Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Cinderella Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells Review

Assembly Hall Theatre
Tunbridge Wells
11 Dec 2010 to 2 Jan 2011
(Performance seen 21 Dec 2010)


Buttons : Shaun Williamson
Cinderella : Emma Nowell
Ugly Sister : Bobby Kent
Ugly Sister : Marcel Deaville
Baron Hardup : Richard Colson
Fairy Godmother : Julian J Nagle
Prince Charming : Ben Harlow
Dandini : Charles Brunton

Villagers : Luke Alexander, Alexandra Handy-Ferrie, Sam Lathwood, Eleanor Palmer, Alison Pope, Helena Sowe

Village Children from: Deborah Lamb Theatre School, The McAllister Brown Dance School

Apologies that this review is later than usual due to unforseen circumstances.

To all my visitors I wish you a Happy Christmas and a good 2011.

Once again because I have one more Cinderella to see (Hastings) this one will not get a rating until I have seen that show. All 3 shows will then be allocated a score. (This has now been done)

This is once again a very entertaining family pantomime and it was good to see that like with Eastbourne a live Orchestra is used (Michael Bradley on keyboards, Neil Bowman on Bass and Tommy Bates on Drums).

The sets are nice and the Cinderella curtain is especially pretty. The finish of the sets was more subdued, being soft and subtle, rather than the vivid colours of the Devonshire Park show. I have to admit I prefer the more vivid Disney-like look.

Julia Nagle is a fine Fairy Godmother and sings beautifully although the character is quite dignified and refined and I must admit I prefer the complete scattyness and eccentricities of Gillian Wright's version.

Richard Colson's Baron Hardup is fine but the script for this character is not as strong and humorous as it could be.

The same applies to the ugly sisters. Marcel Deaville and Bobbie Kent have spectacular costumes but the humour never reaches anywhere near the continuous hilarity of Chris Jordan's production.

Sadly, whilst I have no real objection to it for entertainment, we have to resort to the squirting the audience with water pistols routine. OK the kids laugh but there are so many other ways of being humorous, it just seems so desperate.

A couple of real Shetland ponies provide the ahhhh factor pulling Cinderella's coach. Perhaps to avoid stressing the animals it has to be so but it's a shame this couldn't have been done towards the front of the stage rather than half way back.

Emma Nowell, Cinderella, supporting GOSHUnusually, there's no principal boy in this production. Prince Charming and Dandini being played by bone fide 100% authentic males in the shape of Ben Harlow and Charles Brunton.

Thankfully, this is where this production begins to shine. What an incredible vocal combination these two performers make. It's of no great surprise that they have recently both been in the national tour of Disney's Beauty And The Beast.

We're on a roll of good stuff now and Cinderella comes in the lovely shape of TV's Hi-5 presenter Emma Nowell. She has an incredible vocal range and is perfectly cast in this show. Emma has played Linda in Blood Brothers both on tour and in The West End  and in addition to a varied theatrical CV she has also performed for the Abu Dhabi Royal Family at their palace.

Shaun Williamson, Buttons, supporting GOSHThe last time we met Shaun Williamson was after 'Porridge' at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne. It was really good to meet up with him here in Royal Tunbridge Wells where he plays truly lovable Buttons as opposed to lovable rogue 'Fletch'.

There's always one role that an artist is always remembered most for. In Shaun's case it will probably always be as Barry Evans in Eastenders. It was refreshing to see that Shaun doesn't mind his past staying in the present as references to his Eastenders days occurred in the script.

The on stage relationship between Cinders and Buttons works particularly well and this is one of those productions where the headline artists really are the stars of the show. Unlucky in love in Eastenders with Janine he's equally as unlucky with Cinders but at least he lives to tell the tale this time.

All in all a great traditional family pantomime and well worth a visit this Christmas.

Finally huge thanks again to both Shaun and Emma who both agreed to a charity signing for Great Ormond Street Childrens' Hospital.
4 out of 5 for Cinderella Royal Tunbridge Wells
Print This Entry

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you in advance for your show comment or feedback