start to the finish.
This pantomime had bags of pace. Timothy Platt knows how to direct this genre of theatre. It was fast and furious and everyone had his or her part to play in this, especially stage crew, props, lighting and sound. The hand painted cloths that were the backdrop to the scenes were excellent.
In this production there was no live band to accompany the song choices, but rather click tracks were used. Timothy Platt, who directed this pantomime, did a sterling job of being right on cue with all the music: there was no waiting for the actor, everything seemed to flow brilliantly. The musical director, Steven Sandiford, had obviously worked hard with the cast on their song choices, though for some, I should have liked a little more volume and projection. I must say that I really enjoyed listening to the Baroness, Kathryn Gorton, who has a very nice singing voice.
The costumes were just right for this production, although maybe the Ugly Sisters' might have had more costumes, and been more outlandish, but this did not in any way detract from the show. The choreography was tight and simple due to the space available on stage.
The transformation scene from Cinderella’s kitchen to her getting into the coach was superbly managed, it was seamless. This scene, at times, can be long and drawn out but not in this production.
David Livesey gave an interesting interpretation of Prince Charming, coming over as a nice but dim character, having to be supported and guided by his right hand man, Dandini (Sara Brockway), who expressed exasperation with him throughout, but nonetheless patient as a saint.
Charlie Lewis was the innocent and kind title character and was everything Cinderella should be. Debbie Lewis, as the Fairy Godmother, gave a running commentary of the scenes, delivered mainly in rhyme, and Rob Livesey and Kathryn Gorton got right into their parts. Rob, as the cowed, henpecked Baron, and Kathryn, as the nasty, daughter-favouring, money-seeking, Baroness. Amanda Emest worked hard to make us feel sorry for her character of Buttons who secretly loves Cinderella. She worked well with the audience, and became an immediately loveable character.
Cinderella, can stand or fall on the quality of the two Ugly Sisters, and in this production, they were wonderful! It was obvious that Jack Forest (Fi-Fi) and Simon Fletcher (Fru-Fru) are two guys who have worked in partnership before. Both gave great comic performances in different ways but both always respected each other’s space, delivery and timing. During the moments where adlibs were used well, and they were last night, the audience, full of friends and family, it was as if they could read each other’s mind and run with it. They knew instinctively when to stop and get back on script so that the pace was maintained. Their characters brought the humour and fun of this pantomime alive. Their participation sections really engaged the audience and gave the opportunity for us to shout and be a part of the show. Great job, guys!
On leaving the theatre, I heard an audience member say, “What a good night”, and I couldn’t agree more.