December 2019 saw Exton Drama Club on top form once again with their winter pantomime, Cinderella. Directed by Hilary Hoar & Pat Cusa the show exhibited funny dialogue, brilliant slapstick humor as well as very well choreographed dance/song numbers organised by Gentian Bolt and Emily Pattison.
While congratulations for the whole production normally reside a the end of a review I have decided that a huge congratulations should go to the directors of this production. Hilary and Pat did a wonderful job with this production and the below will explain why.
The pantomime saw a lot of familiar faces on the Exton stage, much the the audiences enjoyment. Rachel Pattison took to her ‘silly’ role as Buttons, encouraging the audience in rowdy exclamations of “Buttons! Bob the Bunny’s being Bothered!”. Standing along side Buttons was his best friend Cinderella. This principle role brought the debut of Ivy Curle to Exton Drama Club. Ivy played Cinderella beautifully and ended the first act with a lovely rendition of ‘Someday my prince will come’.
Cinderella and Buttons lived in the village of Stoneybroke with Baron Hardup, brought to life by Christopher Hoar. Chris’s face is a familiar one in Exton Pantos, having played Sandra the Abominable Snowman in Aladdin in 2015 and Priscilla the Goose in Mother Goose in 2017. His progression to a speaking role was well received as he portrayed a desperate man who thought he married Miss Right (now realising her first name is always!)
Rebecca Roach brought life to the Baroness with her apt entrance song ‘Big Spender’. Rebecca’s witty back and forth dialogue with the Baron made their marriage one of humour, even if you did feel sorry for the Baron.
Naturally, along with the Baroness comes her two “rosebud” daughters, Grizelda & Gertrude. Les Richards and Sean Murphy played these two villainous characters with perfection. The Boo’ing as they entered could be heard across the road as they sought to make Cinderella’s life a misery. Les is a familiar face as pantomime dame but his partnering Sean made for a wonderfully comical pairing.
The other comical pair in this production came in the form of two bumbling builders (Bodget & Leggett) who are determined to evict the Baron from his home to make way for a hotel. Bodget brought Rob Hatton back to the Exton stage after his lovely protrayal of Bardy in Entertaining Angels earlier this year. Leggett was played by a new comer to the group, Warwick Bassett. These two, despite Bodget desperately wanting to appear professional, portrayed the bumbling duo perfectly and their ‘slapstick routine’ had the audience giggling from start to finish.
While the sisters desperately try and keep Cinderella from the ball, the fairy godmother (Fairy G) is on hand to help ensure the story reaches its happy ending. Julie Roach, another newcomer to Exton Drama Club was a lovely elegant Fairy Godmother, bringing sparkle to the show, even when ordaining her cloak to take on the role of ‘woman in the woods’.
As we all know, Cinderella wouldn’t be the story we know without the prince. Having traded in her hairdressers smock from Mother Goose in 2017, Karen Hammond took to the role of Prince Charming with gusto. Her enthusiastic dancing and beautiful duet with Cinderella (I got you babe) had the audience Ahhh’ing as the Prince desperately searched for his Princess (or was it village girl?) of his dreams.
Following the Prince in his journey of love was his faithful servant Dandini (portrayed by Rachel Feeny-Williams) and the Royal Chamberlain (portrayed by Christine Cottam). Several ‘Royal Scenes’ including the dance of “The Gentleman’s Excuse Me” provided much humour to the audience.
Of course, no pantomime is complete without the compulsory ‘animal role’. This year the role was Hagan the Horse (his viking name given ’cause he’s a norse!’). Abi Pattison and Poppy Rowsell took into the horse costume and performed brilliantly, even managing to complete a dance with two left feet!
Supporting this cast of crazy characters was an amazing group of child performers playing Solders, Villagers, Animals, Dancers and so much more! Joe Basdale, Sam Pearson & Bethany Pearson performed brilliantly with very quick changes between their scenes while Emily Pattison scared the daylights out of the characters in her cameo as the ghost.
Cinderella is a story we all know well and possibly have seen before but sitting and watching this production I can confirm Exton managed to bring a new level of humour and magic to the story. We all can’t wait for the next panto and we look forward to seeing all of the faces we’ve seen this year and possibly new ones!
Exton Drama Club would like to thank all of its audiences from coming to the shows and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!