‘Cinderella’, St. Matthew’s Theatrical Society, Rastrick.
THE productions staged by the excellent St Matthews Theatrical Society are always eagerly anticipated by a devoted stalwart following.
What a disappointment it was for everybody when, after all their hard work and rehearsal, the first night had to be cancelled as 15 cast members, principals and chorus alike, succumbed to a tummy bug.
But, like true troupers, the second night went ahead and a delighted audience saw a slick and glitzy Cinderella, with plenty of side splitting laughter, huge colourful chorus numbers, accomplished principal performances and toe tapping tunes provided by a superb musical trio. It was magical!
The talented Rachel O’Connor, as a beautiful fairy godmother, opened the show and introduced us to an up and coming star with a huge ‘panto future’ ahead of her. Young Holly Knowles, who played the role of Penny Peace, a sort of apprentice assistant fairy, had good comic timing and her bright-eyed smiley-faced performance was a joy to watch.
Another notable performer, Laura Bottomley as cheeky chappy Buttons, had a warm confident rapport with her audience and, what was more, she kept in check the Ugly Sisters’ outlandish slapstick. Comic ‘old-timers’ Martin Lawlor and John Nelson, as Hollyhock and Pansy, were quite simply hilarious and indeed, a sight to behold, their extravagant dresses and garish hair-dos not yet seen on the catwalks of Paris and Milan. Every appearance of the two uglies heralded belly laughs and guffaws, especially in their drunken pillow fight and their forage into the auditorium looking for ‘two nice loving husbands’ who they could have a row with.
A well rehearsed chorus of dancers and singers provided innovative choreography - the Crazy Frog dance was a real highlight. As always, St. Matthews’ large and skilled backstage crew supplied the performers with spectacular sets and gorgeous costumes so that the transformation scene, when the white mice and pumpkin become Cinderella’s coach and horses, drew plenty of gasps of delight. At the finale, we were treated to a sleigh ride and falling snow. A beaming Katy Rainford, as Cinderella, married her Prince after all.